This scary experience deserves a share on Halloween:
Lisa Dresner, associate professor at Hofstra University, New York and author of The Female Investigator in Literature, Film and Popular Culture, says that Fletcher, as an older woman, appealed to both male and female audiences. “She doesn’t explicitly deal with sexism so she is very reassuring as a desexualised character,” Dresner said.
Pam Holland is the founder of TechMoxie, “which provides technology coaching and support for the tech-hesitant.” Here she shares some tips to help older adults “compensate for physical and cognitive decline using simple everyday technologies.”
OATS is “a charitable affiliate of AARP.” Here are some testimonials and articles about how knowledge and use of technology can help improve older adults’ lives.
“The Pulitzer Prize-winning author has written five books in six years and been nominated for a Booker Prize for ‘Oh William!’ What’s gotten into her?”
“I’m getting older, and I’ve taught myself how to get these sentences down, how to know when they’re worth getting down,” said Strout, 66. “It’s like I’ve been training for a marathon my entire life and now there’s an acceleration happening.”
The “Halloween” franchise actress calls herself “pro-aging” and tells her own daughters “don’t mess with your face.” . . . Instead, she said, she tells her kids to focus on what they can contribute to help people.
Preparing to move from the United States to Italy, Bob Brody “sorted through every possession in our New York apartment belonging to our family of four.” What he found was a lot of paper. After describing what pieces of paper he chose to keep, he concludes: “In the end, my paper chase gave me tangible, irrefutable, verifiable proof of a life lived: a marriage navigated, children raised, business transacted, and struggles long since won or lost. It’s a life lived to the fullest.”
“For real this time.”
Danielle Friedman admits that strength training “not only lengthens life span but improves people’s quality of life and well-being,” including maintaining cognition and decreasing depression and anxiety. Yet she also admits that she, like the “majority of Americans struggle[s] to carve out time for strength training.”
So she “asked exercise psychologists, scientists, trainers and muscle evangelists for their best advice on launching a lasting strength-training routine.” Read what she learned. I especially appreciated a “20-minute starter routine.”
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of Nation magazine, believes that the Cuban missile crisis—“the 13-day standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union widely regarded as the closest we ever came to global nuclear war”—can guide us in resolving the current threat of the war in Ukraine.
if your perception of Geena Davis boils down to “Beetlejuice” and “Thelma & Louise” and “A League of Their Own,” you’ve been missing a much quirkier, more eclectic, more persistent person. And yet, to hear Davis tell it, she’s spent a lifetime trying to build up inner conviction. “I kicked ass onscreen way before I did so in real life,” she writes in her new memoir, “Dying of Politeness.” “The roles I’ve played have taken me down paths I never could have imagined when I dreamed of becoming an actor. They have helped transform me, slowly, in fits and starts, into someone of power.”
Learn more about the eclectic life of actor Geena Davis, now age 66, in this interview.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
“Elsie Robinson was a single mom who eventually became the highest-paid woman writer in the Hearst empire. Authors Julia Scheeres and Allison Gilbert take a look at her legacy in their new book.”
In their book Listen, World! “Julia Scheeres and Allison [Gilbert] take a look at Robinson’s trailblazing legacy. . . . Robinson stood up for what she believed in.”
Mike Krzyzewski, a five-time NCAA champion and six-time Olympic-gold-medal coach, won 1,202 college basketball games, most notably at Duke University. Now 75, he emphasizes “I’m not retired . . . I’m doing all the things I want to do.” Here he discusses teaching, coaching, public speaking, and gardening.
Anil Seth is professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex and the author of Being You – A New Science of Consciousness. Here he explains how and why “it’s likely that our inner experiences differ”:
It may seem as though the world just pours itself directly into our minds through the transparent windows of our eyes and our ears. But psychologists have long known that perception is not simply a “read out” of sensory information. We are strongly influenced by context. From the effect of shadows on how we perceive the brightness of a surface, to our tendency to interpret facial expressions depending on what we think is happening, context permeates all our conscious experiences, and it does so in a way that we are typically never aware of.
If you’ve ever wondered why you and someone else remember the same event differently, here’s the explanation.
Basically, a brain dump is the act of writing down everything that comes to mind on a particular topic. Its proponents describe it as a way to get all of your thoughts and ideas down on paper and free up space in your brain.
Saya Des Marais, MSW, explains what a brain dump is, how it works, how to do it, and the benefits it might give you: “While the research supporting brain dumps is still limited, it’s not likely to cause any harm — so go ahead and try it out to see whether it’s effective for you.”
“The older you get, your mobility holds the key to aging happily and healthily.”
Bennett Richardson, a physical therapist and strength/conditioning coach, explains 7 stretches to help maintain flexibility, a key to continued mobility as we age.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
Vanity Fair brings back an article from their archives, a piece from March 2006 about the infamous novel Peyton Place:
Fifty years ago, the novel Peyton Place shocked America with its tale of secrets, sex, and hypocrisy in a small New Hampshire town, becoming one of the best-selling dirty books ever, a hit movie, and TV’s first prime-time soap. It brought fame and misfortune to Grace Metalious, the bawdy, rebellious housewife who wrote it, and outraged the citizens of Gilmanton—”the real Peyton Place.” . . . MICHAEL CALLAHAN charts the tumultuous celebrity, emotional flameout, and sordid death, at 39, of an unlikely cultural trailblazer.
Callahan writes, “Fifty years ago, Peyton Place helped create the contemporary notion of ‘buzz,’ indicted 1950s morality, and recast the concept of the soap opera, all in one big, purple-prosed book.”
Do you remember Peyton Place? I’m pretty sure I never read the book, but I think I remember catching glimpses of the show on TV.
Despite all the public discord in the U.S., there appears to be broad agreement on one subject. CNN reports:
A new CBS News poll shows that almost three in four Americans (73%) think there should be some sort of maximum age limit placed on elected officials. Support for such an age limit is consistent across party lines. Seven in ten Democrats (71%) are on board, as are three quarters of Republicans and independents. Support is also remarkably consistent among age groups.
MASH seems to have aged better than Peyton Place. Daryl Sparkes, senior lecturer in media studies and production at the University of Southern Queensland, describes the TV series, based on the 1970 film as “a thinly veiled critique of the war in Vietnam raging at the time.”
Most of us have absorbed, mainly unconsciously, an extensive list of achievements that we “should” pursue and attain. But how do we find out what we, ourselves, want out of life?
“What society expects of you and what you actually want in life can be different things.” This article offers some advice on finding our own way.
All the research tells us that even a simple exercise like walking can help us age well. But walking the same route every day can just get so boring. Here are some suggestions for changing things up a bit.
circling the same humdrum sidewalk for thousands of steps can quickly turn from a daily treat into a repetitive chore. There are dozens of ways to change it up and put the sizzle back into your saunter, if you’re willing to think outside the box.
A few weeks ago I included in these weekly round-ups news of the death of E. Bryand Crutchfield, inventor of the Trapper Keeper.
Here, novelist Jess deCourcy writes, “This September, I’m using my 5th-grade Trapper Keeper to organize my novel revisions.” She talked with several other writers and creative types from the “Trapper Keeper generation” and realized “When I was interviewing people about their school supplies, I was really asking how they felt about themselves during their vulnerable adolescence.”
2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
Did you, like me, eagerly anticipate The Carol Burnett Show, which ran from 1967 to 1978, every week?
As NASA once again prepares to set sail “on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure” on which humanity has ever embarked, the space agency’s leaders returned to the site where 60 years ago, to the day, President John F. Kennedy reconfirmed that “we choose to go to the moon.”
For links to more related articles, see this page curated by the Flipboard Science Desk.
We’ve all experienced painful moments during our lives. But if the memories of such experiences become intrusive, here’s “some expert-backed ways to help you process and integrate painful experiences.”
“By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can self-engineer genetic alterations to prevent disease and boost longevity.”
Michael F. Foizen, M.D., discusses the science behind his recently published book The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.
The basis of his argument is a process he calls genetic self-engineering: “Each healthy act switches on youth-promoting genes and switches off genes that cause you to age.” By making healthy lifestyle choices now, Foizen writes, “You have the ability to change how your body works and reacts—and ultimately how healthy you are and how long you may live.”
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
Talk about life stories. Queen Elizabeth II certainly had one. Kirkus Reviews suggests some books for those of us wanting to read about it.
Vanity Fair dips into its archives to celebrate Queen Elizabeth.
To mark her 90th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II sat for an unprecedented photo shoot with ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, their second collaboration. On the cover and the next 20 pages, the resulting portraits (some exclusive to V.F., others shared on the royal Web site) provide an intimate, wide-ranging tribute to a steadfast ruler— the longest-serving monarch in Britain’s history. WILLIAM SHAWCROSS analyzes the subtle power of her reign.
For years, scholars mostly didn’t challenge the conventional wisdom that a traumatic midlife crisis was normal, if not inevitable. More recently, however, many have found that a “crisis” is not our unavoidable fate. With knowledge and effort, you (and I) can make two crucial choices that can lead to harnessing the changes and difficulties of aging to instead design a midlife transcendence.
Arthur C. Brooks proposes two strategies people can employ, adding that “if you make the right choices, midlife may just be the best opportunity and biggest adventure you have had in decades.”
I admit that what mainly drew my attention to this article is the word zombie. Zombie cells are “cells [that] eventually stop dividing and enter a ‘senescent’ state in response to various forms of damage.” The body removes most such cells, but others hang around “like zombies. They aren’t dead,” but “they can harm nearby cells like moldy fruit corrupting a fruit bowl.”
These zombie cells are thought to be linked to “age-related conditions such as dementia, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.” This report from the Associated Press summarizes research into the question of whether the build-up of zombie cells in the body can be stopped to prevent the onset of such typically age-related conditions.
“Joy Ryan, 92, had never seen a mountain. So her grandson decided to take her to every site that has ‘national park’ in its name.”
Here’s a heart-warming story of how a young veterinarian and his 92-year-old grandmother have helped each other since they started visiting national parks in the U.S. in 2015.
Research has demonstrated that the similarities between unrelated people who look alike has “more to do with their DNA than with the environments they grew up in.”
Stop drinking, keep reading, look after your hearing: a neurologist’s tips for fighting memory loss and Alzheimer’s
Gaby Hinsliff discusses the book The Complete Guide to Memory: The Science of Strengthening Your Mind by neuroscientist Dr. Richard Restak for answers to the following questions: “When does forgetfulness become something more serious? And how can we delay or even prevent that change?”
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
Jane Fonda has announced that she is undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: “This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky.”
“Many of us have a tendency to neglect our own mental health or downplay the struggles we may be experiencing, but it’s important to care for your mental well-being in the same way you would attend to your physical health.” Here are some reading suggestions.
for me, longevity is not a goal to which I aspire. I don’t want to live long as much as I want to live well. So, here’s my bucket list of sorts, the things I think will help me live well in my remaining years . . .
See if you agree with Ann Brenoff’s approach for living the rest of her life.
Just in case you need your mind boggled . . .
“An excerpt of Eileen Joyce Donovan’s forthcoming second novel, published at 73, ‘A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma.’ With an introduction from the author.”
“People ask me about my path to publishing later in life,” writes Eileen Joyce Donovan.
“A new book challenges us to abandon greatness in favor of more attainable goals.”
Lily Meyer discusses the recently published book The Good-Enough Life by Avram Alpers:
Alpert does not ask his readers to abandon their goals completely, but he does ask us to acknowledge the unlikelihood of becoming the next Kim Kardashian or creating a workers’ paradise. He also argues that clinging too tightly to such dreams, at the expense of smaller or partial ones, sets us up for both practical and moral failure . . .
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
AARP reports on the changes coming to Medicare drug plans as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: “The new law makes other changes to the program’s Part D drug benefits, including putting a limit on out-of-pocket payments for insulin and making vital vaccines free.”
Laura Martin describes the “silver” or “golden” gap year: “often an extended break as opposed to a full year. Nearly a quarter of retirees had taken a year to go travelling in their retirement or would consider doing so, according to 2019 research from retirement accommodation provider Inspired Villages.”
Michèle Dawson Haber has been planning for years to retire from her job as a labor advocate before age 65. But now, at age 56, she has reached the moment:
I feel on the cusp of loss, despite being certain that this is what I want. Sure, I’ll miss the work and my colleagues, but the anxiety I feel is bigger than that. I know I need to stop moping and pirouette into my blessed new life, but first, I want to figure out what it is I’m losing.
She’s afraid retirement might mean the loss of purpose or the loss of youth. But observing her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, makes Laura realize that her retirement won’t mean the loss of self: “I don’t need to worry about holding onto youth, being productive, or staying relevant for others, because that has nothing to do with who I am.”
The Harvard Gazette features an excerpt from the book Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live by Harvard alumna Becca Levy. A social psychologist, Levy tested “the impact of cultural age stereotypes on the health and lives of older people”:
In study after study I conducted, I found that older people with more positive perceptions of aging performed better physically and cognitively than those with more negative perceptions; they were more likely to recover from severe disability, they remembered better, they walked faster, and they even lived longer.
She describes the purpose of her book this way: “In this book, I will show you how priming, or the activation of age stereotypes without awareness, works, what it says about the unconscious nature of our stereotypes, and how we can strengthen our ideas about aging.”
“Balance training is an important but often-neglected skill, one that impacts both our longevity and our quality of life, beginning around age 40,” writes Hilary Achauer in this article for the New York Times. She describes some exercises to improve balance.
According to Evan Stewart, assistant professor of sociology at UMass Boston, and Jaime Kucinskas, associate professor of sociology at Hamilton College:
Today – the rise of a politically potent religious right over the past 50 years notwithstanding – fewer Americans identify with formal religions. Gallup found that 47% of Americans reported church membership in 2020, down from 70% in the 1990s; nearly a quarter of Americans have no religious affiliation.
At the same time, “other kinds of meaningful practice” and new secular rituals are on the rise. These sociologists studied whether the new focus on mindfulness and self-care is making Americans more self-centered. Here they discuss their findings, which are published in the journal American Sociological Review.
Few objects evoke Gen X or millennial childhood as powerfully as the Trapper Keeper, essentially a large binder for your folders. Mead, Mr. Crutchfield’s employer, introduced it nationally in 1981, and by the end of the decade the company estimated that half of all middle and high school students in the United States had one.
I never had one of these myself (although I did sort of covet one), but I bought a few for my child. I understand they’ve been reintroduced in this year’s crop of school supplies, in some sort of ’80s nostalgia movement.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
“How looking backward shows us the path forward.”
“So how do we reconcile with regrets as we age? For older adults, it can be bittersweet to compare what is to what could have been, as our chances for a do-over dwindle,” writes Tove Strandmark. Drawing from the book The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel H. Pink, she offers some advice and examples.
Here’s an article about “Cycling Without Age, a global organization trying to enrich the lives of older people by visiting extended living facilities and offering rides piloted by volunteers.” The volunteers use specialized electric bicycles called trishaws.
Old age isn’t a modern phenomenon – many people lived long enough to grow old in the olden days, too
I see a lot of articles explaining that the number of older adults is increasing as advances in fields like medicine and nutrition allow people to live longer. But Sharon DeWitte, professor of anthropology at the University of South Carolina, reminds us that in earlier times people also lived long enough to grow old. She’s a bioarchaeologist, someone who studies human skeletons excavated from archaeological sites to see what life in the past was like. “There’s physical evidence that plenty of people in the past lived long lives – just as long as some people do today,” she writes.
Jane Campbell has some reading recommendations:
For some time, I have been relishing literature that offers wonderfully varying depictions of old women. They are good company. These are pieces that expose the cruelty inflicted on older women and that impress me with their capacity to pursue the essence of the complex creature that still exists inside the worn-out body. Inside them all is the fight for their independence.
I’ve mentioned before that I like baseball. I eagerly watched the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Now Amazon has produced a TV series with the same title. In this article Ellen Gutoskey fills in some history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which lasted from 1943 until 1954.
Psychology Today takes a look at the happiness curve, which suggests that humans overall get happier after midlife: “The argument, which comes from huge data sets, suggests two ways to think about your own history. Don’t blame yourself so much for the bad time—and be optimistic that things will improve.”
“The most common personality change for people with dementia is apathy or sadness,” according to geriatric psychiatrist Gary Kennedy, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Bronx-based Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Though he added that physicians and psychiatrists wouldn’t hear about those patients who become sweeter and more loving because that’s not a problem.
Here Elena Bowes tells one of those stories that we don’t hear about often. Bowes describes how her 88-year-old mother has become “softer, kinder, more loving”—although, Bowes admits, she still occasionally catches a glimpse of her old mother, who was often critical and judgmental.
Linda Thurston tells the story of how and a group of friends at Boston University created a handbook called Birth Control, Abortion and V.D., A Guide for the B.U. Student. There were two editions of the handbook published, the first in April 1969 and the second in January 1970.
I attended Boston University from 1966 to 1970. Although I don’t specifically remember this pamphlet, I do remember what it was like in Massachusetts at the time: “you could only get a legal abortion in the US if you got two doctors to testify that having a baby would kill you.” Massachusetts was particularly strict, with public enforcement of antique laws still on the books that prohibited showing and describing of birth control devices in public.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
“The actor talked aging gracefully with Vogue.”
“I stay moisturized, I sleep, I move, I stay out of the sun, and I have good friends who make me laugh. Laughter is a good thing too,” Fonda, 85, tells Kenzie Bryant.
“She declined to use the term ‘retirement,’ which she said doesn’t ‘feel like a modern word.’ She instead called her decision an ‘evolution.’”
Illuminating the brain one neuron and synapse at a time – 5 essential reads about how researchers are using new tools to map its structure and function
The U.S. Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is a collaboration among the National Institutes of Health, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Science Foundation, Food and Drug Administration and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity and others. Since its inception in 2013, its goal has been to develop and use new technologies to examine how each neuron and neural circuit comes together to “record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought.”
“These five stories from our archives cover research that has been funded by or advances the goals of the BRAIN Initiative, detailing a slice of what’s next in neuroscience.”
New research hints that even a simple exercise routine just might help older Americans with mild memory problems.
Doctors have long advised physical activity to help keep a healthy brain fit. But the government-funded study marks the longest test of whether exercise makes any difference once memory starts to slide — research performed amid a pandemic that added isolation to the list of risks to participants’ brain health.
Wondra Chang, a native of South Korea, came to the U.S. in 1970. She had begun writing stories as a young child, but after she emigrated to the United States, she spent a long time learning to write English that met her artistic standards. “It was a public affirmation for me when Kirkus Reviews listed my debut novel, Sonju, in its 100 Best Indie Books of the Year in 2021,” she tells us.
“New Yorker writer Alec Wilkinson struggled with maths at school, finding inspiration in literature instead. But aged 65, in the hope of unlocking a new part of his brain, he decided to put the limits of his intelligence to the test”
When Wilkinson decided to study algebra, he consulted his niece, Amie Wilkinson, a professor at the University of Chicago. He asked her how she thought the process would go.
“If I had to guess, I would say you will probably overthink,” she told him.
Boy, was she right.
But five months (Alec had thought his program of study would take six weeks) later, he had learned a bit about how algebra works and a lot more about how the brain works.
And he’s written a book about the whole experience, A Divine Language: Learning Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus at the Edge of Old Age. This article is “an edited extract” from that book.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown