International Women’s Day began with a Russian-born Jewish woman in New York City, before traveling to the Soviet Union and back again.
HelpAge International has been working in Ukraine since the conflict began, providing support to older people in the east of the country. There are 17 HelpAge staff in Ukraine, most of whom are in the east. Almost all the locations where HelpAge operates are within the five-kilometre demarcation line in Ukrainian government-controlled territory. Some communities are located on the very line of contact.
After talking to older people in Ukraine, HelpAge International reports that they “all want one thing – peace, and to see their children and grandchildren from whom they have been separated for so long.”
Annie Korzen just turned 83. Since “Living until 100 is no longer an impossible dream,” she here offers her “bucket list of things I am raring to do and things that I would never, ever do.”
“The worst of the pandemic might be over, but we’re still learning about the effects of lockdown on mental health.”
This article reports that “loneliness has hit young people the hardest,” but social scientists have long known that social isolation can also have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of older adults.
Niellah Arboine reports that “now nearly two years on since the first nationwide lockdown [in the U.K.], and even with restrictions lifted, we’re still feeling the consequences.”
Many people use the time available after retirement to write about their lives, either for their families, for publication, or for themselves. But most people’s lives contain some kind of trauma.
Traumatic experiences can be so intense they hijack the brain. Some defy language. Sitting with them for too long can trigger responses that feel a lot like pots boiling over. Do this often, and you might snuff out the passion fueling your project.
Here Lisa Cooper Ellison, an editor and writing coach with an Ed.S. degree in clinical mental health counseling, offers some advice on how to approach the difficult task of writing about trauma.
We’ve all had the experience of sitting with a friend who’s experiencing a problem—“from a friend burning the food at their dinner party, to struggling with the loss of a loved one”—and not known what to do, what to say, how to react, how to help.
Elise Kalokerinos, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Melbourne, advises that providing support is a skill that can be learned. Moreover, giving social support benefits both the recipient and the giver. Here she explains :five strategies to help you provide more effective emotional support to those who are struggling.”
Douglas Brinkley examines the Watergate era in a review of the recently published book Watergate: A New History by Garrett M. Graff.
In the face of censorship efforts in China and here in the United States, Flynn Coleman, international human rights lawyer and author of A Human Algorithm writes:
Words are technologies of power. They are life rafts in the seas of a terrifying, miraculous, complex world. They can be earth-shattering, hilarious, and uncomfortable. Books are the conduit to what Atticus Finch tells us in To Kill A Mockingbird (a frequently banned book) about people: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
The Food and Drug Administration’s surprise approval of Aduhelm for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease last year was a mess on practically every level. Three agency advisors resigned, and skeptical doctors such as myself were left to advise patients — all desperate for hope — that, yes, it is a treatment option but, no, we have no idea whether it will work.
And by the way, it is extraordinarily expensive.
In this opinion piece Keith Vossel, director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA, argues that “Because this was the first drug ever prescribed to fight the progression of Alzheimer’s, it revealed just how much work the medical community still needs to do to prepare itself to treat Alzheimer’s patients, not just study them.”
Vossel explains the need for the creation of a large network of clinicians qualified to treat Alzheimer’s patients and of facilities where those patients can be treated, along with support systems such as transportation to and from those facilities. He also emphasizes that it’s important to work on those preparations now if researchers are to adquately evaluate the “new drugs on the horizon” for treatment.
Recent developments in neuroscience have revealed how little we really know about what’s going on in our brains. In particular, new research is highlighting the role that our feelings play, often subconsciously, in affecting our behaviors. No matter how rational or objective we might think we’re being, we’re always under the influence of how happy, or sad, or anxious, or even hungry we are. . . . a better understanding of the emerging science of emotions can help us become more aware of just how much our emotions affect our thinking.
GQ features an interview with Leonard Mlodinow about his latest book, Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.
Age-related macular degeneration remains a leading cause of vision loss in the United States, but new advancements could help manage and, in some cases, prevent its devastating symptoms, experts told UPI recently.
The article discusses possible improvements in treatment for the 13 million Americans, most of whom are older adults, who suffer from the disease.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
“The clearest way to reduce deaths is to push to vaccinate more of the elderly—yes, still!”
Sarah Zhang reports in The Atlantic: “even though America’s vaccination and booster rates look better in the older groups compared with the young, they are still too low. As a result, deaths in the United States are still too high.”
Allie Volpe describes certain human biases that can complicate the making of decisions, particularly decisions about complex or life-altering questions. She also offers concrete suggestions about how to deal with these biases and how to manage the decision-making process.
Category: Mental Health
“Especially when one lives alone.”
Because men generally die at a slightly younger age than women, many women face a period of widowhood. Social scientists have long known that having a pet to care for can reduce feelings of loneliness or depression for widowed people, either male or female.
When my husband and I were looking at various retirement communities in preparation for our retirement relocation, something I noticed was the number of older adults out walking their dogs. This article, though emphasizing women, provides some advice appropriate for either men or women looking to take on a pet.
I have one consideration to add that this article doesn’t mention. Most retirement communities I’m familiar with allow “small pets.” If you anticipate moving into such a community, I’d advise you choose one of the smaller breeds described here. A boxer, golden retriever, or mastiff probably won’t be welcome in a much down-sized living situation.
Or maybe you’d rather consider a cat?
Category: Assisted Living, Retirement
Charles M. Blow, an opinion columnist for the New York Times, expresses something I’ve thought for quite a while now: As much as we’d all like to get back to normal, normal won’t ever be the same again, and we are going to have to learn to live with that reality.
Or, as Blow puts it: :the America we knew ended in 2019. This is a new one, scarred, struggling to its feet, dogged by moral and philosophical questions that on one hand have revealed its cruelty and on the other have forced it into metamorphosis.”
Category: Health, Personal
The escalation of the Vietnam War in 1965 brought about the creation of a new form of protest—the teach-in. It was so effective a vehicle for dissent that the academic community quickly became the main source of opposition to the war. Though it was later eclipsed—notably in the media and, thus, the popular mind—by younger noisier protests, for about a year and a half the nation’s faculties, with the assistance of graduate students and some undergraduates, provided the leadership and the intellectual framework for the growing challenge to the escalating conflict. An initially small group of professors literally taught the rest of the country why the war was wrong.
This excerpt from The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s by Ellen Schrecker brought back memories for me. I was a student at Boston University, a very politically active campus, from 1966 to 1970.
Categories: History, Personal
“Philadelphia Eagles player Anthony Harris flew across the country to escort his 11-year-old fan to the event”
Amid all the incivility and protest, I hope we take a moment to appreciate and publicize stories such as this.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
Deborah Carr, professor of sociology at Boston University, writes “most people dread thinking and talking about when, how or under what conditions they might die.”
Although most people know they should talk about these issues with loved ones, most don’t actually have the difficult discussion, Carr reports. “But everyone should talk about and prepare for death precisely because we want to minimize our own suffering at the end of life, and soften the anguish of loved ones left behind.”
Here Carr offers some guidance about both what to talk about and how to initiate the discussion.
George Bass discusses how the film Soylent Green, released in 1973 and set “in the then-far-off future of 2022,” is “eerily prescient” in its portrayal of what is now our present.
“Now, some in Congress are looking to the FWP as a model for a new jobs program for writers,” writes Clare Barnett. Read her history of the original Federal Writers’ Project, developed to employ writers in “the biggest public works program in American history” during the Great Depression.
Kenny Ducey reports on pickleball, “the racquet sport that has taken the world by storm over the past few years.” He defines core players as those who play at least 8 times over a year; these players “skew older, with 54% of them aged 55 and up.”
“At 70, the singer-songwriter who has always been unafraid of difficult subjects is releasing a final album, ‘The Light at the End of the Line.’”
With all the recent obituaries of musical greats from the Boomer era, I was glad to find a story about one who is still performing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired new health habits for these 4 scholars – here’s what they put into practice and why
Four academics discuss the habits they have developed to help them cope with the stress of the ongoing pandemic.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
“He and his partners hoped their weekend of “peace and music” would draw 50,000 attendees. It ended up drawing more than 400,000 — and making history.”
Even if you weren’t there, you probably remember this.
We’ve lost another voice from those heady music days of the 1960s:
Ronnie Spector, whose towering voice propelled indelible early 1960s hit records including “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain,” died Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.
A taste for sweet – an anthropologist explains the evolutionary origins of why you’re programmed to love sugar
I have a notorious sweet tooth. But apparently it’s not my fault.
Here’s a follow-up to a news story included in last week’s links (the second story down).
In an excerpt from his book Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention, Johann Hari explains: “Social media and many other facets of modern life are destroying our ability to concentrate. We need to reclaim our minds while we still can.”
Your biological age may be different from your real age. A new institute at Northwestern plans to explore the issue.
The Potocsnak Longevity Institute, a new organization at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Illinois, U.S.A., is opening this month. It “will focus on research related to aging, and on treating patients suffering from its effects.”
This article reports on an October 2021 study from the University of Cambridge that “sheds new light on how Alzheimer’s disease progresses in the brain, with implications for future treatments and prevention strategies.”
News from United Press International (UPI):
Many adults age 50 years and older sickened with COVID-19 experience declines in mobility and the ability to perform day-to-day physical activities up to eight months after infection, a study published Wednesday [January 12, 2022] by JAMA Network Open found.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
This piece from Teen Vogue is from a series “in which we unearth U.S. history you may not have learned in school.” Most of us who hang out on this blog also probably didn’t learn about this topic in school—because we lived it.
This look at “the landmark Supreme Court decision, Tinker v. Des Moines , which affirmed students’ right to free speech,” includes some reminiscences by Mary Beth Tinker, the student originally suspended from school for wearing a black armband in protest of the Vietnam War.
Federal officials are wrestling with a decision that could go a long way toward determining the future of the controversial new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, and whether significant numbers of patients use it.
In January, Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and over, plans to issue a preliminary decision on whether it will cover the expensive medication. The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Aduhelm in June has drawn fierce criticism because clinical trials showed the drug had significant safety risks and unclear benefit to patients.
Here’s another one of those amazingly heartwarming stories I find so satisfying:
Thirty years ago, when Li Jingwei was four years old, a neighbour abducted him from his home village in China’s Yunnan province and sold him to a child trafficking ring.
Now he has been reunited with his mother after drawing a map of his home village from his memories of three decades ago and sharing it on a popular video-sharing app in the hope that someone might be able to identify it.
Kraken fan Nadia Popovici lauded for pointing out Canucks equipment manager Brian Hamilton’s cancerous mole during game
And here’s yet another such story. This one got a lot of publicity in my local area (Seattle, WA, USA), but in case it didn’t make the news where you live, you can read about it here.
I always enjoy learning helpful ways to use current technology, so this article caught my eye. One point to note: You can use Google Maps to find where you parked your car, even if you’re right in your own neighborhood rather than on an actual trip.
Do you remember scouring store shelves back in the early 1980s hoping to snag a Cabbage Patch Kid for your child? Here’s the complete history of the phenomenon, which is way more complicated that I could have ever imagined.
And you might be truly surprised, as I was, to learn that there is STILL an official Cabbage Patch Kids website, where, for a significant investment, you can order one for your very own.
Rachel Syme, a staff writer for The New Yorker, discusses the podcast 70 Over 70, which aims to feature 70 people who have passed their 70th birthday.
“As with any interview show, the strength of each episode depends on the guest. It’s not enough that someone is simply long in the tooth; he or she must also be self-aware about what being “old” means, attuned to the delicate interplay between aging and regret, mortality and joy, irrelevance and freedom.”
I haven’t listened to the podcast myself, but there’s enough written description here to let you decide whether you want to track it down.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown
The enduring pandemic continues to affect our lives. Here’s a look at doomscrolling, “the habit of scrolling through an excessive amount of news stories on the web and social media.” Find some explanations for why we do it and suggestions for controlling it.
This nostalgic article is worth a look just for the photos. Did you have a van like this?
I include this article not just for its content, but because it’s the first I’ve heard of Oldster Magazine.
In the latest story of older adults taking up new activities, especially sports, Kerrie Houston Reightley describes her recently acquired passion for surfing.
Popular Science reports on some good news as we approach the end of the second year of COVID-19.
Taking up a sport isn’t the only way to pivot in later life. Here’s a local-to-me story of how a musician is using his talents to benefit his community.
Learn how to say correctly the most mispronounced words of 2021 in both the U.S. and the U.K.
“Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees”
After the group broke up in 1970, Nesmith moved on to a long and creative career, not only as a musician but as a writer, producer and director of films, author of several books, head of a media arts company and creator of a music video format that led to the creation of MTV.
© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown
Most of us grew up with the space race. Here’s an article that look as space travel’s impact in terms of product development.
“His legacy is one that will be debated and argued over as long as people care about musical theatre.”
Adam Gopnik remembers Stephen Sondheim, who died recently at the age of 91:
And yet a kind of Devil’s Theory case may be made, that it was Sondheim who was the most personal, the most truly confessional, of all the great American songwriters. For all that Sondheim spoke only of character and scene and story, when we listen to his music what we hear is not characters, not scenes, but a long, unwinding, timeless soliloquy, charting a psyche at once unimaginably large-souled and thwarted, with sensitivity and guardedness combined—a wounded talent reaching out beyond itself for love and meaning and, above all, for connection.
Click if you remember “Babies are our business. Our only business.”
Ann Turner Cook, the owner of the baby face that accompanied these ads, turns 95.
Some advice from an 80-something woman whose parents “were not role models for a vital old age.” She had to figure it out for herself, she tells us, and here shares some of what she’s learned.
Fate stomped all over Moby Grape, but Tacoma guitar god Jerry Miller is still rocking and rolling with the punches
what happened to Miller and his colleagues in Moby Grape — a band that combined the raw guitar punch of the Who with the soaring, lit-from-within harmonies of the Beach Boys — might be seen as a cautionary tale.
Something to read if you’re still thinking of getting the band back together.
A look at what retirement life can be like in New York City for folks who can afford it.
“The comedian will publish his memoirs at the age of ninety-five, and is at work on ‘History of the World, Part II.’”
We had air-raid drills in school.
It breaks my heart to realize that students today have to practice “lockdown” and “active shooter” scenarios. But some of the same situations can occur in other public places such as shopping malls. For those of us who didn’t grow up with this education, here’s some advice.
© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown
World AIDS Day occurs every year on December 1st. This year marks 40 years since the first reported cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported: “more than 36 million people, including 700,000 in the United States, . . . have died from AIDS-related illness globally since the start of the epidemic.”
The U.S. Government’s theme for World AIDS Day 2021—Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice—highlights the Biden-Harris Administration’s strong commitment to ending the HIV epidemic globally by addressing health inequities and ensuring the voices of people with HIV are central in all our work. As we prioritize leading the COVID-19 response, including becoming an arsenal of vaccines for the world, and helping every country and community build back better, we must at the same time forge ahead, innovate, and invest in communities to end the HIV epidemic everywhere.Source: U.S. Government Website
I’m quite an introvert, so solitude is pretty important to me. Nonetheless, I found the biggest challenge of retirement was making new friends when we moved from where we had spent more than 40 years of our lives, in the midwest, to the Pacific Northwest.
In this article painter and writer Brahna Yassky has some advice on making new friends as an older adult: “Do what you love to do in a situation where other people are doing the same, from artistic endeavors to participating in a sport. Teach a class in something you know well; take a class in something you don’t know. The important thing is to stay connected . . . .”
Here’s some preparation for the movie Being the Ricardos, which opens December 10 in theaters and December 21 on Amazon Prime Video.
Evidence from research over the past few decades has shown that exercise helps relieve chronic pain, writes Gretchen Reynolds:
But finding the best activities to help you deal with your particular pain may require mixing and matching exercise options, asking the right questions about why you hurt afterward and finding the right trainer or physical therapist.
In addition to tips on how to find out what works best for you, the article includes links to other pieces on chronic pain.
Do you remember when the orange roofs, fried clams, and 28 flavors of ice cream ruled the expanding network of roadways in the U.S. in the mid-twentieth century? Explore the history of Howard Johnson’s here.
“His baritone contributed to the 1961 hit “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which became one of the most recognizable American pop songs ever.”
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at the number of obituaries of the musicians whose music I grew up with are appearing.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a five-year, $9.1 million grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study resilience in older adults before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Older adults have been hit with a double whammy. On the one hand, they’ve had to take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 infection, such as staying away from other people. On the other hand, the stresses associated with social isolation can cause cognitive problems and contribute to anxiety and depression.”
Here’s another one of those happy stories that I love so much.
© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown