Last Week’s Links

Mental-health therapists see uptick in patients struggling with post-election anxiety

From The Seattle Times:

With the constant bombardment of information coming out of the Trump administration, local mental-health experts say a hefty number of their existing clients — and as many as 80 percent of potential new clients — are seeking help for postelection distress.

And this has been an equal-opportunity occurrence: “anxiety has been on the rise among people of all political leanings, therapists say.”

The Brief, Confusing History of Foam Packaging

I did not know that everything we think is Styrofoam actually isn’t:

We know that polystyrene is bad for the environment, that it’s frequently mistaken for Styrofoam, and that it’s kind of a crappy way of shipping food to people.

Best way to slow aging? Exercise, but not just any kind

A new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism noted that any kind of exercise is better than none, but it’s the high-intensity interval training that does best in reversing age-related changes at the cellular level.

Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older?

The short answer: “Yes, unfortunately.”

But there is some good news: Dr. Leslie Cho, an interventional cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Cardiovascular Center, suggests that older people focus on general fitness rather than obsessing about a number on a scale.

UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it

University of Washington professor Kate Starbird works in the field of crisis informatics. After the Boston Marathon bombing she began looking at social media postings to see how those media might be used for the public good in crises. Unexpectedly, she found clusters of fringe conspiracy theories, what she calls “real tinfoil-hat stuff.”

Read about her findings in an article that seems especially pertinent in light of the current political current in the U.S.

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

What I’ve Been Reading

The 20 Most Satisfying Cries on This Is Us, Ranked
How to Learn New Things as an Adult
Critical thinking instruction in humanities reduces belief in pseudoscience
Will 90 Become The New 60?
Too Much Experience To Be Hired? Some Older Americans Face Age Bias
The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles

My Recent Browsing History

Here are some of the recent articles that have caught my eye.

Lessons on Aging Well, From a 105-Year-Old Cyclist
More Women in Their 60s and 70s Are Having ‘Way Too Much Fun’ to Retire
You’re a completely different person at 14 and 77, the longest-running personality study ever has found
From the Elders to the Kids: What I Wish I’d Known
Boomers Are Ditching Retirement for Entrepreneurship. And They’re Killing It

Last Week’s Links

All the buzz this week has been related to the U.S. inauguration.

Knitting protesters grab back at Trump with pink cat hats

The day after Donald Trump is inaugurated president, the signature fashion statement of women marching in protest will be this: a handmade pink “pussy hat” with cat ears tipped directly at Trump and the word he uttered unforgettably on a hot mike. Call it an effort to grab it back.

Both playful and polemic, the cheeky pink hats will appear by the thousands at the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., and at similar demonstrations in cities across America on Saturday.

Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books

New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani reports on an interview with President Obama, who said that “reading gave him the ability to occasionally ‘slow down and get perspective’ and ‘the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes.’” Kakutani points out that Obama found helpful presidential biographies and the writings of Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. But she reports that novels were also important; examples include Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, the novels of Marilynne Robinson, and the science fiction apocalyptic novel The Three-Body Problem by Chinese writer Liu Cixin.

The New “O” Book Club: 12 Fiction Picks from President Obama 

Off the Shelf elaborates on the previous story with a list of 12 books recommended by President Obama.

Every book Barack Obama has recommended during his presidency

And here is the definitive list, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Inauguration sparks writers to lead protest

This article in the Boston Globe discusses protests around the U.S. by writers who oppose the policies of President-Elect Donald Trump. Here’s what one protest organizer has to say about these planned events:

“I think when you are engaging in the diversity of human experiences, you cannot help but have a broader empathy for people who struggle,” says [Daniel Evans] Pritchard, a poet and translator who is editor and publisher of the journal the Critical Flame. “Writers are engaged in that every day, through language. And that’s important because language is the medium we use to construct our laws and our politics.”

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Loneliness Can Be Deadly for Elders; Friends Are the Antidote

Paula Span reports:

I’ve been talking, in this season of auld lang syne, with older people who have formed friendships late in life. Though they mourn their losses, they are grateful for the capacity to still find warmth, shared values and interests, understanding and trust from former strangers.

She discusses research on negative effects of loneliness and social isolation on older adults as their circle of acquaintances diminishes.

Why It’s So Hard to Train Someone to Make an Ethical Decision

One of the conundrums of ethical decision making is that many moral decisions that are quite straightforward — even easy — to resolve in a classroom or during training exercises seem far more difficult to successfully resolve when confronted during actual day-to-day decision making.

This article is aimed at people responsible for training employees in a business setting, but it raises points applicable to everyone.

And let’s not forget the benefit of wisdom that most of us of a certain age feel we have attained.

What to do when friends turn out to be bigots

This is an issue I’ve personally heard a lot about since the last U.S. election. So I was especially glad to see this:

And let’s get this out of the way upfront: Tolerance is about accepting as valid views that differ from yours. Bigotry is not valid. We do not have the moral luxury of practicing it, defending it, condoning it, normalizing it, or treating it as the aw-gee-bummer downside of a friend who is otherwise! so! great!

There are also some concrete suggestions here for how to deal with any such situations that may arise.

The Deceptions of Luck

My daughter was a competitive swimmer in her youth. When she was chosen as the first among her age group to move up to the next higher training group, her friends all said, “You’re so lucky.”

Of course her success had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with hard work.

This article considers the difference between luck and chance:

Chance, then, is the objective reality of random outcomes in the real world, while luck is a consequence of the subjective value you place on those random outcomes. Luck, we might say, is chance with a human face. Understanding this gives us a clearer view of reality, and a clearer view of reality means we can choose better courses of action.

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

85-Year-Old Marathoner Is So Fast That Even Scientists Marvel

A portrait of Ed Whitlock, age 85:

Having set dozens of age-group records from the metric mile to the marathon, Whitlock remains at the forefront among older athletes who have led scientists to reassess the possibilities of aging and performance.

The article looks at some factors that may have contributed to his peak performance level at such an age.

Paper Calendars Endure Despite the Digital Age

You’ve heard people say, “My life is on my phone.” Part of that life, presumably, is their calendar. But, perhaps counterintuitively, paper calendars continue to thrive in the digital age. While the use of desk-pad and wall calendars has declined, paper planners and appointment books “grew 10 percent from 2014–15 to 2015–16 to $342.7 million.” Decorative calendars also continue to grow in popularity.

Older adults in ED face increased risk of long-term disability: Study

A Yale University study has found that older adults who go to the emergency department, or ED, have an increased risk of disability or decline in physical abilities up to six months later.

I’m not sure what to make of the report of this study. I would think that people who visited an emergency department would be sicker than patients who didn’t. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that the ED patients “have an increased risk of disability or decline in physical abilities up to six months later.”

Am I missing something here? The results were published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Retiring travel writer picks 5 spots you must see in your lifetime

Detroit Free Press writer Ellen Creager boils down a career of travel to these quick tips.

Creager’s #2 is also #2 on my bucket list of places to visit: the Grand Canyon.

My #1 place is Stonehenge. Hers is Paris, which I also look forward to visiting.

What About You?

What are the top one or two places to visit on your bucket list?

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Telling Their Life Stories, Older Adults Find Peace in Looking Back

Whether they are writing full-blown memoirs or more modest sketches or vignettes, many older people … are telling their life stories. Some are taking life-story writing classes at local colleges, libraries and adult learning centers, while others are hiring “personal historians” to record oral histories or to produce videos that combine interviews, home movies and family photos. Some opt to write a “legacy letter,” which imparts values to the next generations.

This article explains how autobiographical writing can help people gain perspective on their lives and come to acknowledge and understand how past experiences have shaped their lives.

The sleep aid/antihistamine that can cause memory loss

Diphenhydramine — found in Tylenol PM and in Benadryl — is a very common over-the-counter sleep aid and antihistamine. But confusion and memory loss have been attributed to its use among the elderly, according to a recent medical review noted by the People’s Pharmacy.

Boomerang Boom: More Firms Tapping the Skills of the Recently Retired

CALL them boomerang retirees: people who exit gracefully after their career at a company, then return shortly afterward to work there part time.

More and more companies are establishing formal programs to facilitate this, for reasons that benefit both the employer and the retiree. Leaving a satisfying job cold-turkey for a life of leisure can be an abrupt jolt to people accustomed to feeling purposeful, earning money and enjoying their colleagues. From the corporate perspective, it is useful to have experienced hands who can train younger people, pass along institutional wisdom and work with fewer strings attached.

 

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown