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News, reviews, ideas & rants

Fearless Aging:

STOP EVERYTHING! And check out THIS amazing 6min StoryCorps but local rockstar, Ms. Betty Reid Soskin.

“Rosie the Riveter, as a concept, leaves out an awful lot of history…” 

Wednesday Wake-Up Call!

You know when you make that decision to [adopt a dog/buy a specific car/only wear cowgirl boots/work in the aging field], and then everywhere you look, all you see is that one specific thing [saucy gals in cowgirl boots, cute dogs or a plethora of that one type of car/senior related issues]I swear it’s a phenomenon (or just the result of paying attention to something you never noticed before. whatever).

Case in point: My professional life has officially melded into my social life. With friends sending me great senior related stories, random in-depth discussions on senior housing at birthday potlucks (I swear I didn’t bring it up!), front page stories about aging with HIV, and monthly visits to seniors living in assisted living facilities. Hence this blog – stuff just kept coming at me from everywhere and I needed a place to share the great stories sent my way, as well as a soapbox about what it means to be aging in America.

Artful Aging:

Imagine you lived alone, did not know any of your neighbors, had no friends or relatives nearby to visit, and that the only time you left your house was to buy groceries or maybe to visit the library.  Perhaps you would fill your days with TV or reading, but I’d be willing to bet after a few months, loneliness would melt into depression. There are a ton of studies linking health outcomes to one’s quality of life, which includes a senior’s level of isolation and/or social support network. Especially concerning is that isolation, and resulting depression, are becoming increasingly common among seniors.

But good news! There are a handful of creative and innovative approaches to combating isolation among seniors, like the UCSF Community of Voices/Comunidad de Voces HERE. Based on a 5 year study to determine whether choir (as a creative endeavor and group activity) can promote overall health among seniors, the lead researcher, Dr. Julene Johnson, is building on an initial study she conducted in Finland in which seniors in choirs scored higher on quality of life surveys than non-singers.

Movie Review:

As part of the Ombudsman* volunteer training, they had us watch a compelling documentary about assisted living facilities (ALF). The short documentary, The Thin Edge of Dignity, is specifically told from the perspective of one man, Dick Weinman; injured in a car accident, Dick went from being an extremely active, independent, and outdoors oriented guy, to a severely disabled patient living in an assisted living facility, with very little autonomy or privacy. You can watch the short film HERE.

Dreams Do Come True

When I saw THIS article, my immediate reaction was to see if it was from The Onion (everyone’s favorite satirical rag) – alas! Dreams do come true!

Based on research in an East Coast care home, scientists determined that singing (in this case, musical tunes) over a four-month period actually improved conditions for those with moderate to severe dementia. Hallelujah! Or Oklahoma! Considering that I actually have many people in my life that love show-tunes in general (I know, we’re such gay stereotypes), this will be a no brainer as we all age.

Aging Obstacle #216

Whenever I’m trying to explain the need and importance of what age-friendly planning is, I usually highlight some very specific tangible examples. My standby and the one that most people seem to get immediately, is the timing of crosswalks. According to THIS great article by CityLab the time is typically 4 feet per second – which, for anyone that’s tried to cross with crutches, a small child, a walker, or with any other limited mobility, knows is a close call and 2.5 to 3 feet per second is a recommended alternative. Many times I’ve seen seniors or folks in manual wheelchairs half way through a large intersection and the light for oncoming traffic has already turned green – equal parts terrifying and heartbreaking.

Age Friendly City

Ensuring cities are built for everyone