Friday, November 21, 2014

Grateful for Aging

An aging flower still has beauty. Photo by Theen Moy.
When I decided to study gerontology five years ago, my intent was to combat aging as a formidable foe.  After 20-30 hours a week focused on the topic of aging, I'm often grateful to be getting older.

This Thanksgiving season gives me occasion to explain what I mean.  Let me list the blessings of aging:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Grace in Aging: Review

Published 5 August 2014.
I'm going to review this book before I fully digest it. Let me explain.

In The Grace in Aging: Awaken as You Grow Older, Kathleen Dowling Singh presents a series of meditations that invites people in midlife and late life to become mindful about the aging process.

Singh has a rich background as a transpersonal psychologist, hospice worker, and frequent lecturer on the spiritual aspects of dying.  She grew up Catholic and then left the faith to study Buddhism. She now resists that label--or any other. "I guess at this point I don't see a need for a label."

Her writing draws from wisdom literature from a variety of traditions.  Her book requires slow reading with frequent pauses for meditation, journaling and transformation of thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Alz Awareness Month

Photo by Mitch.
A sponsored post on behalf of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute.

Modern medicine has enjoyed sweet success in preventing and treating a number of diseases.

People are living longer because there have been great strides in addressing heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers.

However, there is still no cure for Alzheimer's Disease  (AD), which is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

November is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month.  Consider wearing a purple ribbon!

It's a good time to focus on the prevalence of the disease and to learn about some ongoing work to prevent and cure AD in the near future.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Better with Age: Book Review

Published 16 September 2014.
[I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.] 

This fall,l aptly named Spry Publishing has released a practical guide to negotiating the second half of life.

I had the opportunity to read Robin Porter's Better With Age: Your Blueprint for Staying Smart, Strong, and Happy for Life.

More and more people are living to 80 and beyond. But are we making preparations before late adulthood for such longevity?

This book is aimed at readers in midlife (or for long-range planning young adults).   The bulk of the chapters are organized by decade transitioning from midlife to late life.

Here is the table of contents:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Alive Inside: Film Review

Limited Release 18 July 2014
Available on DVD 18 Nov 2014
I wasn't able to sleep in Sunday morning, despite the opportunity to "fall back" with Daylight Savings Time.

With an extra hour on my hands, I decided to watch the 78-minute documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory (2014).

I wept through the entire film.

Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett follows Dan Cohen, founder of Music and Memory for three years as Cohen gives people with dementia personalized iPods.

Cohen asks people with dementia or their caregivers, "What are your favorite songs?"  Then he builds a playlist around those songs and gives people their own iPod and set of headphones.

When residents hear their favorite music from bygone decades, the "come alive" with an increase in their language, movement, memory and social engagement.  These scenes were very moving.

Some people might remember seeing this clip of Henry, uploaded to youtube in November 2011--three years in advance of the film's completion.