Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Re-imagining Alz: Dancing with Rose

Published May 31, 2007.
No doubt, living with dementia is a challenge. Whether caused by Alzheimer's Disease, vascular dementia or another cognition-altering malady, memory problems make it difficult to function in the world, difficult to relate to others.

I have frequently heard caregivers recommend Lauren Kessler's book Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's. I finally made the time to read her account of working in the memory care wing of a skilled nursing facility.

Trained as a university professor, Kessler decided to work a minimum-wage job as a certified nurse assistant (or resident assistant as she calls it). She chose to do this as a way to pay homage to her mother who spent her last few years living with dementia.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Best of Boomer Blogs, On the Go

steevithak.
Spring is here, and Boomer Bloggers are ready to get moving after a few months of hibernating. 

Check out these posts and see what adventures these bloggers have to share. 




Neodelphi
This week on Modern Senior, Amy features a guest post from technology expert Lauren Rothlisberger.  Her article “5 Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Grandkids Using your iPhone” will inspire even the most technophobic among us to try out some great apps.


MIT-Libraries
If you want to stir up lots of memories and dust, decide to move at age 59.  That's what Laura Lee over at The Midlife Crisis Queen is doing this month.  For her, this retirement relocation has led to deeper questions: Moving, Meaning and Legacy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gut Check: Read & Follow Labels

Read the label of all medications
I am a member of the BOOMboxNetwork.com and am sharing this post on behalf of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). I received compensation for my participation. The opinions are my own. Facts were provided by the AGA.

We are fortunate to have so many remedies available to us in the form of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and prescription medications. We also have a responsibility to learn how to take these medicines safely.

For example, many people are unaware of the dangers of taking the wrong dose of acetaminophen or an NSAID.

Members of my own extended family have suffered gastrointestinal damage by unknowingly taking too many NSAIDs.   And while a related problem has not happened in my family, a single overdose of acetaminophen can cause permanent damage to the liver.

In fact, acetaminophen overdose is the #1 cause of liver damage in the United State.

But which medicines contain these ingredients?  Here is a partial list of common medications containing acetaminophen or an NSAID:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Films about Aging O-Z

Jessica Tandy & Hume Cronyn
Photo by Alan Light.
This is Part III of a three-part list.

The first half lists A-F. The second half lists G-N.

[Last updated 11/30/16 to add Queen Mimi (2015)]

(#135) O'Horten (2007). A 67-year-old railway engineer in Norway is retiring after 40 years. Odd Horten is a man of strict routine and very little words. But on his first day of retirement, his life falls off the rails.  How will he structure his life once work doesn't structure it for him?  Full Review

Old Goats (2010). Three older men offer each other support as they seek to hit their stride during retirement. They are looking for ways to have adventures, romance the ladies, leave a legacy and preserve their strength.

Old Partner (2009). This award-winning, high grossing documentary from Korea shows the year in the life of an octogenarian farmer and his 40-year-old ox.  The man's wife provides running commentary as she works, but the man and the ox mainly are silent as they perform very hard physical labor all day even with age-related challenges.

On a Clear Day (2005). An older man is forced into early retirement and must forge a new sense of purpose while trying to overcome this loss that reverberates through many areas of his life: family, friends, body image, etc.

On Golden Pond (1981). Henry Fonda plays a retired professor Norman Thayer, Jr. who must manage conflict with his health, his adult daughter, with his teenage step-son, and with his role in the world as he celebrates is 80th birthday at his vacation home. His wife, Ethel, played by Katherine Hepburn, does much to explain a deeply buried golden heart to other members of the family. The film uses the images of mating loons to reinforce some of the themes.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Incontinence: No Laughing Matter

Photo by Photoctor.
Full disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network campaign for Depend. This is a sponsored post, meaning I am receiving a fee for posting; however, I am in no way affiliated with Depend and do not earn a commission or percent of sales. The opinions expressed are my own. 


As a woman in midlife, sometimes my body doesn't work perfectly.  Whether it's getting my first pair of bifocals at 48 or feeling a little arthritis in my knees at 50, I get reminders now and then that all my body parts aren't working as designed.

Incontinence is one of those "not working properly" problems, but it's not just an issue for older adults. People from throughout the life span can have trouble making it to the bathroom on time.  People with incontinence can't just stay home so that they are always feet away from a bathroom.


Friday, March 14, 2014

From Age-ing to Sage-ing

Published April 28, 1995.
A couple of people recommended this From Age-ing to Sage-ing to me in the last few months. I finally caved and read it.

I love this book!  I plan on rereading it every year. 

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi redefines late life with the help of Ronald S. Miller.  They challenge the notion that late adulthood is limited to loss, decay and death. 

Instead, they describe the aging as the opportunity to review one's life, solidify a legacy, and mentor the rising generations. 

The origins of this book started in 1984 when Schachter-Shalomi went on a Vision Quest in order to overcome his depression about turning 60. 

He made a commitment to study elderhood so that he could celebrate it. In 1987 he founded the Spiritual Eldering Institute, now called the Sage-ing Guild.  Part of his work includes hosting workshops on how to embrace the third age as a time of growth and development.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Aging Films to Watch Next

Photo by Pete Zarria.
Since about 2010, I have watch about one film about aging a week.

Films I've seen include classics such as On Golden Pond and new hits such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

These I have listed and summarized in another blog post:

See another post of films about aging I HAVE seen and reviewed. 

So it's about 200 films down, and about 180 films to go.

This is a companion post that lists movies I have yet to watch.

Below is a list of films that I have NOT seen or reviewed. Yet!  If your favorite is missing, check my "viewed" films page. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

The BoomShop Offers 15% Off


Disclosure: I have been provided with a product from The BoomShop in exchange for an honest review of their site. 

When I turned 50, I found myself feeling a bit removed from marketing aimed at soccer moms. Fortunately, the Boomers have never been quiet about stating their needs.

Consequently, I have recently seen growth in marketing for people in their 50s and 60s.  We aren't quite ready for walkers, but we are experiencing some age-related changes to our eyes, ears and assorted creaking body parts.

Now that I'm in midlife, I appreciate products with large print, easy grips, and hearty signals.  When I buy something these days, I think a lot about its ability to age with me.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

How We Die: Book Review

First published Jan. 1, 1993.
In the fall of 2010, I was assigned to write a book report for my Death & Dying class.  Looking over the list of ten books on the syllabus, I was unwilling to choose just one. I decided to read all ten.

Among several good books about death and dying was Sherwin B. Nuland's How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter.

I just learned that Nuland died this week. He died on Monday, March 3rd.  I have yet to write a review of his most important book, so as a tribute to him, I would like to do this today.

Because he is a surgeon by professional training, Nuland has the background to describe in technical terms how the body dies. 

But Nuland is also an avid reader, a deep thinker, a previously published author, and a compassionate person.  He also taught bioethics and medical history.  Being a man of letters gave him the ability to humanize a very difficult topic.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sunshine and Vitamin D

Photo by tarotastic
Having osteopenia encourages me to read regularly about factors that contribute to bone health.

I have written before about the role of calcium and exercise in building and  maintaining bone mass.

The body also needs adequate levels of Vitamin D in order to process calcium for proper bone health.

[Note: This post does not offer medical advice; it is only intended to raise awareness. See a licensed professional such as a nutritionist or a general practitioner if you have concerns about your health.] 

But it also essential for many other bodily functions, such as the following:

immune system, muscle function, cardiovascular function, respiratory system, brain development, and anti-cancer effects.

Unfortunately, many people are deficient in Vitamin D, which is most readily available from ultraviolet B rays from sunlight.

How does deficiency happen? For example, people may spend too much time indoors, they may live far from the equator, they may wear sunscreen and layers of clothing, they may have dark skin, or they might be overweight.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When Does Midlife Start & End?

Photo by wordsnpix.
Late life or older adulthood is the focus of my blog. Consequently, I have made efforts to define "older adult."

Defining "older adult" is complex, because you can't just choose a specific age. 

Roles, function and perception contribute to the definition of this and any life stage.

Recently, people have asked me to define midlife. I'm finding this to be even trickier. 

Midlife starts when young adulthood ceases and before older adulthood starts.  

My forays have found age ranges for midlife landing anywhere between 25 (for those who settle down early) to 75 (for those who still maintain a lot of midlife adult tasks).  The US Census identifies midlife as 35 to 54, a pretty low range. 

Let's look at the age ranges posited by a few well-established psychologists. 
40 to 65 for Carl Jung.   
30 to 60 for Robert J. Havighurst. 
30 to 60 for  Erik Erikson.
40 to 65 for  Daniel Levinson.