Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Longevity Predicted by SRT

Photo by Harry Harris.
Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a link to the Death Clock on his Facebook page.

According to this simple test, I can expect to live until age 83.

While more accurate than a reading of my lifeline, the Death Clock hasn't been vetted research.

The Sitting-Rising Test (SRT), however, is backed by data that makes it a more persuasive predictor of longevity.

Published by Brazilian physician Claudio Gil Araujo in November of 2012, the research on SRT shows that a simple evaluation of having someone rise from a seated position on the floor demonstrates their longevity.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Best of Boomer Blogs, Spring into Action

Photo by BumbleB2na.
Midlife is a time for springing into action. See what these bloggers have to say about how the Baby Boomers are using their time. Are they remodeling (literally and figuratively)? controlling key markets? enjoying recreational activities? or working to manage age-related physical changes? 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Routine Is King

Photo collage by practicalowl.
I have trouble being productive unless I stick to a routine.

Does the trouble lie with age-related challenges to energy and cognition?

Or do I merely have more responsibilities as a middle aged person--busy kids, a big house, paid work, volunteer work and a little bit of a social life?

Whether it's a weather-beaten body or the midlife juggling of duties, I find that I must stick to a routine or I completely fall apart -- mind, body and soul.

I'm younger than the participants of this study of 96 people 58 to 89 years old, but researchers found that those who kept to a regular routine of eating, bathing, dressing, and so forth enjoyed better sleep.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

APA's 21 Guidelines for Working with Older Adults

Photo by LeShaines123.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recognizes that working with older adults requires special consideration.

In response, they have developed a document entitled Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults. The latest version was published in 2013.  

Some, but not all, of these guidelines are pertinent to anyone working with older adults.

I think they are worth sharing.

This document outlines 21 different guidelines that are supported by research. What follows is just a list of the guidelines. If you would like a fuller explanation of any or all of the guidelines, click through to the entire document, which also includes references.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Philomena: Late-life Reconciliation

Released 27 November 2013
People are storytelling animals. We develop narratives to create meaning in our lives.

We also use narratives to persuade others to act. And we use narratives to resolve conflicts--with others, with ourselves.

Philomena (2013) is a film that depicts a woman in late life who is trying to resolve her conflicted feelings over losing her first child to adoption.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Movies about Children and Older Adults

Photo by Kevin Dooley.
After watching well over 130 films featuring older adults, I noticed that there are many that explore inter-generational relationships. 

[Updated July 18, 2015 to add Mr. Holmes (2015).]

Often the tension and opportunity for growth comes between older adults and their grown children. 

However, a few films focus on the possibility that older adults have something to offer children two generations removed from them--either their grandchildren, a neighbor or a complete stranger. 

The older adult sometimes offers nurturing, acceptance, and guidance that the parent is not providing. 


Monday, April 14, 2014

Calcium Carbonate

Photo by HBarrison.
I have not had the opportunity to visit the White Cliffs of Dover, part of England's coastline. However, I have been taking 1 antacid pill daily, so I feel some affinity to this natural beauty. Why?  The chalky whiteness of the soil is due to calcium carbonate, the same ingredient in my antacid.

I have recently learned that I have osteopenia, a weakening of the bones.  I am trying to improve my bone health through diet and exercise.   Women ages 51 to 70 years old need 1,200 mg of calcium per day.  But too much calcium can cause problems, so don't exceed daily recommendations--or your doctor's prescription, which may differ.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quantifying Wisdom

Photo by jinterwas.
Wisdom is an elusive trait.

It's easier to provide examples of wise people than it is to provide an abstract definition of this characteristic.

Nevertheless, scholars have tried defining wisdom.

For example, Paul Baltes and and other experts from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany have been pursing a more empirically based definition of wisdom.

Their project is termed The Berlin Wisdom Paradigm.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jamison's Memoir on Love & Loss

Published September 15, 2009.
A close friend of mine from high school stronger recommended Kay Redfield Jamison's earlier book An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (1997).  So when I saw that she had a book out about love and loss, I put the title on my "to read list."

A recent plane trip granted me the opportunity to finally read Nothing Was The Same: A Memoir (2009).

I spent the last twenty pages trying to cry as silently as possible in order to keep from disturbing my seat mates.

Jamison describes her relationship with her husband Richard Wyatt as it developed throughout many stages:

Their courtship and early marriage--where they had to work out a dynamic for how they could both address her manic-depressive (bipolar) illness; his diagnosis and treatment for cancer over a three year period; and Jamison's grief in the wake of Wyatt's death.


Friday, April 4, 2014

May Sarton: Poet

Photo by
Dead Poet's Society of America.
Poets tackles the big, complex themes such as truth, beauty, love and death.  After decades of exploring such themes, poets in late life continue to explore these topics.  The poets work is never done.

April is National Poetry month in the United States.  This gives me an invitation to consider poetry of mature poets.  If you have not had the chance to read poems by May Sarton, I invite you to do so.

Sarton was born in Belgium in 1912, but with war raging in Europe, her family moved to Boston in 1915.  She initially was interested in being an actress but soon turned her talents to writing.

She published fiction and autobiographical nonfiction. However, it's her poetry that is her greatest legacy.  She also taught creative writing at several universities and was a life-long Unitarian.

Here is a sermon by Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan that celebrates Sarton's work and quotes from a number of her poems.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nebraska: Late Life Drama

Director Alexander Payne & Actor Bruce Dern
Photo by pds209.
When I moved from being a young adult to being a midlife adult, I found myself moving more from reading and watching highly fantastical stories to reading and watching more realistic stories.

I find enough high-stakes drama in realistic fiction--whether delivered in the pages of the book or in the images on a screen.

Nebraska, released November 15, 2013, is filled with the type of drama many people experience in late life: long-term family tensions, fall out from traumatic experiences, and the injuries to the soul that happen when long-held dreams collide with the disappointment of reality.

Short in black and white, the film's mood is stark. There is nothing frivolous to distract the viewers from the characters' quest for meaning, connection, and survival.

Bruce Dern (b. 1936) plays Woody Grant, a retired auto mechanic, a Korean war veteran, and a life-long alcoholic who is living in Billings, Montana.