Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aging Disgracefully

Photo by Generationbass.
Now that I have crossed over into the territory labeled “mature woman,” what is my strategy for facing the challenges of aging?  Am I aging gracefully by being composed and stately?  

Hell no.

I’m mad, and I’m not going down without a fight. My strategy? I plan on fighting dirty, hiding the body, and dressing for excess.
This post is part of a Generation Fabulous Blog Hop on Aging Gracefully
which is featured in HuffPost 50. I'm there as slide #23.

Here are a few of the many awe-inspiring posts from my fellow bloggers.
Big Little Wolf's Daily Plate of Crazy. "Why Aging Gracefully Doesn't Suit Me"
Middle Aged Diva's "Aging Gracefully: New Definition"

Street Fighter against Father Time.  Older women have a harder time keeping the weight off than younger women.  Even men have less trouble with weight gain as they age.  I read the 2010 article from the Journal of the American Medical Association reporting on a 13 year study on middle aged women. Researchers found that older women must exercise vigorously for an hour a day to merely maintain their weight. Reading that, I was livid.  I wanted to punch someone in the face.

I am responding by taking out my aggression at the gym.  With every step I take on the treadmill, I imaging trampling Father Time.  He may get me eventually, but I am not going gently into that good night. He’ll have to take me, kicking and screaming (a good cardio workout) the whole way. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Movies about Mature Artists

Art by Grandma Moses as photographed by Bosc D'Anjou.
Creativity is not the sole property of the young.  From birth to death, people develop, grow and create. Some work consistently on their art from youth to late adulthood. Others are older adults before they find their passion to create. Grandma Moses  is the oft-cited example of someone developing a new skill later in life.

What follows is a list of films that celebrate the creative work of mature artists. Last Update 5/11/14

I recently saw a segment from 60 Minutes, aired in January of 2015 about a singing group in Harlem called "Alive and Kickin'" The performers are 55 plus.  Here's the link.

Iris (2015). Born in 1921 and still going strong into her 90s, Iris Apfel commands a lot of attention for her collection of costume jewelry and internationally acquired clothing. Trailer.

Advanced Style (2014).  This 72-minute documentary features seven mature fashionistas from New York as photographed by Ari Seth Cohen.   Full film review.

Quartet (2012). Set in a retirement home for mature musicians, this film boasts a cast of many accomplished opera singers and orchestra musicians. The setting includes snippets of them performing and talking about performing into late adulthood. The main plot focuses on a newly-arrived opera singer (played by Maggie Smith) and her refusal to participate in the annual fundraiser

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Photo by e-MagineArt
Modern medicine provides us with many life-saving prescription drugs. Medications support greater health for many. However, people taking five or more medications are at risk for polypharmacy.

Kathleen Woodruff of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing explains the prevalence of polypharmacy with these statistics:

"Currently, 44% of men and 57% of women older than age 65 take five or more medications per week; about 12% of both men and women take 10 or more medications per week. These agents include both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) preparations, such as vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal products."

Older adults are at a higher risk for polypharmacy for the following reasons:
  • As a group, they take more medications than younger people. 
  • Some have problems with vision, hearing, cognition, and fine motor skills that make adherence a challenge.
  • They are likely to be seeing specialists, who may not be coordinating all prescriptions. 
  • Their aging bodies metabolize medicines differently.  
Note: This blog post serves to raise awareness not to supply medical advice. If you have any questions about your medications, please consult your doctor and your pharmacist.

Part of polypharmacy includes "pill burden," a term for difficulty managing multiple medications.  This can be confusing to sort out: "When do I take this pill?" "How many do I take?" "Do I take this with or without food?"  "Do two of my pills look very similar to each other?"  "Is this prescription bottle mine or my spouse's?"  

Polypharmacy leaves people at risk for side effects and for bill burden.

Also, there is a domino effect. People taking medications often suffer side effects, which leads them to take another medication to manage those side effects. This can lead to non-adherence and to even more side effects. And to more pills. This is called a "prescribing cascade." 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Silver Tsunami on the Silver Screen

Photo by Patrick Feller.
Last Updated 4/23/13

Growing up at the tail end of the Baby Boom, I have spent decades watching my slightly older peers influence culture in a big way. Most recently, I watch them making great strides in redefining aging.  I see older adults challenging stereotypes in the workplace, in civic organizations, in social media and in popular media.  For example, more and more films are depicting older adults in multidimensional ways.

Sure, there are some films that exploit stereotypes of aging, particularly flat characters in comedy roles such as the dirty old man or the feeble old lady.  However, more films depict older adults as complex, dynamic people with similar concerns as young adults: pursuing intimacy, wielding power, and shaping identity.  More films observe how people are achieving, creating, and exploring throughout the entire lifespan.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guest Posts Archive

Photo by GollyGForce
I have the good fortune to write guest posts for others' blogs from time to time.

Consider adding these blogs to your Twitter feeds, your RSS Feeds or your bookmarks.


Retire in Style. @barbblogtwits Guest post "Hollywood: How Do We 'Picture' Aging?" 8/2/2013.


Better After 50. @BetterAfter50 Guest post "Whose Paying When You Can't Live at Home Anymore?" 7/20/2013

Mark B. Schlemmer

Senior Housing Forum. @Seniorforum Guest post "The Complexities of the Aging Mind." 7/17/2013 It was also picked up by Caregiver News Basket.

Or Hiltch

Savvy Dad. @MySavvyDad. Guest post "Dad's Shrimp Tempura." 7/16/2013

Science of Ageing. @Scienceofageing Ran my post "Age-Related Risks for Dehydration" 7/16/13. (repost of my 5/9/12 post)

Mattie McCurrie

Chancellor Ray Cross

Mangrove Mike

Xtreme Dream: Diana Nyad. @diananyad long-distance swimmer. Guest post "Midlife Xtreme Dream" 3/4/13