Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Centenarians on the Rise in the US

Birthday party at the Kansas Masonic Home for Gladys Bever. 

Today I had the good fortune of attending a birthday party for Gladys Bever. At 103 years old, she remains fairly active.  She only just recently started using a walker. She's still very sharp. Her memory rivals that of people decades younger than she.
Gladys Bever, 103. 

Gladys enjoys reading books, primarily devotional literature.  She's one for whom the phrase "all that clean living" really applies while some other centenarians can hold onto some unhealthy habits. She focuses on the positive and shuns things that are contentious or frivolous.

I enjoy visiting with her each week. She tells me about many of her life adventures. We loan each other books.

She was born Gladys Oakley at home on July 30, 1910 in Yuba County near Marysville, California.  Gladys married H. Cecil Bever, who worked for decades as a preacher.

Gladys has performed hundreds of hours of church service in various states in the US and went on some service trips abroad, too. She has been an attentive mother for decades as well.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gender Differences in Midlife / Late Life Spirituality

Photo by Su-chan
Are women more naturally spiritual than men? Are older people more spiritual than younger people?  And as a result, are mature women the most spiritual of all?

As a child, I remember seeing the Norman Rockwell picture "Sunday Morning," which depicts a mother marching out the door with three children. They are all dressed in their Sunday best.

In the foreground is the father, slinking into his chair and hiding behind the newspaper. He's in his pajamas, robe and slippers. The lone boy casts an envious glance at his father.

Rockwell is playing off the stereotype that men are more resistant about formal church worship than women. But is there empirical evidence of this?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Perimenopause: What's Going On?

Image by Coffeelatte.
I have long known that night sweats,  mood swings and crying jags were signs of menopause. I also knew that 51 was the average age that women experience menopause.

But I still was blindsided at age 49.5 when the first dramatic symptoms showed up.

It was the fall of 2011.  I was 49 years old, closing in on 50. I had experienced some subtle changes to my cycle for years prior, so I was already describing myself as perimenopausal.

Then the subtlety ended.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Travel Made Me Feel My Youth

Citadel of Acre
When I was in college, I was eager to learn as much about the world as possible, so I majored in English. This allowed me to read broadly.

But I didn't want to limit myself to the travel habits of Emily Dickinson, who insists, "There is no frigate like a book." I wanted to get out of the United States and experience other landscapes, other cultures.

I chose to spend part of my sophomore year studying in Jerusalem due to its significance to three of the major world religions.  Also, I was awed by how it had a much older history than London or Vienna.

So in January of 1982, I embarked on a six month travel study in Jerusalem with a group of nearly 100 other BYU students.

We lived primarily at Ramat Rachel--located at the most southern extreme of Jerusalem. But we traveled throughout the region.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Visiting the Bathroom Is Risky Business

Photo by J. Star.
People of all ages risk falling in the bathroom.  It's an oft-used room, filled with hard surfaces from floor to tub to toilet to sink.  Then add water to the mix! And soap. Also loose rugs, flimsy towel racks and sliding shower doors decrease stability.

Injuries range from abrasions to lacerations to concussions to fractures.

According to a summary of a CDC report on non-fatal bathroom injuries for persons 15 and older,

"Almost one-third (30 percent) of adults 65 and above who were injured in bathrooms were diagnosed with fractures. Among adults aged 85 and older, 38 percent were hospitalized as a result of their injuries."

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Midsummer Midlife Midwest Dream

Midwest Boomer Bloggers with our hosts.
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

The "L" and buses
311 S. Wacker
I just returned from several days of travel, which included time spent in Chicago near the summer solstice--or "midsummer" as Shakespeare calls it.

I was in the heart of downtown Chicago, aka the "Loop," which includes many shops, restaurants, buildings and artwork.

My trip included two nights in the beautiful Allerton Hotel and two days in the John Hancock Center.

Like Shakespeare's characters, I had a rollicking good time near the longest day of the year.  During my stay in Chicago, I got to meet 15 other midlife bloggers from the Midwest.  It was a dream come true.