Friday, January 29, 2016

About Schmidt vs O'Horten: Film Pairing

About Schmidt Released 2002; O'Horten Released 2007.
After watching over 200 films depicting midlife and late life, I'm seeing patterns.

Sometimes one film influences another. For example, Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) has a strong influence on two subsequent films.

Other films are direct remakes, such as the 2014 English-language version of the 2005 Spanish film Elsa y Fred.

In this instance, I see two characters taking different approaches to the same life passage. For this reason, I recommend that people watch About Schmidt (2002) and O'Horten (2007) back to back--but necessarily in the same evening.

Schmidt and O'Horten are both men who retire at the beginning of their narratives.  Nebraska native Schmidt worked at a insurance company for decades before retiring at age 66.  Norway native O'Horten worked as a train conductor for decades before retiring at age 67.

Both men exhibit highly ingrained habits at work and at home.  Both men experience personal chaos because of the loss of their workplace routines.  This leads both men to question everything from their identity to their relationships to society at large.

What differs is their path through that chaos.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Stranger in My Recliner: Book Review

Published 26 January 2016.
Fate brought Sophie into John McGettigan's path one day--quite literally.

When Sophie fell on the sidewalk in front of him, John recognized this small, octogenarian woman from their casual friendship as residents of the same town.  

At that time, Sophie had been living outside after losing permission to sleep in a basement of a meeting hall.  

Once John learned she was homeless, he drove Sophie home where his wife Doreen agreed that they should make a bed on the couch for Sophie. 

A night's refuge turned into a week, then a month. 

Somehow, Sophie ended up living with the McGettigans for over a year.  As a writer, Doreen worked through her thoughts and feelings about caring for Sophie by writing The Stranger in My Recliner

With a combination of pragmatics and tenderness, McGettigan worked to improve Sophie's physical, emotional and mental health.

[I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.]

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Lie of "One and Done" Caregiving

Photo by RCC.
Aging is a gradual and dynamic process.

Many people do not realize this.

I say this because I have seen a lot of adult children hold onto an unrealistic view of aging.

Many adult children expect their parents to have full health until the week their parents move into a nursing home.

The adult child expects a "One and Done" type of intervention.

They expect that they will take one week off work to help transfer their parent from an independent home to a dependent nursing care environment.

One major change in health. One move. One intervention. One week. One and Done.

"One and Done" is NOT the norm.

For most older adults, aging is a dynamic experience.  The person's needs change frequently over time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Celebrate Singers Who Are Stayin' Alive

Photo by Phillip Pessar.
All too often, headlines announce the passing of an American music legend.

I honor their contribution to the music industry specifically and American culture in general.

However, I feel the need to focus on national treasures still with us.

I spent some time today looking at the Billboard Hot 100 lists for my teen years: 1973-1980.

Here is a list of singers who are still living, many of whom are still writing, recording or performing. 

So here is a shout out to those surviving singers (turning 66 to 78 this year) who provided the soundtrack of my teenage years.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Simple Grass Cutter: An Elder Tale

Photo by Nishanth Jois.
This post is part of a series on elder tales.

Most fairy tales cast young people as the protagonist.

There are a handful of tales that depict an older adult as the story's hero.

Here is a tale from India.

The protagonist is a poor laborer whose riches are contained in his character.  By late life, he is content, so he uses his resources to bless the rising generation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2015 Films with Aging Themes

Photo by Bit50s.
It's tempting to claim that Hollywood ignores the over 50 crowd.

However, I find that a number of films do focus on the concerns of people in the second half of life.

These might be quieter films that fill fewer seats than action-packed movies or rom-coms featuring twentysomethings.

Nevertheless, mature movie goers can see actors in leading roles who look like them.

So grab your popcorn bowl and remote control and enjoy the following films--listed by release date.

See last year's list: 2014 Films with Aging Themes

Friday, January 8, 2016

FEV1: Biomarker of Health

Photo by CircaSassy.
This post is part of a series on Biomarkers of Health and Longevity

The most interesting research article I read last year was a report about the pace of aging among young adults as measured by a series of tests. 

The article listed 18 biomarkers of aging.  I only recognized 6 of them.  

In an effort to better safeguard my health, I decided to learn about all of these biomarkers. 

The biomarker FEV1 is an abbreviation for a common pulmonary function test.  In other words, FEV1 measures lung health. 

FEV is short for Forced Expiratory Volume.  The 1 indicates the duration of 1 second. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 4th Blogoversary to TGAM

Photo by Miken69er.
Today marks 4 years since I started this blog about aging.

In that time, I've published over 300 posts.

On prior blogoversaries, I have shared the Top 10 most viewed posts.

Because of the cumulative effect, older posts are over-represented in the most-viewed posts. By expanding to the Top 20, the statistics capture a few more recently published posts:

There are ten from 2012, six from 2013, three from 2014 and one from 2015.

Here are the Top 20 All-Time Most Viewed Posts in ascending order.


#20.  Movies about Mature Men Preserving Power(Jan 16th 2013) 
#19.  Celebrities Born in 1962. (Feb 8th 2015)
#18.  Long-term Care More Probable as We Age. (Apr 1st 2012)
#17.  Films about the Dying Process. (Nov 30th 2012)
#16.  Older Americans 2012 Federal Report. (Sep 15th 2012)


#15.  Books about Dementia. (Jun 5th 2014)
#14.  Age-related Risks for Dehydration(May 9th 2012)
#13.  Robert G. Peck's Tasks for Older Adults(Jun 1st 2013)
#12.  Films about Love for Those 50+ (Apr 1st 2013)
#11.  Mature Athletes(May 24th 2012) 


#10. Aging Films to Watch Next. (Mar 11th 2014)
 #9.  Life Span vs. Life Expectancy. (May 20th 2013)
 #8.  Films about Aging, Part III. (Mar 16th 2014)
 #7.  Hospital-induced Delirium. (Jul 6th 2012)
 #6.  Films Set in Nursing Homes. (Jun 13 2013)


 #5.  Label Clothing for Nursing Homes. (Feb 23rd 2012)
 #4.  Adjusting to Bifocals. (Dec 15th 2012)
 #3.  Books about Aging. (Jun 12th 2012) 
 #2   Films about Dementia. (Feb 25th 2013)
 #1   Films about Aging, Part I. (Jan 13th 2012) 


Happy 3rd Blogoversary to TGAM
2015 Top 10 Posts