Stop Saying These Three Things to Elder Adults!

day lillies

When they speak to elderly seniors, middle-age children and and other adults tend to say things, often unintentionally, that demonstrate a lack of respect and empathy.

Sometimes it happens when a person tries to solve a problem quickly; at others the goal is to move along getting to work or school on time. Not infrequently adult children are frustrated when they need to repeat things which they have already said multiple times. Unfortunately, every time we make one of these comments, the elders in our lives grimace, sigh, or merely shake their heads, making allowances for our rudeness. We don’t mean to say unkind, disrespectful, and yes slightly nutty, things to our elder family members and friends, but we do.

As I’ve talked with elder adults that I know, I’ve discovered three phrases that they dislike hearing.               Continue reading

Can We PLEASE Stop Using the Word FACILITY?

facility defOn a daily basis I hear people use the word facility, and it’s almost always modified by the adjectives such as assisted living, nursing, and care. I’ll stand in the supermarket line and overhear a conversation between two people about moving a frail relative into a nursing facility. I’ll read an article or watch a television program, and sure enough, if an elder who needs care is involved, they go to a facility. I’ll listen to a social worker (who should know better) in a hospital tell a friend that her parent needs to be moved from the hospital into a rehab facility (and my friend has two days to pull off the move).               Continue reading

Elders Share Wisdom on Love: A Valentine’s Day Treat!

Adult children learn a lot from elder parents.

book-cover-305x450Take a few minutes to read Love Lessons From the Wisest Americanspublished over at the NextAvenue.org site and a great Valentine’s Day treat. The article, published on February 12, 2015, will help to clear up quite a few misconceptions about our aging parents.

Written by Suzanne Gerber, this piece describes research interviews with around 700 elders documenting what they say, looking back, about love and life. Cornell University gerontologist Karl Pillemer, Ph.D conducted the research and wove it into a book, 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationship, and Marriage.

At his Vimeo video website, Dr. Pillemer has posted some of the interviews. You can also visit Dr. Pillemer’s Legacy Project website. Check them both out.

Best Quotes From the Article Continue reading

Aging Does Not Automatically Degrade Decision Making Skills

An aspect of ageism is how many people seem to believe that seniors make poorer decisions as soon as they begin to age.

According to a recent study described in a Health Day article at Medline Plus, older adults performed decision-making tasks just as well if not better than younger people. Participants ranged from age 18 to age 82. The article describing the research appeared in the September 28, 2013 issue of Psychology and Aging.

Over the course of the study researchers examined responses to questions from more than 600 people, describing how they go about making decisions that required a knowledge of math skills, vocabulary, risk-taking. and financial understanding. Two types of cognitive abilities, fluid intelligence (quickness) and crystalized intelligence (accumulated knowledge) were identified.              Continue reading

Check Out Quartet — The Perfect Movie — for Valentine’s Day

Quartet is the perfect movie to see on Valentine’s Day. When I visit my parents this weekend, I will suggest that we all go and watch, and I can’t wait to see it for a second time.

The movie is about aging musicians, and the main characters are played by highly regarded and accomplished actors in their senior years. The story, about long retired musicians, is wonderfully touching, addressing in an artistic way all sorts of chronic problems and aging issues, including losing the ability to perform to the level they were used to as professional musicians. All of the extras are retired musicians — one man in his nineties — all of whom still love and enjoy their art. Dustin Hoffman, the director is 75. The credits recognize the more prominently featured elder musicians, explaining where and what they did professionally.

I cannot say enough about how good this movie is to watch, and the way it celebrates the elder years. It tackles the frustrating problems of ageism head on. Read this Quartet review in the Boston Globe.

Are Boomers As Healthy As They Think?

Over and over the media refer to boomers as a health conscious generation, and boomers often assume that their generation is healthier than their parents’ generation.

Now new research, just published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, reaches conclusions that dispute the rosy boomer heath assumptions.

Click this image to watch a video about the NHANES survey.

Click this image to watch a video about the NHANES survey.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Health Examination  Survey (NHANES – Check out this informational video), researchers compared data from 1988-1994 for our parents’ generation and data from 2007-2010 for the boomers. This means that they were examining health data from similar age groups. The results are dramatic.

Some of the Findings

  • In the older generation, 32% the those surveyed reported excellent health, while only 13.2% of boomers reported excellent health.
  • Obesity was more common in the boomer generation.
  • Regular exercise was less frequent in boomers’ lives.
  • Hypertension was more common in boomers with 43% reporting the condition, but only 36% of their parents reported hypertension at the same age.         Continue reading