Looking Back, Looking Forward, Offering Hope

In less than one week, 2020 will be behind us. Most all of us will be relieved when the clock strikes midnight and 2021 begins. Yet for those of us who have been around for at least 50, 60, or 70+ years, we know that while we have reason to be hopeful, it will take time for meaningful change to take place.  With our hindsight, an increased ability to see a better future, and our ability to adapt, we have a significant role to play as our country starts a long journey towards healing. Looking back, Looking Forward A Pandemic…

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Poetry: Well-Being, Mental Stimulation & Connection

Some recent studies have suggested that poetry can improve well-being and benefit our memories. “When a person reads or listens to poetry, MRIs have shown that certain regions in the brain’s right hemisphere that are linked to reward and emotion light up” after being activated. Results from other MRI studies have revealed that poetry can help support our memory.As reported in a 2007 Issues in Mental Health Nursing journal from the University of Tennessee, writing poetry as a form of creativity can be particularly beneficial as we age. Based on a study involving older adults, findings suggested that writing poetry…

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Aging and The Beauty of Community

For many of us, the holiday season—typically a time of family and social gatherings—is shaping up as an experience like no other. Some of us in the neighborhood wondered if we even wanted to bother with outside decorations. Due to the pandemic, many of us who are older aren’t planning on having any company. But then just a day after Thanksgiving, some of our neighbors started stringing lights on their homes and setting up deer, snowmen, even a grinch or two on their lawns. Within about a week, our block started looking like Disneyland at night. Why were we all…

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Grab a Coat: Outdoor Exercise Offers Health Benefits

I can’t believe that just a little over a month ago, I was still wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts when taking afternoon walks. For the past week, I’ve been wearing a wool hat, gloves, and a coat when heading outdoors. If it is raining, I also carry an umbrella.  No matter what the weather, I do try to take walks as often as possible because of the added health benefits being outdoors offers. A Mood Enhancer According to a Harvard Medical School article, spending time outside can lighten our mood, help us relax, and decrease depression. Let’s face it, this…

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A Holiday Reminder: We Must Stay Vigilant

I had planned to write about resiliency today. Research suggests that as we get older, we tend to develop more resiliency. We’ve learned a few things and know how to pick ourselves up and move forward. Often, resilience involves pain or loss. Today, I learned that one of my cousins—someone only a few years older than I am—died in the hospital from COVID. I just saw on PBS News that nearly 80% of COVID deaths involve individuals 65+. My cousin learned that he had the virus about a week ago. Two days ago, he was put on a ventilator. Now…

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Perceptions about Aging: Our Choices

  Research is very clear about the importance of embracing a positive attitude towards aging. With a positive mental attitude, we are more likely to live longer, healthier lives. A recent report even suggested that we are less likely to experience memory loss when maintaining a positive attitude.  However, how others perceive us as we age can affect how we see ourselves. At the same time, how we choose to see and present ourselves as we age also influences how others perceive us. Social Perceptions about Aging Over 100 years ago, sociologist Charles Cooley introduced his Looking Glass Self Theory.…

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S.A.G.E. – Bridging the Gap Between Generations

  Written by Beryl Katz, the following article describes a nonprofit program the author was instrumental in helping develop that helps connect older adults with school-aged children. This article has been lightly edited for brevity and requirements for our site.  Twenty-one years ago, as a parent at a school board meeting, I saw two distinct groups of people: parents who wanted the best education for their children and older adults who did not want higher taxes. As a  mother, a former English teacher, and taxpayer, I sat there an idea began forming in my mind. Why not bring in older community members as volunteers making them…

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A Smile and the Positive Influence of Elders

While walking around our local pond this morning, I passed an older couple near my age walking their dog. As I was passing (from a COVID-safe distance), the man said, “I appreciate your PMA!” I asked the man (whose name I later learned was Greg) what he meant by PMA. He stopped and told me it referred to a positive mental attitude. He’d observed that I was smiling. As an elder woman, I have learned that smiling is a simple, yet powerful act that frequently opens opportunities to connect with people. However, I don’t intentionally practice having a positive mental…

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Resilience is Key for Positive Aging

Less than two weeks ago, I was able to enjoy morning walks wearing sleeveless tank tops. Most afternoons, I could still wear shorts while working in the yard or taking hikes. Early last week, we had our first frost and have had several frosty mornings since then. As much as I wanted to continue basking in the early autumn sun, that season is quickly coming to an end. This morning, I adapted to the cooler weather by wearing a sweatshirt, a heavy coat, and winter gloves. I even put the dog’s coat on him before taking our walk. It felt…

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Letting Go, Embracing a New Season

Our local weather station reports that temperatures in our area may dip to near freezing tonight. I was still wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts last week. This morning I wore a sweatshirt and long pants when I went for a walk. I plan to put an extra blanket on the bed tonight. Change happens. Seasons Change. Life changes. We can usually manage change when we learn to embrace it. It Was a Season of Freedom About thirty-five years ago, I started running. I was never the fastest person on foot, but I enjoyed participating in “fun” runs and having the…

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