Our Sleep Quality Matters as We Age

You may have heard that we don’t need as much sleep when we get older. It is true that as we age, we tend to get either less sleep or experience poorer sleep quality. But according to the Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep we need generally doesn’t change throughout adulthood. Why We Might Not Sleep as Well as We Get Older According to Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist, and author of Successful Aging, our biological clock that helps us sleep generally becomes less efficient as we age. He explains that the blue light available during the day helps our system release…

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Confidence Comes with Constant Learning

Because we live in a youth-centric culture, it is not surprising that we are constantly bombarded with negative messages about getting older. If we accept ageist messages about being less competent as we age, it can become like a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we haven’t done certain things for a long period of time, we may convince ourselves that we no longer have the ability to do what we could once do. When we cannot quickly learn something such as new technology, we may want to give up and believe that we are no longer capable of learning something new. Or,…

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Promoting a Message of Competence

Because older individuals are often stereotyped as frail, feeble, and incompetent, it should be no surprise that thieves and other thugs might believe that neighborhoods, where a lot of older people live, should be good targets. I live in such a neighborhood where many of us are older. This morning at 4:00 a.m., a would-be thief brazenly opened my neighbor's gate and walked into the side door to his garage. The light in the garage was on because my neighbor was already up working on a project. My neighbor saw the intruder and chased him on foot down the street…

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What the Elders Knew about Treating Colds

Sometimes I hear younger people discounting some of the wisdom and knowledge that generations that had come before them had learned. I used to think my parents and especially my grandparents were old-fashioned and couldn’t possibly offer anything useful that my generation didn’t already know. My great grandmother, who had grown up in a remote area on a farm, learned to rely on a few home remedies that she no doubt had learned from her elders. One of these old remedies has been used for literally thousands of years and is now recognized as a potential treatment for the common…

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Women Over Fifty: New Realities, New Opportunities

Women tend to live longer than men. According to the Social Security Administration, about one out of every three adults who are already sixty-five or older will live into their nineties. What women need to know is that how we live and plan before we reach our final decades will have a lot to do with how we experience them. Your Balance At about fifty, most women start experiencing menopause. Yes, this can mean hot flashes and other changes as our hormones fluctuate. It can also mean that our bones become more fragile. A 2018 Science Daily article reports that…

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Positive Aging Role Models are Easy to Find

 One of my goals for Boomer Best U is to promote positive aging. What better way to do this than to find examples of people who are living their best lives after fifty? Feature Articles in the Monthly Newsletter Today I sent out my 10th monthly Boomer Best U newsletter. In addition to typical newsletter content like announcements or short informational pieces, I include a feature article about someone who embraces positive aging. When I write the feature stories, I either conduct a face-to-face interview or send questions by email. Then I develop a draft of the story that I…

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Communicating Age Stereotyping through Elderspeak

  What is Elderspeak? Elderspeak is a form of ageism or stereotyping based on age. It is a particular way some younger adults speak to older adults. For example, someone using elderspeak might use a ‘singsong’ tone, or speak louder and talk more slowly when interacting with an older adult. Or, they might use simple vocabulary as though talking with a young child and combine it with patronizing terms like “dearie” or “sweetie” or using “we” rather than “you” when asking a question. I live in a rural community were terms of endearment such as “honey” or “sweetie” are frequently…

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We Must Manage Stroke Risks as We Age

One evening after my husband had turned 65, he noticed some numbness and tingling on the right side of his body. At first, he thought he’d sat in his chair too long. But after trying to get up and moving around, he noticed his balance was off. We didn’t recognize it at first, but he was having a stroke. After he got to the hospital, we were advised that not only did my husband have a stroke, but he’d also experienced an earlier one. A few months earlier, my husband thought he was having a stroke, but he was assessed…

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Generational Differences and Mutual Respect

I hadn’t noticed that a huge generational shift had taken place until I was in my early 50s and interviewing for a new job. Because of the background I could bring to positions that interested me and because I had strong interview skills, I always assumed that I had a good shot at most jobs for which I was appropriately qualified. But then everything changed. When I applied for a full-time teaching position in communication, younger people on interview panels weren’t all that interested in hiring me. It wasn’t until I met with an interview panel in a rural area…

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Movement Matters as We Age

Twyla Tharp is seventy-eight years old. In her book, Keep it Moving, she says “the older we get, the more we should commit to physical activity.” Staying active, she explains is how we can slow down “the diminishment of our strength and agility, our bone density, our muscle mass, our elasticity, [and] our recovery time.” Tharp undoubtedly knows what she’s talking about. She is considered a leading creative artist of our time as a former dancer and a dance choreographer for some of the best-known ballet companies in the world. She continues a rigorous exercise routine and a fast-paced event…

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