Will You Become a Super-Ager ?

My grandmother was a super-ager. My dad caught her trying to bust up concrete with a sledgehammer when she was in her eighties. He scolded her for her “foolish” behavior. But my grandmother was used to being physically active. She also remained mentally engaged until two months before she died at age ninety-six, outliving her son. Super-agers: Cognitive and Physical Functioning A super-ager is someone who is at least in their seventies and has the cognitive functioning of an average middle-aged person. “Normally aging adults lose roughly 2.24 percent in brain volume per year, but the super-agers lost around 1.06 percent.…

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100-Years-Old and Dementia-Free?

Have you noticed that more and more people are living into their nineties and even to 100 and beyond? Recently, I read that beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary was 104 when she died last week. According to a March 3, 2021, New York Times article, there are approximately 92,000 people in the United States who are over 100-years old living today. The number of centenarians in this country has grown by 44% since 2000. The Census Bureau projects this special group of people will be six times higher within the next forty years. Will You Live to Be 100? My…

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Communication Matters: Hospitals & Older Adults

Many of us may be convinced that we’ll never be confined to a hospital bed; however, that probably isn’t too realistic. Mark Lachs, MD, author of Treat Me Not My Age: A Doctor’s Guide to Getting The Best Care As You Or A Loved One Gets Older, claims it is almost impossible to live a long life without ending up in the hospital at least once as we age. He also explains that good healthcare communication is an integral part of our ongoing care. Further, he emphasizes that we all have a responsibility to make sure that we get vital…

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Poor Sleep quality Can Lead to Health Problems

The majority of us will shift to daylight saving time this Sunday, March 14th. As a result of this change, we’ll immediately enjoy more natural light later in the day and into the evening. The downside is that this change can disrupt our normal sleep patterns—patterns that may have already become fragmented with age.  As older adults, we are often more sensitive to our sleep environments or may have chronic conditions that interfere with our sleep. Possible Immediate Consequences Some may believe that older people need less sleep. But according to Sleep Education, most older adults need seven to nine…

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Aging, Location, and Available Medical Care

I’ve touted the benefits of living in a relaxed, rural environment on more than one occasion. Living in Southern Oregon for the past 17 years after spending most of my life near Portland, Oregon, has given me a new appreciation for a less complicated life. We don’t have big city traffic. The abundance of recreational opportunities is mind-blowing. The value of our house is about half of what it would be in Portland. And, we have a strong sense of community. But what we don’t necessarily have is the availability of complex medical care. Do You Know Your Risks? My…

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A Retirement Life of Leisure Isn’t a Long-term Plan

Imagine knowing that you could have 20-30 years or more ahead of you once you retire from your career. After devoting a good portion of your life to your career, you might be looking forward to kicking back and relaxing for a while. However, a life of leisure can get old pretty fast. Within less than two years, most people become bored when they don’t have any sense of direction. My guess is that you don’t want to spend up to half of your available leisure time for the rest of your life sitting in a recliner and watching television.…

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Hospitalization: A Helpful Read Before Experiencing It

Most all of us will end up experiencing at least one hospitalization—especially as we get older. Any hospitalization can be disorienting, but knowing a little about how to prepare and how the system operates may help us reduce the likelihood that the communication ‘ball’ gets dropped or that a medical error occurs. Reading books written by doctors who specialize in care for older adults has been eye-opening. One that helped me understand age-biases in medicine was Elderhood by Louise Aronson, M.D. One of the books I am currently reading is Treat Me, Not My Age: A Doctor’s Guide to Getting…

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Retirement Reality Therapy: Be Prepared

  What most people don’t realize, is that preparing for our best lives post-career can take a lot of planning and effort. David Borchard, author of The Joy of Retirement explains that one of the difficulties many of us face when trying to embrace our next life chapter is that it takes a lot of work. That work includes letting go, picturing our next life, and developing new behaviors. Before leaving my career as an associate professor of communication, I studied and became a certified professional retirement coach. I didn’t necessarily plan to do one-on-one coaching, but I did want to…

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Labeled: “The Elderly” Now Includes Anyone 50+?

A 2020 Oregon State University study found that the negative stereotypes people internalized about aging had a major influence on how they visualized their older selves. “People need to realize that some of the negative health consequences in later life might not be biologically driven. The mind and body are all interwoven.” Given the negative messages about aging that are constantly bombarding us, it is certainly challenging to avoid internalizing such views.  As some researchers have suggested, younger adults tend to be thought of as members of the “in-group” in our culture. Once individuals are no longer perceived as young,…

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Rediscovering Life After Retirement

I now take time to sit down and enjoy breakfast with my husband each morning. When I was teaching, we only sat down and ate breakfast together on weekends and during scheduled breaks. Now it is a simple ritual, a simple joy. Sometimes we even linger after eating and watch birds from our dining window feasting on seeds we'd left for them. When I take our dog for a walk around a nearby pond, I want to take in everything I see - the water, the ducks on the pond, the winding paths, the contrasting colors and various textures that…

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