Dreams Deferred: Why Not Now?

Too Old? Karen loved learning when she was younger. She earned a bachelor’s degree and applied her knowledge as she worked her way up to an executive leadership position in a large corporation. Now she is retired and regrets not having gone to graduate school before starting her career. When asked why she didn’t go back to school now, she says, “I’m too old!” Chris is still working but needs to hang onto his job for another three years before he can leave his current employer. He feels like the proverbial “cog in the wheel” and wishes he had followed…

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Voices of Mature Women Matter

Voices of Mature Women Matter: Women's History MonthIt is Women’s History Month. Last Sunday, March 8th was International Women’s Day. Along with several other women from our area, I attended “Women and Words: Celebrating Creativity.” The celebration began with a chorus singing about the power of women’s voices. Then women from the Southern Oregon Women Writer’s Group read their poems and stories honoring women’s lives and their often-unspoken truths.  These readers were mature women who communicated the kind of wisdom and insight that typically takes years to earn—if ever.After the final reading, all of us rose to our feet and…

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Memory Changes, Aging, and Lifestyle

If you can’t remember a familiar word, if you can’t remember where you put your glasses, or if you can’t remember what you were looking for when you entered another room, it doesn’t mean you’re developing dementia. Yet many of us fear that any change in how our minds function could be a sign of a major problem. In the National Poll on Healthy Aging involving adults from 50 to 64, nearly half felt they were likely to develop dementia as they age. However, research suggests that the majority of us will not develop significant cognitive impairment. What’s Normal? It…

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Creating Community Conversations

In November, I applied for an Oregon Humanities Conversation Project. I wanted to bring groups together around a common topic as a way to address stereotypes based on age. I did get an interview and drove Portland (about three hours north from where I live) to participate. The three younger women who conducted the interview were great. A couple of weeks later, I learned my project proposal wasn’t selected. Nonetheless, the experience was very positive. I also realized I could develop my own conversation projects. Age Stereotyping Conversation Last night I spoke to a community group of older women (mostly…

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Fake News We Can Refuse to Share

Last week, I posted some information about a “fake news” study that wanted boomer participants. Because of my training as a researcher and debate coach, I felt as though I was fairly good at detecting phony stories. However, I do know that I can always learn more. In the past few days, I have become increasingly more aware of the range of questionable news that is really saturating social media. What is Fake News and How Much is Reposted? Cambridge online dictionary defines “fake” news as “false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other…

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Hidden Treasure: What We Carry with Us

I recently read a 2017 qualitative study that involved 1849 women over the age of fifty who shared their views on aging. One of the findings that stood out for me was that all of the participants claimed they “still felt young on the inside and often experienced shock when they looked in the mirror and saw the reflection of an older woman.” At the same time, many of these women expressed frustration because their “intelligence, experience, and wisdom gained from [their] vast experience was no longer a valued commodity by corporate America or by the young.” Others expressed the…

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How to Make Your Future Self Happy

Many of our more youthful behaviors may have had long term consequences we didn’t consider. We may have worked too many stressful hours, put off saving, ate too much junk food, drank too much, and ignored medical advice. At one time, we may have felt as though we were invincible. But now some of us might be paying the price for the years we may have lived with reckless abandon. If only we could go back in time and tell our younger selves to be a bit more kind to the older version of ourselves. Know What You Need to…

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Seeking Advocates and Activists for Positive Aging

About four years ago, I read Ashton Applewhite’s This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. That’s about the time I became keenly aware of how ageism was affecting my life and the lives of others around me.Ageism or discriminatory or stereotypical treatment based on age has been linked to various health issues including depression, stress, and heart problems. It has also been associated with a shorter lifespan. In addition, it is estimated that ageist treatment costs Americans and an additional $63 billion per year in health costs. None of us should tolerate ageist treatment. (To read more about the effects…

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Elder Force: Our Power by The Numbers

We have a great deal of power, but we face a huge threat that collectively we must address! Those of us who are fifty or over represent over one-third of the population in the United States. In some communities, the percentage of those fifty and over is much higher.  When it comes to our influence at the polls, our portion of the pie is even greater. Overall, we are healthier and living longer than any generation before us. We also control the majority of household wealth in the United States. Collectively, we represent a very powerful demographic with a lot…

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Countering Loneliness with Intention

A Pew Research study suggests that the older we get, the more likely it is that we’ll spend an increasing amount of our time alone.  A March 19, 2019, Time Magazine article reported that one in three seniors are at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, and depression because of loneliness. Not surprisingly, holidays can be particularly hard for seniors who feel isolated or are widowed. One Widow’s Strategy for Countering Loneliness During Holidays My eighty-something neighbor, Sally, has been a widow for several years. Unlike some other people who struggle with holidays because of loneliness, my neighbor looks forward…

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