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…

Continue Reading Our Sleep Quality Matters as We Age

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…

Continue Reading Promoting a Message of Competence

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…

Continue Reading Communicating Age Stereotyping through Elderspeak

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…

Continue Reading We Must Manage Stroke Risks as We Age

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…

Continue Reading Movement Matters as We Age

Technological Change Requires Constant Adaptation

Just a couple of decades ago, it wasn’t hard to find a phone booth whenever needed. Most young people today have never seen a phone booth. Like it or not, the world that we once knew is rapidly changing. We can either adapt and continue to learn, or we can lock ourselves inside the comfort of those secure booths from our past.After giving a presentation on ageism and intergenerational communication to an audience of mostly older adults, one woman asked me how she could communicate with younger people if all they wanted to do is to communicate through emails and…

Continue Reading Technological Change Requires Constant Adaptation

The Environment is Our Legacy

When many of us who are 50+ were growing up, we weren’t informed about the human impact on our environment or our climate. We have now moved into a new era of awareness.It might be easy for some younger people with today’s knowledge to blame older generations (e.g., “O.K. Boomers”) for damaging our environment and contributing to climate change. And yes, as climate champions like sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg have suggested, the actions of older generations have adversely affected the planet.  While I agree with her and other young people that our generations have helped to create a serious problem, for…

Continue Reading The Environment is Our Legacy

Active Listening: A Priceless Gift You Can Give

The holiday season is here. During the next couple of weeks, many of us may have opportunities to see family members and perhaps grandchildren or nieces and nephews that we don’t get to see all that often. When we don’t see some family members on a regular basis—especially some of the younger ones—it can be challenging to connect in a meaningful way during those short holiday gatherings. However, there is a relatively effective way to connect with both the younger and older members in our families.Listening is Not About Being Quiet We can engage in premeditated, active listening behaviors. It sounds…

Continue Reading Active Listening: A Priceless Gift You Can Give

Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Quality of Life

It may happen so gradually that you don’t notice any changes. You might even feel a bit irritated when people around you ‘mumble’ or talk so quietly you can’t understand what they are saying.Maybe hearing loss isn’t something that has been on your radar, but it is something that will affect at least a third of people by the time they are 65+.  WebMD states that two-thirds of people over 70 have some hearing loss. It isn’t just the hearing loss that should concern all of us. Rather, the effects of hearing loss are what we need to consider.Hearing Loss…

Continue Reading Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Quality of Life

DNA Testing: The Gift that Keeps Giving

Several years ago, my sister bought me a subscription for DNA testing through 23andMe.com. After receiving my DNA kit and submitting a saliva sample by mail, I received online results.I learned more about my genetic heritage and a lot more about my potential genetic risk for certain diseases or health issues. Periodically, I get notifications about distant (and some not-so-distant) relatives who have indicated they are open for contact.  Fortunately for me, my profile didn’t suggest that I was at high risk for any particular disease or health issue.DNA home testing kits provide us with connections to our past and…

Continue Reading DNA Testing: The Gift that Keeps Giving