Positive aging involves informed choices. This blog often offers research-based insights, experiences, and guest opinions.

Over Fifty: Reset Your Health and Well-Being

At the beginning of each new year, more people set goals to lose weight, change habits, or improve their lives than probably any other time of the year. For those of us who are on the south side of fifty, it is more important than ever to make sure we are doing all we can to take care of ourselves. Let’s face it, as we age, we are at greater risk of facing serious health-related consequences if we neglect our health and well-being. Key Behaviors for Health and Well-Being As summarized in a Well and Good article, experts generally agree…

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Long-Term Stress, Consequences, and Management

If adapting to the pandemic over the past several months hasn’t been enough, 24-7 news coverage of deaths, sickness, and economic ruin could discourage even the most positive among us. In addition to dealing with the pandemic, we’ve been mired in one of the ugliest political seasons in decades. We also had devastating fires and storms toward the end of the summer. And then, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, we witnessed in real-time an unthinkable attack on the U.S. Capitol.If you have been feeling more than a little stressed lately, you’re not alone. However, how we cope…

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Elder-Wise: Honoring the Past, Present, & Future

The late Civil Rights activist and Congressman John Lewis reminded readers in his book, Across That Bridge, that what anyone hopes to accomplish will likely not be new. We build on the past and learn from the elders who have laid the foundation for the future. As older adults, we have the wisdom to know that we have benefited from those who have come before us. Many of the skills and knowledge we have developed were ones that have been passed from one generation to the next—whether it is the pleasurable act of reading, playing a musical instrument, or solving…

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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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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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