Election Could Profoundly Affect Older Adults

For all of us who are fifty and older, the 2020 elections – at the national, state, and local levels could profoundly affect our lives. All of us need to know where candidates stand on specific issues such as the protection of Social Security and Medicare, health care and drug costs, COVID-19, racial inequality, the economy, social issues, immigration, crime, taxes, and climate change, among others. It is important for us to look beyond the promises any candidate makes. We’ve got to closely examine not only what a candidate claims but their credibility, their history, the evidence they use for…

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Cat Naps Aren’t Enough as We Age

Feel like you need a cat nap most afternoons? If so, it is possible that you aren’t getting the sleep your body needs. You may have heard that as we age, we need less sleep. However, the National Institute on Aging reports that as we age, we continue to need seven to nine hours of sleep to function well. Life Goes Better with a Good Night’s Sleep A good night’s sleep can help us be our best in a number of ways. A good night’s sleep can “boost” our mood and support our metabolism. Quality sleep can support tissue repair…

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Defining Ourselves in an Ageist Culture

As I subscribe to the PBS Encore.org notifications, I received information about an opportunity to submit a response to The American Portrait experience questions: (1) Does age or life stage define you? And (2) How are you using this time in your life to create a better future? I found that defining myself as an older person in an ageist culture was complicated.Age and Life Stage: Do They Define Us? My initial response to the first question was that neither age nor stage defines me. But the more I thought about it, the more nuanced my response became.  I am…

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“Elderly” is Not a Neutral Term

Shame on Writers Who Refer to Us as Elderly I’m truly tired of seeing headlines that refer to active, older adults as “elderly.” Even the style guide for the American Medical Association now recommends against using that pejorative term. Recently, I saw an article that Time.com ran using the term “elderly” to describe a seventy-five-year-old protester. Other publications referred to the protester as “older.” I contacted the editors at Time magazine about the recent article describing a protester as elderly.  I mentioned that the style guide for the American Medical Association advised against using the term “elderly” because it stereotyped groups…

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Health-Span and Environment

Numerous studies have indicated that where we live affects our longevity. Our environment can also affect the number of years we live free of major chronic conditions (our health-span). One study suggests that most people will live about 20% of their lives with chronic conditions but that lifestyle can influence the number of healthy years we enjoy.  Our activity levels, our social engagement, our overall environment, availability of fresh food, and our access to healthcare are some of the factors that influence health-span. However, even if we lengthen our health-span, it is inevitable (unless we experience sudden death) that we…

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Strengthening Relationships with Technology

When I was still teaching, I noticed that many of my students had difficulty separating themselves from their phones. As I taught communication skills (including listening and interpersonal communication), we had plenty of discussions in class about ways in which the overuse of technology can supplant healthy relationship building. I even knew of students who broke off serious romantic engagements by sending a text message.Misuse and overuse of technology can limit our ability to connect with others in meaningful ways. However, technology can enhance our relationship with others and allow us to stay connected in new ways. Here are three…

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Want Personal or Professional Growth? Lifelong Learning Opportunities Are Plentiful for Those Over 50

In 2015, Doreetha Daniels received her associate degree in social sciences from the College of the Canyons at the age of 99 years old. She earned her degree because she wanted to fulfill a dream of getting an education and to “better herself.” Gone are the days when learning was often thought of as something young people were obliged to do. Now we know that lifelong learning can be enjoyable and increase our sense of confidence and well-being. Further, it can potentially help keep us sharp and engaged as we age. Amazing Free Learning Opportunities Fortunately, we are living in…

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