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Don't Take My Wheels!
According to Census projections, the number of boomers reaching 65 will increase exponentially from 39 million today to 69 million in 2030, raising the question, among others, of how long people should be allowed to drive. Individual states are considering programs that will allow older adults to keep driving as long as possible without endangering themselves or others. AARP and other advocates call age-based testing discriminatory and ineffective and want to see ability rather than age used as the criterion. As we know, taking driving away from an active adult is never easy...and, what happens when the car keys are yours?
Memory...Use it or Lose it
"Use it or lose it"...it's an axiom that we've all heard when talking about sports, foreign languages, a new computer program and now...our memories. A recent paper by two economists, "Mental Retirement," suggests that if people want to preserve their memory and reasoning abilities, they should reconsider early retirement. Those who stay in the work environment longer, test better on mental abilities. But, what about the workplace actually creates the positive effect...stimulating work, social interaction, aerobic activities, or something else? To read more, click here.
, a Swedish sociologist, has been studying aging
for 25 years and he's coined the term, gerotranscendence
, for the evolution of values and interests as we age. Dr. Tornstam thinks that we make the mistake in middle age of thinking that good aging means continuing to be the way we were at 50. Maybe not. An increased need for solitude or for the company of only a few friends, for example, are traits Dr. Tornstam attributes to a continuing maturation and acquisition of wisdom. To learn more about Tornstam's findings, click
Nobody wants to talk about writing a will. But, if you've gotten past the uncomfortableness of that topic and actually put your decisions about money and property on paper, you might want to consider a second step. Thinking about legacy has led many boomers to consider writing an ethical will. This is a document created for you to share your values and life lessons, passing them on to future generations. To learn about a seminal book on the topic, other resources, and training opportunities around the country, click
And yet another study...this one about the effect of brain exercises on delaying Alzheimer's raises a good news/bad news scenario. While staying mentally active in old age has been shown to slow down the onset of dementia, seniors who engage in brain "exercise" may actually have a faster rate of decline once Alzheimer's is diagnosed. This doesn't mean that a mentally stimulating lifestyle is a bad thing. But, it points to the "cost" of delaying Alzheimer's by keeping the mind active with hobbies, reading, and other stimulating activities. To learn more about this finding, click here
A new study
from the University of California, San Diego, concludes that older adults really are wiser than younger people-- in short, they have wisdom. In part, that's because older brains produce less dopamine so that elders are less impulsive and emotional. And unlike their children and grandchildren, they're more likely to think things through and quickly bounce back from negative moods rather than dwell on depression and anger. Now how can we proudly spread the word to young and old alike?
Being on the cover of AARP magazine
is nothing to scoff at. In fact, Bruce Springsteen, a spry 60, proudly announced from stage recently that he was featured in this magazine --- a publication that has the largest circulation
of all magazines, distributing 24.4 million copies a month. AARP
, a founding partner of Coming of Age
, recognizes the Boomer generation's vigor and success, targeting 46 to 64 year olds with stories and ads that speak to the interests and needs of this primarily college educated, tech savvy, and healthy crowd. Read more in this New York Times article
Getting older has its perks... Researchers at Purdue University
report that older adults feel that they have improved relationships, such as better marriages, more supportive friendships and less conflict with siblings and family members. It seems that as people age, they become better at regulating their emotions when something upsets them, making them less confrontational than younger people. There is also a perception that older people have less time in a relationship and want to make that remaining time as pleasant as possible.
The term "ageism" was coined in 1968 by Robert Butler, a gerontologist who wanted to call attention to the way society discriminates against the old. While he was a great example of the productivity, vigor, and intellectual curiosity of many older adults (working until 3 days before his death at 83), he would not have been a fan of those who think successful aging is acting 20 at the age of 65. This New York Times
article questions whether being as active as you once were is the best measure of successful aging.
In this commentary in the New York Times, the author reflects on his interest in "late bloomers" whose creativity has peaked in their middle to late age. He offers a number of compelling examples: Filmmaker John Huston, Actor/Director Clint Eastwood, Senator Ted Kennedy, and author Joan Didion, to name a few. This homage to second-act aces inspires ... and confirms what we know about how experience, constant experimenting, and perserverance can help creativity emerge during all stages of life.