Kids today with their selfies and their Snapchats and… their love of literature! Millennials, like each generation that was young before them, tend to attract all kinds of ire from their elders for being superficial, self-obsessed, anti-intellectuals. But a recent study from the Pew Research Center offers some vindication. Millennials are reading more books than the over-30 crowd, Pew found in a survey of more than 6,000 Americans. Beat that with a stick. Read all about it… in this article in The Atlantic.
Some people suffer incipient dementia as they get older, according to researchers at the University of Santiago de Compostela. To make up for this loss, the brain's cognitive reserve is put to the test. These Santiagan scientists have studied which factors can help to improve this ability and they concluded that having a higher level of vocabulary is one such factor. No word on whether it’s better for your new words to be in Spanish, but que no sería malo (It couldn't hurt)!
Bereavement affects a person’s immune system, and the impact varies as we grow older, say researchers in this PsychCentral.com posting. “During the difficult weeks and months after loss we can suffer from reduced neutrophil function,” says Dr. Anna Phillips of Birmingham University, U.K. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that helps fight off infections, particularly those caused by bacteria and fungi.
As societies grow more prosperous, people live longer. And because on the whole they no longer need children to look after them in their dotage – throughout much of human history, nature’s form of social safety net – those societies grow more selfish and have fewer kids. Or so says this recent article in The London Telegraph.
These same trends happen in all societies. For America, however, the trend is made worse by the post-war baby boom, which created a giant demographic bulge of people now 50+. In most respects, this should be seen as a triumph of human advancement.
“Life Begins a Forty” said American psychologist Walter Pitkin in his self-help tome of that title. Note to Walter: In Philly a lot of good stuff kicks in a decade or so later. And we’re not just talking movie/ theatre discounts, free bus rides, etc.
Coming of Age has received funding from the Council on Compulsive Gambling in Pennsylvania to present two pilots of a new iteration of our Explore Your Future program. This new version will give participants a unique opportunity to consider "what's next" in their lives, what a mindful risk is, and the importance of active engagement. The Philly pilot site will be selected and announced here next month.
The idea that no one is perfect is a view most commonly held by people with no grandchildren. ~Doug Larson
The blurb you are reading is for those who would like to spend more time with those embodiments of perfection, their grandchildren. Whether the challenge is geographic or caused by other constraints, here are some tips:
Web it. According to Amy Harmon, the biggest boon to geographically-challenged grandparents is the web cam. Many grandparents schedule regular visits with young grandchildren at which time they read books or hold tea parties. The iPhone’s FaceTime feature is even more convenient though prone to the occasional facial distortion.
Tell stories. Beth Sanders, author of the Memory Journal, suggests storytelling via letter or telephone calls and vacations.
And the livin' is easy... leastways that's what the Gershwin brothers said. So we're taking a cue from George and Ira and a break from workshops and panels and publishing Inspiring Opportunities.
What are we spending the summer doing? Readying new curricula, planning for more work with our fair state's area agencies on aging, and writing grants to support some exciting new older adult civic engagement projects.
We'll be back... when they days (start to) grow short.
It’s been a banner year for Coming of Age (we do the July to June fiscal thing) in Philadelphia, the region, state and on the national scene. To wit:
Philly-wise. We presented both of our signature programs— our four-session workshop series “Explore Your Future” for individuals at the Philly AARP office— and two Philadelphia Foundation-sponsored “Capturing the Energy and Expertise of People Age 50+” Learning Labs on Temple’s main campus. Worked with Temple University staff contemplating retirement to help them plan their futures.
And while you’re still thinking road trip, ponder this: Delphi Automotive Systems did a study back in 1999 to determine why almost everyonesings in the car; the study concluded that it was an emotional transformer used while people did something stressful and unpleasant: drive.
The article about the study goes on to say that when we get in the car and drive along to the oldies, we actually transport ourselves into a different state of mind. This state of mind, described perfectly by the inimitable Joyce Wadler in Keeping It on the Road, is probably why road trips exist (See above).
Wishing you a snazzy sports car, the perfect soundtrack and a rare day in June (then, if ever come perfect days, remember!).