The brains of a select group of elderly people called “SuperAgers” look very different from many of their peers, according to a recently published study.
The SuperAgers were picked to be studied because all were over age 80 and had the memory capability of a person 20 to 30 years their junior according the study published in last month’s Journal of Neurology.
Understanding their unique "brain signature" will enable scientists to decipher the genetic or molecular source and may foster the development of strategies to protect the memories of normal aging persons as well as treat dementia. More info here
Shortly before he retired last summer, our former National Director Dick Goldberg got around to doing all the Explore Your FUTURE exercises (after presenting the program over 20 times around the country!). The following, published last month in the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s Milestones, was the upshot:
In 2004, when I became director of the national age 50+ civic engagement initiative, Coming of Age, I was asked to develop a program to help people plan engaged retirements. “Why?” I asked. “People have been planning their retirements forever without help.”And then I tried some of the exercises under consideration. One took me on a guided visualization that beckoned my subconscious to draw a picture of what my next chapter might look like.
We’re launching a new iteration of our four-session Explore Your FUTURE program that will include responsible gambling education. Whether you’re retired, want to explore unmet dreams, go back to school, or give back to your community, the Explore Your FUTURE workshop is for you! The program includes a range of proven techniques and activities for self-discovery for people age 50+.
There will be two pilot presentations of this new version— one in Philadelphia and the other in suburban Pittsburgh. The Philadelphia pilot will be presented at St. Anne’s Senior Community Center (Catholic Health Care Services - Community Based Services for Seniors) 2607 E. Cumberland Street on April 8, 15, 22, and 29, starting at 1:30 PM. For more information call 215-426-9799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 7,500 older adults throughout the country have participated in Explore Your FUTURE programs.
Did you miss getting your Inspiring Opportunities in December and January? We hope so (not that we want to cause discomfort, but we like the idea of being missed).
The Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning, our principal founder, moved from the university’s College of Health Professions and Social Work to the College of Education; and as result, a few things needed to be put on hold, including some Coming of Age activities.
But we’re back in the saddle, with some new activities. To wit:
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.