ADVICE FROM WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST.LOUIS
The Washington quarterly magazine recently came out and included an article on tips for aging that was collected across various disciplines at the University. These ranged from the medical school, psychology department of Arts & Sciences, and the Brown School of Social Work.
Ways Of Aging More Successfully
- Plan Your Life: Carolyn Baum, professor in the School of Occupational Therapy makes a great suggestion that people need to consider creating a “driving retirement program”. What does this mean? It means thinking about living in an area where you have options for transportation other than driving. People need to reflect on what is important to them and how they can continue their lifestyle.
2. Improve Your Memory:
Dr. Balota, professor of psychological and brain sciences in the school of Arts & Sciences, points out that there are different mnemonic techniques that can help us with memory. What they’ve learned is that “practicing and spacing turns out to be really important in laying down memory traces.” This refers to repeating information and doing it again at intervals.
3. Understand Risks: Know that if a parent gets Alzheimer’s Disease after the age of 80 the increased risk for family members greatly decreases.
4. Talk About The Future: Start the conversation early with family members about what your end of life wishes are before you are unable. Dr. Carpenter, professor of psychological and brain sciences in the School of Arts & Sciences makes a good suggestion. He recommends starting the conversation with a broad question. An example would be – “What would matter to you the most if you were near the end of life?”
5. Expect Some Positive Changes: Good news! There is a high probability that as people navigate from middle age to later years that they will experience more positive emotions and less negative emotions.
6. Find Meaning: Psychologists are learning that as people grow older their relationship with time shifts and there is a need to make good use of their time allotment. There are challenges but opportunities as we age and its important to discover what the purpose is of our life. This could take form in work, volunteer, family or hobbies. We just need to stay engaged!
Question Your Assumption 53,364 people in the United States are 100+ as of 2010 according to Glen Ruffenach’s article in the Encore section of today’s Wall Street Journal. Do you think…
Source: Will You Live to 100????
Question Your Assumption
53,364 people in the United States are 100+ as of 2010 according to Glen Ruffenach’s article in the Encore section of today’s Wall Street Journal. Do you think you will fall into that category? Well, that depends on so many variables. According to Ruffenbach, the number of 90+ people in the United States will quadruple during the next four decades. What does this mean for our retirement plans? History shows that people tend to underestimate how long they will actually live. I have friends who have confided in me that their parents never expected to live into their nineties, and were not adequately prepared for the costs that arise in the later stage of life. What’s exciting and kind of fun are the tools that are available today to help you estimate how long you will live. There is even one that will tell you how many years of Quality Life you have left! Not sure I want to know that one! I am on the Board of an organization called Skyline Village Chicago that has a mission to help people live longer lives in their homes by providing assistance when needed, and many opportunities for social engagement. We were given information about another website and tool that I will include in my list below as a resource for you.
- plan yourlifespan.org(created at Northwestern University to help you plan for health events that happen with age)
- HowLongWillI Live?(myabaris.com)
- BlueZones.com(forecasts healthy life expectancy. Click on tools)
I did take advantage of all these resources. Two of my results came up with the same number. One was much higher! I think I’ll stick with the higher one! What is your life expectancy? Do you want to know? It’s a whole other conversation, but it’s a good way to incentivize yourself to think about your future!
How To Maximize Our Later Years
We all know by now that many people are living longer and longer. The major question is how are they living? Are they living better or enjoying the extra bonus years they’ve accumulated? Its been reported that dementia will more than triple in the next 35 years worldwide. Journals on dementia have long maintained that exercising with regularity will help stave off memory loss. Exercise should be something you enjoy so you will do it consistently. This could take form in walking, biking, swimming, dancing or pruning a flowerbed!
Research on Individuals + Brain Scans
UCLA has initiated a new study among 6,000 older people of both sexes that is piggybacking on another study begun in 1989 called The Cardiovascular Health Study. Participants are asked to fill out medical and cognitive testing, and questio0nnaires about their lives and get MRI brain scans. The UCLA Study examined 900 people from a 10 year span who were 65+. They figured out cognitive impairment and an estimate of calories burned based on a weekly participation according to their questionnaires.
Results of Brain Scans
Exciting news! The results show that the top fourth of those who were active on a regular basis showed more “gray matter”. This part of the brain helps with memory and a higher level of thinking. For those who increased their physical activity over a 5 year period there was even more gray matter showing up on the scans. What is most meaningful is that those with more gray matter had a great ongoing result. Five years later their risk of getting Alzheimer’s or having other types of memory loss were diminished by 50%.
Heart Related Benefits
The senior radiology resident at UCLA who headed the study claims that its vital to stay active as we can as we age. He is looking forward to future research which will look at whether calories burned help reduce inflammation or vascular disease. My ophthalmologist always says that “what’s good for the heart is good for the eyes”. So, working out at something you love could help with your future eyesight, too.
You may be wondering what is the exact amount of exercise you need to do to get results! This is not set in stone yet, but the study showed the people experiencing positive results were either dancing or biking a few times weekly. Raji, the senior resident asserts, ” If we want to live a long time, but also keep our memories, our basic selves intact, keep moving.”
Part Two – How Technology Will Assist Us
Housing is an issue that causes concern for all of us. Aging parents as well as ourselves realize that there are obstacles to remaining in our homes. However, research shows that most people prefer to stay put in their homes as they age. SO – technology to the rescue. Currently, there are smart homes being created that allow homeowners to control thermostats, have meals heated or cooked some other way by pressing a button! There are refrigerators that will be able to monitor or inventory what food is available and what needs to be replenished. Other items that are now available to make life easier for older people include the Roomba vacuum and the Amazon Echo which through voice activation can allow people to order deliveries to their home and check their calendars! Alternatively, internet based companies are creating processes that alert humans to people needing help doing household chores such as laundry and cleaning.
Technology and Our Health
The Internet of Things will create greater opportunities for older people and their families to cope with changing health issues and remain healthier by helping them track medications, doctor appointments and stay on top of health related issues. There will be the opportunity to have lifestyle tracked which can provide important information to physicians by noting if an older people has changed their sleeping habits or skipping meals. Devices will also be able to report vital information such as blood glucose levels and weight. There will be clothiIng created that will utilize technology to gather information about activity levels and heart rates. Carpet will enclose detectors which can tell if a person has started shuffling their gait or fallen. Robots will also be seen as part of the landscape as they roam the home checking on an older person or even talking to them during the day or at night!
The Downside of Technology
The Internet of Things will have a cost associated with it and give one pause for thought on putting money aside for these new fangled contraptions(a saying from my Dad!) Also, people and companies that care for older people will have to integrate these systems into their program. The upside is that all this new technology will allow us to grow older with our own vision of what that means. For most of us, retaining our independence is most important. I would be willing to bet that given the choice, many people will opt for being able to have an older life that is more than just adding more years to your life. We can all live longer and live better lives!!
How Do We Put More Life In Our Lives?
Most baby boomers today will live much longer than prior generations and the trick to enjoying what some are now referring to as the “bonus years” is to think about how you want to create a stimulating and satisfying life. For most people this will translate into how can I lead a meaningful life, stay connected to friends and family, and maintain an independent lifestyle? The Encore section of the Wall Street Journal answered that question with one word: Technology!
The Internet of Things
The article references something called the “Internet of Things” that will be available to older people and enable them to stay connected, work at leisure, and, maintain a heathy lifestyle. They envision a new on-line service demand industry that will have items in ones home talking to one another. For example, a kitchen appliance will be able to keep tabs on what a person is eating and send the info on to their doctor, people will be assisted in ordering up services they need such as house cleaning to drivers for rides. Clothing will also be constructed that will help people manage and motivate themselves! There will be bumps in the road and some of these are cost and loss of privacy. It seems that the price of these conveniences are well worth the value that they can bring by fashioning a new type of lifestyle that will allow older people to grow older with gusto!
Our New Bonus Career
Technology being developed will only pave the way for those baby boomers who want to work part time or from home. There is a multitude of online classes that promote learning and interview skills. Peer-to-peer companies are mentioned as options for those wanting to connect by offering services. Airbnb, a company that allows one to rent out their home currently reports that 10% of their hosts are 60+!
Maintaining Connections With Friends and Family
Skype and FaceTime already allow boomers to see their grandkids if they live halfway across the country! It is predicted that social media will become more specialized in the future. .. Connected Living, Inc., is an example of an online community that serves to connect older people living in retirement communities with each other and their families. Commercials for online dating services like Our-Time.com are up and running and cater to over 2 million people who are over the age of 50. What I find fascinating is the idea of using augmented glasses in the future. These glasses will enable one to be reminded by virtual messages in their glasses of friends kids names, or what they talked about the last time they saw each other!
More next time about how technology will transform our homes and our healthcare!
Amazing Brazilian Law
Okay. I admit that this picture is not taken in Brazil. However, it was taken in China where they do revere older people! So, that is my justification for its inclusion. Today in the Wall Street Journal I happened upon an article that was fascinating. It was a story about a Brazilian law that actually caters to the older population. They describe the behavior of a man aged 72, who was tired of waiting in line at an ATM machine, and decided to walk to the front of the line. Can you imagine the reaction he would have received in NYC or other US cities? He explained that this kind of behavior is his prerogative according to the laws in Brazil and he does this often everywhere he goes; libraries, super markets, banks, and pharmacies. He claims that if ” I hear a complaint I say I have priority.”
A $750 Fine!!!!!
The Brazilian law ensures that all private businesses and government facilities give people over the age of 60 special attention, and for those that are noncompliant are care fined $750 for each time they don’t honor the older people! Compliance takes form in lines or queues that are dedicated to those over 60 years of age and those who are pregnant. One city has already amassed $19,500 in fines since 20141
What a Perk!
This special way of treating the older citizen is seen throughout Latin America. Reportedly, long lines are a way of life in this part of the world and in Sao Paulo seniors get the advantage of procuring their tickets for Carnival Parades ahead of others.
, Potential Downside???
There is always a flip side opinion of anything that excludes or differentiates perks for certain age groups. Some of the older people tend to take advantage of the law and cut in line to mail packages or organize their voter registration. Overall, people have no problem with letting a sickly or inform person get to the front of the line, but many people look and act as if they aren’t really so old! One man colorfully commented, ” I favor priority treatment for those that are sickly, but when I see a man with dyed hair and a pocketful of Viagra — its a little too much!”
“A Law Of Common Sense” Or Lets Agree to Respect Our Elders
This is the belief of Mayor Roberto Bezerra of Fortaleza. Faster banking for oldsters became the federal law in 2003. Sometimes the lines for seniors were longer than the normal lines, but it was agreed that priority lines was a method for allowing speedy service without the expense of added infrastructure for businesses. Sometimes the system has backups that cause complaints, but overall most citizens seem to think that it is a good law and one that will come in handy for them someday. Some Millennials who are projecting how they want to be treated in the future say, ” When you’re older you will want to have this.”
What do you think about this law?