Did you ever encounter someone so inspiring that it completely changed your viewpoint on life? It might lead you to pause and wonder what it is about that person that supplies them with the drive and strength to stand out from the crowd. This type of resilience in older adults is especially encouraging, showing us that whatever comes our way, at whatever age, life is beautiful, rich, and fulfilling.
At the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University, research workers decided to examine this further with their “Exceeding Expectations” project. They followed 20 elderly New Yorkers from diversified backgrounds and cultures for a two-year time period. Here is what they learned about the resiliency of these extraordinary individuals.
They never let their obstacles define them. … Read More »
What inspires you to get up out of bed every morning? The answer is different for every one of us, of course, but there’s one commonality: it could extend your life. Scientific studies are showing us that having a feeling of purpose is a key way to help seniors live longer and better, something evidenced in Japan – the country with the highest life expectancy on earth.
Remarkably, there is no word for our definition of “retirement” in the Japanese language. There is, instead, a concentration on maintaining purpose and meaning beyond a person’s working years and defining themselves according to their current passions and pastimes.
So just how can we help older adults – and ourselves – stay involved in what sparks interest and makes … Read More »
Sadly, loneliness in older adults is quite common, for a variety of reasons. Mobility issues, chronic health conditions, and the loss of family and friends are all contributing factors. Yet humans are social creatures, and this lack of socialization has many seniors turning to online sources for connection – such as dating websites. While this may seem harmless or even beneficial, there can be hidden dangers for seniors specifically, known as sweetheart scammers. Here’s what to watch for to help keep those you love safe from the scam targeting lonely seniors:
If you find yourself handling all of the care responsibilities for an aging parent while your siblings distance themselves from offering help, you’re not alone. In fact, as many as one out of every two family caregivers are taking care of an aging loved one on their own, according to a recent report from AARP. What can you do when family members refuse to help with senior care?
There are several reasons why siblings may shy away from supporting you in the care you’re providing. We’ve compiled the most common, along with what you can do to remedy the situation.
They don’t realize there’s a need for help. It may very well be that from … Read More »
In the past several years since COVID-19 became a household term, seniors, who are most vulnerable to severe complications from the virus, became more isolated in order to stay safe. And while we already were aware that there are health risks connected with loneliness and isolation, we’re now beginning to realize another serious concern: how isolation and Alzheimer’s progression are linked.
Since people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia may struggle to understand and follow safety precautions, like wearing face coverings, reporting symptoms, and social distancing, isolation for these individuals became especially critical. But while maintaining these seniors’ physical health was the top priority, it’s also important to pay attention to their emotional wellbeing, which can also be negatively impacted without sufficient … Read More »
Did you ever experience that jolt of a past memory that immediately pops to the front of your mind, perhaps through a scent, a song, or a picture? For those with dementia, the power of long-term memories is especially impactful, as short-term memory becomes weaker. And if you’re looking for ideas on how to help someone with Alzheimer’s, tapping into this idea is a great place to start. In fact, it’s become a growing trend in creative Alzheimer’s care: reminiscence therapy.
One extreme example is the transformation of a 9,000-sqft building in Chula Vista, California. The building is now an interactive 1950s town, including storefronts like a diner, a movie theater, and a healthcare clinic, all operating just as they would have been … Read More »
We know that socialization is vitally important for our overall emotional (and even physical) wellbeing – but we also know that senior isolation and loneliness is an epidemic in America. With the hectic pace of life, it’s difficult for families and friends to provide the full measure of social interaction needed to keep loneliness at bay for older adults, who are often homebound or unable to get out as much as they’d like.
But the mother of invention truly is necessity, and the need for creative socialization solutions has sparked some interesting innovations:
The Chat Bench
Thanks to the police department in the southwest England town of Burnham-On-Sea, several benches now boast signage that boldly proclaims, “The Happy to Chat Bench: Sit Here if You Don’t Mind Someone Stopping to Say Hello.” And, stop they do! It’s a lovely … Read More »
Researchers are finally beginning to get a grip on the imbalance between Alzheimer’s diagnoses in women and men. Currently, as many as 2/3 of those with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. are female. As scientists begin to understand the particular nuances behind the increasing trend of women and Alzheimer’s, we can begin to address the problem and find solutions.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Scientific Engagement, Rebecca Edelmayer, “Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease as both persons living with the disease and as caregivers of those with dementia. Over the last three years, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested $3.2 million into 14 projects looking at sex differences for the disease and some of the … Read More »
Sharing what’s on our hearts with those we love is never more important than when someone is nearing the end of life. There are often unspoken sentiments and unresolved issues that, once verbalized, can bring peace and a deeper connection with our loved ones in their final days.
As Dr. Jessica Zitter, physician in critical and palliative care medicine at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA explains, “Those are opportunities for people to take stock and say, ‘I want to be more intentional about how I want to relate to people in my life.’ Death should really be seen as the last opportunity that you have to make amends and clean things up before you’re in the next world, wherever that may be.”
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Think of a typical day in the life of a senior loved one. Hopefully it provides several positive and enriching experiences: enjoying breakfast, engaging in a fun hobby or interest, visiting with a friend or family member, watching a favorite TV show. Nevertheless, there’s a difference between positivity and purpose and meaning for seniors; and the need for a life rich with significance and purpose is starting to become more evident, particularly in the life of aging parents.
Viktor Frankl , world-renowned psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust, shares poignantly, “What matters is not the meaning in life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”
For people whose identity has been focused on a career and raising … Read More »