Redefining Aging

Our June Newsletter

I am writing this the day after Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship, becoming the oldest winner of a major. The number of references to Phil as old was pretty remarkable because if 50 is old, what am I at 64? Nonetheless, Phil had a few wise words in the press tent.

"There's no reason why you can't accomplish your goals at an older age. It's just going to take more effort. If you put in the work, there's nothing you can't accomplish."

Well said. 

An Instagram site (https://www.instagram.com/artinaging/) tries to redefine aging with beautiful and sometimes provocative images of older women.

Louis Aronson’s book “Elderhood” according to one review, “encourages readers to help put an end to the anti-aging industry and its profiteers, to engage in better self-care and to collectively ask the medical community to look at elderhood not as a disease.” 

Decline is certainly a narrative that society embraces when it comes to older people. We are diseased, just waiting to die. After all, how remarkable was it that a 50-year-old athlete who, according to the critics, could not win any longer on tour, suddenly surprises everyone and wins a major…..surprising everyone except himself. 

Spoiler alert - we are not declining. In fact, we are getting better every day, learning new things, exploring, taking chances. My wife and I got the same surprised messages on Facebook after posting a picture of us zip lining in St; Lucia! OMG, how could you do that at your age!

Yale School of Health Professor Becca Levy, in a frequently cited paper published in 2009, introduced the term “stereotype embodiment theory.” She described the aging process as a social construct in which cultural influences in a person’s life lead to internalized attitudes about aging that have a long-term impact on health.

So if the culture says your old, well I guess your old. If you want to buy into that. Speaking to Next Avenue, she noted that: “the risk of dementia goes up with people who have taken in more negative age stereotypes from their culture, but you also could think about it in the opposite way, that people who take in more positive age stereotypes seem to have a cognitive advantage over time.”

The health and fitness arena has thrived by painting pictures of older adults’ fight against aging, therefore needing their products. 

The senior living industry has thrived by putting together one population of people together communally. Yet, when older adults interact more with younger generations, this leads to less stereotyping between the two groups and better attitudes about each other. 

Despite laws, anti-ageism culture exists in society and the workplace. Ask any employed family caregiver. 

Jelena Sophie Siebert suggest we avoid “the widespread public view that declining cognitive and physical health is primarily due to calendar age,” because thinking along those lines has a tendency to bring about “a reduced sense of responsibility and a down-playing of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.”

Maybe it comes down to - age is just a number. Your attitude is everything. A healthy physical and mental lifestyle will keep you ageless.


We are providing two weeks of free programs to the National Association of Activity Professionals this month.

Check out the lineup here. 

We are creating a wait-list for people who want individual or gift subscriptions to Sage Stream, the Senior Education & Entertainment Network. For less than sixty cents per day, you can access daily live-streams. 

Join our list.


Supporting Why Sage Stream is Important - Music shows promise for ‘millions’ of older adults with cognitive impairment

A new analysis notes a promising link between music and cognitive benefits for older adults with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

The analysis, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, included nine studies and a total of 495 participants and also suggested that music appeared to improve study participants’ quality of life and mood.

More here. 


Many Plan to Work Past Retirement

Many seniors plan to work past the traditional retirement age, with some planning never to retire. Nearly 1 in 5 seniors now plan to work past age 70 and an additional 12% said they plan to work full time for the rest of their lives.

See more from AAG.


Men Need to Care About Caregiving

Times of crisis offer new opportunities for realignment. The pandemic has prompted many fathers to step up their everyday participation in housework and childcare. A Harvard report found that, just after the onset of the pandemic, 68% of fathers felt emotionally closer to their children.

As we have lived through more than a year of a pandemic with care supports stripped away, there is a new recognition of the value of care. Now, it’s time to integrate this value into our collective values, with the acknowledgment that taking care of each other is not just a women’s issue but a human necessity.

Read more in Fast Company. 


How Much Covid Damage Can Be Undone?

As vaccination has allowed nursing homes to open up a little, thousands of family members are seeing older loved ones with a disturbing clarity not possible during FaceTime calls and window visits. Even under the best of circumstances, the oldest seniors tend to decline over a year. But experts on dementia and aging say there is little doubt that isolation and loneliness steepened the slope for many. 

Read more in the Philly Inquirer. 


Caregiver Smile Summit - 

Purchase all three Summits for $49. 

Use them as a substitute for your Caregiver Conference just as Rural Resources Community Living Connections in Pullman, Washington did this year.



Lockdown led to positive lifestyle changes in older people

The COVID-19 lockdown was a catalyst for many older people to embrace technology, reconnect with friends and build new relationships with neighbours, according to University of Stirling research.

Read more here.


More than 4 in 10 health-care workers have not been vaccinated, Post-KFF poll finds

Health-care workers were the first group in the United States to be offered coronavirus vaccinations. But three months into the effort, many remain unconvinced, unreached and unprotected. Not a lot has changed since this early spring article.

Read more in WAPO.


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In The Media

Thanks @VirtuaSense for the exposure. 
https://virtusense.ai/2021/05/17/music-therapy-for-older-adults/ 

IS LINKEDIN HELPING OR HURTING CAREGIVERS IN LATEST PLATFORM UPDATE? (VIDEO) https://sixtyandme.com/linkedin-caregiver-status-update/


Bill would allow ‘granny cams’ in resident rooms, require operators to provide free internet

The Connecticut Legislature is poised to pass a bill giving long-term care residents the right to treat their living spaces as their own home and allowing use of all forms of virtual communication, including electronic monitoring.

Read more in McKnight’s LTC News. 


Copyright, 2021, The Aging Experience