Does your grandparent hold the secret to a happier New Year? Because Americans over 80 years old report feeling happier than any other age group, we asked them to share their wisdom as 2021 begins during a time of challenge and uncertainty. These elders include cannabis comedian Tommy Chong, a psychologist, a transgender burlesque performer, and a 90-year-old nudist who lets it all hang out. Self-Evident: A PBS American Portrait Miniseries seeks to answer the question: what does it really mean to be an American today? Join our hosts — Dr. Ali Mattu, a licensed therapist and clinical psychologist and YouTuber behind “The Psych Show,” as well as Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., historian and the writer/creator of PBS’s “The Origin of Everything” — as they explore the lives of real Americans, living during this unprecedented moment in time.
Viggo Mortensen adds to his résumé of actor, poet, painter, and musician, with the release of FALLING, his 2020 directorial debut about the legacy of dementia and family bonds. In this exclusive interview with NOWNESS creative director Bunny Kinney, Mortensen speaks about the personal experiences that inspired his latest film.
Still not seen FALLING? Rent it via https://www.nowness.com/story/falling…
FALLING is a powerful drama about a father and son relationship on the brink of collapse. Hollywood giant Lance Henriksen (Alien, The Terminator) plays Willis, a homophobic farmer who is forced to live with his gay son. Willis has early-stage dementia, which makes running the farm on his own increasingly difficult. So John (Viggo Mortensen) brings him to stay at his California home so that he and his sister Sarah (Laura Linney) might help him find a place closer to the family. Unfortunately, their best intentions ultimately run up against Willis’ adamant refusal to change his way of life.
Viggo Mortensen is one of the most in-demand actors of his generation. After winning hearts and minds with his valiant portrayal of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he has received numerous Oscar and BAFTA nominations for his performances in Green Book, Captain Fantastic, and Eastern Promises, to name a few. Shot and edited by Antonio Rui Ribeiro Produced by Modern Films
Voicebots, Humanoids and Other Tools Capture Memories for Future Generations What happens after we die—digitally, that is? In this documentary, WSJ’s Joanna Stern explores how technology can tell our stories for generations to come. Old photos, letters and tapes. Tech has long allowed us to preserve memories of people long after they have died. But with new tools there are now interactive solutions, including memorialized online accounts, voice bots and even humanoid robots. WSJ’s Joanna Stern journeys across the world to test some of those for a young woman who is living on borrowed time.
Photo illustration: Adele Morgan/The Wall Street Journal
Since 2010, Social Security’s cash flow has been negative, meaning that the agency does not collect enough money through taxes to cover what it is paying out. Even though there was still this vast trust fund behind Social Security, they started tapping that fund’s interest.
Starting in 2021, they will have to dip into the trust fund itself to cover those benefit payments, and even that pool of cash has an expiration date. Trustees of the fund expect that by 2035 it will not be enough to cover full benefit payments. Due to COVID-19, that date may come years sooner than expected, which has some retirees seriously worried about their future.
I described another option to Grandpa: he could voluntarily stop eating and drinking. He’d never considered this possibility (which reminded me again how one’s family members and clinicians contribute to inequities in end-of-life care). The option intrigued Grandpa, and during subsequent visits he reinforced his plan to pursue it. I insisted that he first move into my home. I wanted to ensure the quality of his care, knowing that I could enroll him in my health system’s hospice program. But I also wished to test his resolve, reasoning that his mind might change once his isolation ended.
For a month after he entered our home, his spirits were brighter, his gait steadier, and his appetite heartier. He joined my wife, two daughters, and me for dinner each night, typically preceded by a vodka martini that I had stirred for him — a daily pleasure he’d allowed himself for 80 years and had missed as a facility resident. He’d tell stories of the Navy, his career, and his family history and would regularly quip, “If you keep treating me this well, I might just stick around a while longer!”
But eventually he returned to his goal of hastening death. One night, he said he was ready to stop eating and drinking the next morning, but when morning came, he asked for his usual coffee and bagel. He confided that he was scared. When I asked of what, he replied, “It’s like trying to roller skate. I’m scared of starting. Though I know that once I do, I’ll probably roll.”
In this cross-sectional study of 5364 couples consisting of employees and spouses (or domestic partners) undergoing an annual employer-sponsored health assessment, 79% of the couples were in the nonideal category of a CV health score. This within-couple concordance of nonideal CV health scores was associated mostly with unhealthy diet and inadequate physical activity.
The study included 10 728 participants (5364 couples): 7% were African American, 11% Hispanic, 21% Asian, and 54% White (median [interquartile range] age, 50 [41-57] years for men and 47 [39-55] for women). For most couples, both members were in the ideal category or both were in a nonideal category.
Concordance ranged from 53% (95% CI, 52%-54%) for cholesterol to 95% (95% CI, 94%-95%) for diet. For the CV health score, in 79% (95% CI, 78%-80%) of couples both members were in a nonideal category, which was associated mainly with unhealthy diet (94% [95% CI, 93%-94%] of couples) and inadequate exercise (53% [95% CI, 52%-55%] of couples). However, in most couples, both members were in the ideal category for smoking status (60% [95% CI, 59%-61%] of couples) and glucose (56% [95% CI, 55%-58%]).
Except for total cholesterol, when 1 member of a couple was in the ideal category, the other member was likely also to be in the ideal category: the adjusted odds ratios for also being in the ideal category ranged from 1.3 (95% CI, 1.1-1.5; P ≤ .001) for blood pressure to 10.6 (95% CI, 7.4-15.3; P ≤ .001) for diet. Concordance differed by ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location.
From 2019 to 2020, there was a substantial increase in the proportion of older adults who reported that their health care providers offered telehealth visits. In May 2019, 14% of older adults said that their health care providers offered telehealth visits, compared to 62% in June 2020.
Similarly, the percentage of older adults who had ever participated in a telehealth visit rose sharply from 4% in May 2019 to 30% in June 2020. Of those surveyed in 2020, 6% reported having a telehealth visit prior to March 2020, while 26% reported having a telehealth visit in the period from March to June 2020.
Over the past year, some concerns about telehealth visits decreased among adults age 50–80 whether or not they had a telehealth visit. Older adults’ concerns about privacy in telehealth visits decreased from 49% in May 2019 to 24% in June 2020, and concerns about having difficulty seeing or hearing health care providers in telehealth visits decreased from 39% in May 2019 to 25% in June 2020. Concerns about not feeling personally connected to the health care provider decreased slightly (49% to 45%).