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.
Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward. Learn more about aging and your eyes at: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-e….
Across the rich world around half of covid-19 deaths have been in care homes. Countries need to radically rethink how they care for their elderly—and some innovative solutions are on offer.
HARVARD MAGAZINE (SEPT – OCT 2020): From the book EXERCISED: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding by Daniel E. Lieberman, to be published on September 8, 2020 by Pantheon Books:
‘….many of the mechanisms that slow aging and extend life are turned on by physical activity, especially as we get older. Human health and longevity are thus extended both by and for physical activity.’
Exercise is like scrubbing the kitchen floor so well after a spill that the whole floor ends up being cleaner. The modest stresses caused by exercise trigger a reparative response yielding a general benefit.
In order to elucidate the links between exercise and aging, I propose a corollary to the Grandmother Hypothesis, which I call the Active Grandparent Hypothesis. According to this idea, human longevity was not only selected for but was also made possible by having to work hard during old age to help as many children, grandchildren, and other younger relatives as possible survive and thrive. That is, while there may have been selection for genes (as yet unidentified) that help humans live past the age of 50, there was also selection for genes that repair and maintain our bodies when we are physically active.
Daniel E. Lieberman is a paleoanthropologist at Harvard University, where he is the Edwin M Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. He is best known for his research on the evolution of the human head and the evolution of the human body.
Presented by Sarah Dulaney, RN, CNS, a nurse at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, and Helen Medsger, a family caregiver and LBD support group leader, as part of the Lewy Body Dementia Caregiver Webinar Series supported by the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and the Administration for Community Living.
From a Harvard Gazette online article (March 10, 2020):
There’s a symptom review, there’s a travel review, and there’s an exposure review. And if the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you’re asked to not come in. And so far people have been compliant and have left. So that is a good thing.
If you have a cough and a fever, if you’ve got respiratory symptoms and you’re short of breath, if you’ve traveled to a place of concern or if you may have been exposed to someone who did — especially if you’re symptomatic — then I would definitely ask, “Do I really need to visit my grandma today? Can I wait and can I Skype her? Can I do FaceTime?”
I know that’s hard for some of our older adults who aren’t technologically savvy, but maybe now is the time to get them hooked up. It really would be heartbreaking if, in wanting to do something positive for someone’s emotional or mental health, you ended up infecting them.
Harvard-affiliated Hebrew SeniorLife offers a continuum of care for 3,000 elderly people daily, with a range of services including residential assisted living, short-term rehabilitation, outpatient services, and long-term care for those with chronic illness. In a Q&A interview aimed at understanding the challenges involved, Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor Helen Chen, Hebrew SeniorLife’s chief medical officer, discussed steps the facility has taken to combat the virus and the outlook going forward.
From a March 5, 2020 American Academy of Neurology release:
“These results are exciting, as they suggest that people may potentially prevent brain shrinking and the effects of aging on the brain simply by becoming more active,” said study author Yian Gu, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
“Recent studies have shown that as people age, physical activity may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Our study used brain scans to measure the brain volumes of a diverse group of people and found that those who engaged in the top third highest level of physical activity had a brain volume the equivalent of four years younger in brain aging than people who were at the bottom third activity level.”
Older people who regularly walk, garden, swim or dance may have bigger brains than their inactive peers, according to a preliminary study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 72nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, April 25 to May 1, 2020. The effect of exercise was equal to four fewer years of brain aging. The study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure the brains of people with a range of activity levels, including those who were inactive to those who were very active. The scans showed less active people had smaller brain volume.
A slight uptick in U.S. life expectancy in the U.S. in 2018 was due partly to a decrease in overdose deaths, but mostly to decreasing cancer deaths.