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Mind Your Qs, Help Your Diet

Mind Your Qs, Help Your Diet
Is your midlife palate bored to ambivalence about mealtime? Often I lament the ho-hum of my menu repertoire, but I still go back to the tried and true in every food group. But recently, in an unlikely coincidence, I tried and enjoyed two new- to-me foods that begin with the letter Q: quinoa and quark.  Read more...


 

19, Going on 90

19, Going on 90
Here’s a note that came to me recently from a reader of my Q&A blog, Yo, Is This Ageist? She wrote that:

The other day I was eating lunch with my best friend, when out of the blue she asks me if she was getting neck wrinkles. Since we are both 19, I laughed at her question and told her no. However, she was not convinced and stated that she was going to ask her parents for anti-aging serum in her stocking for Christmas.  Read more...


 

Now Hear This

Now Hear This
I love to feel connected and informed—both, keys to successful aging. I no longer get a newspaper and don’t watch much television. I live between New York City and Philadelphia, where there’s no shortage of media outlets, but I get virtually all of my news from the radio. I know—old school. The radio is on in my kitchen, home office and car, not for music but to stay on top of what’s happening in the world and for infotainment. I’m sort of an NPR junkie. The hosts’ voices are as familiar to me as my family’s.  Read more...


 

No More Old Cats?

No More Old Cats?
The other day, I was hunting online for new canned foods to try out on my unbelievably picky cat, and I couldn’t help noticing all the options for “senior cats.” There didn’t seem to be anything at all for “old cats.”  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
…more arthritis diagnoses among working-age adults. Not only are more Americans developing arthritis, they’re doing so at younger ages, states a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2013 and 2015, 54.4 million (22.7 percent, or more than one in five) American adults were diagnosed with this condition, a leading cause of disability. Fifty-nine percent of those diagnosed were younger than 65. Incidence is increasing, and by 2040, arthritis will affect an estimated 78.4 million adults in the United States.  Read more...


 

Whose Vision Problem Is It?

Whose Vision Problem Is It?
I recently saw a feature in a magazine about an item so intriguing that I was compelled to investigate the retailer's website. I left my comfy reading chair to go to the computer with the intention of making a purchase. When I got to the website, I found that I could barely make out the product description because of the font and color they used. The print was small and the colors—gray on gray—did not provide contrast for me to read what I wanted to learn. So frustrating!  Read more...


 

Let’s Put Films to the Applewhite Test

Let’s Put Films to the Applewhite Test
Invented by the sharp American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, a movie passes the Bechdel test if at least two women talk to each other about something other than a man. Low bar, right? Yet surprisingly few movies pass it. I propose the Applewhite test for ageism: a movie passes if two older people talk to each other about something besides falling apart.  Read more...


 

Accepting Losses, Discovering Gains

Accepting Losses, Discovering Gains
After my mother came to live with me, I gradually took on more and more of her care. By the end of the first year I was doing what any Alzheimer’s caregiver does. I bathed her, helped her dress, handled her finances, did her laundry, tried to be patient answering her repeated questions, gave her medications, coaxed her back to bed if she was wide awake in the middle of the night, prepared her meals, cleaned up when she had spells of incontinence, tried to find music or videos she might enjoy, took her on walks, helped her dial the phone and took her to 42 doctor’s appointments.  Read more...


 

A Good Death

A Good Death
While I was trawling the internet one day, I came across this comment on the blog of a jazz musician: “I’ve often joked that every musician’s secret fantasy is to die on the bandstand, at a ripe old age and after a really good solo, and that’s not too far from what I’d actually like to happen a long time from now.”  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
early detection of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Eye experts say diagnosing AMD early is vital to slowing the progression of this incurable disease, the leading cause of blindness in people age 50 and older.  Read more...


 

Save the Planet, Harm your Family?

Save the Planet, Harm your Family?
I like to think of myself as being more open to new ideas at midlife, willing to change some practices in the name of progress. I have, for example, taken greater personal responsibility in the reduce, reuse, recycle realm.  Read more...


 

Where Medicare Fails

Where Medicare Fails
A friend of mine was hospitalized recently. What really worried her, she told me the day before she went in, was not the procedure she was about to have but her medical bills if the hospital decided not to admit her and instead placed her under observation.  Read more...


 

In the Fight against Bigotry, Where Does Ageism Fit In?

In the Fight against Bigotry, Where Does Ageism Fit In?
I wake these days remembering that something awful has happened. Reality assembles itself, and I feel worse. The multicultural, egalitarian, globalized society I hope to inhabit is under assault. Bigotry is ascendant. Racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance—pick your prejudice!—are sanctioned, even celebrated. How do we respond to attacks on those most vulnerable? How does the mission to build a movement against ageism fit into this historical moment?  Read more...


 

More Is Possible

More Is Possible
My husband was a sculptor until 2004, when a traumatic brain injury ended his working life. Before that, he’d spend hours each week looking at art; he called New York’s Metropolitan Museum his “temple.”  Read more...


 

Mom's Bridge Club

Mom's Bridge Club
Lately I'm reading a surprising number of memoirs written by adult children about their experiences with their parent(s) as they age. I find myself identifying so often with the authors' stories, though my parents are no longer living.  Read more...


 

Preserving Autonomy against the Odds

Preserving Autonomy against the Odds
When the doctor diagnosed my mother with probable Alzheimer’s, he also told her, “I want you to stop driving.” He said her reflexes and judgment weren’t good enough.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
...aging in place. Most baby boomers haven’t thought much about it and haven’t begun preparing their homes for changing needs as they get older, according to the online, home-improvement marketplace HomeAdvisor. A survey of 289 home-service professionals and 586 consumers over age 55 had some surprising results:  Read more...


 

The Trials of a Top Dog

The Trials of a Top Dog
We live in a hierarchical society. Which is too bad because I’ve never wanted to be anybody’s boss or to order anyone around. That mindset may be fairly common among women of my generation—I’m in my 80s. The one time in my life when I clearly was top dog, I didn’t like it at all.  Read more...


 

Action—Global and Local—against Ageism

Action—Global and Local—against Ageism
October brought me two very different gigs—one on the world stage and one in a Brooklyn community center.

The first was at the United Nations on October 6 to celebrate the 26th International Day of Older Persons. It was thrilling to be in one of the UN’s major meeting rooms, with simultaneous translations for people from all over the world, especially because of the theme—“Take A Stand Against Ageism.” The organizers invited me to give the keynote because they wanted a radical perspective, and I didn’t hold back:

 Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
… hepatitis C testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued recommendations that all baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) be tested for the hepatitis C virus—even if they’ve never had a blood transfusion or shared needles.  Read more...


 

Books to Give or Keep in 2016

Books to Give or Keep in 2016
It’s that time of year—when I am asked to recommend books I’ve read to friends who are working on their gift lists. I primarily seek out new fiction, but I enjoy deviating for an interesting memoir. Each of these books connects to aging, from midlife on up.  Read more...


 

Deep Reading

Deep Reading
I’ve spent my life immersed in a warm bath of fiction. I always have one novel going and another waiting. On the rare occasions when I have no new book on hand, I feel slightly panicky.  Read more...


 

Does She Still Recognize You?

Does She Still Recognize You?
An acquaintance I ran into at the supermarket stopped me with that question. It was one I got frequently when my mother was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.

The question made me uncomfortable. It seemed intrusive coming from someone I wasn’t close to, and it was hard to answer. The truth was complicated.  Read more...


 

Getting over the Cold Shoulder

Getting over the Cold Shoulder
About a year ago I had a pain in my shoulder that didn't go away. I am still not sure what caused the problem but it started with a tingling and got progressively worse. Over a period of a few weeks, it turned into a condition called frozen shoulder, when the large bone of the arm sticks to the shoulder blade. I could not raise my right arm above my head and had a hard time doing even simple daily tasks like getting dressed or reaching for something from a high pantry shelf.  Read more...


 

An Ounce of Prevention? Maybe

An Ounce of Prevention? Maybe
I’ve always figured that the fewer medications I take, the better. If there’s something wrong with me and a drug can help, I might not have much of a choice. But dose myself daily to prevent something that might never go wrong? Every drug has some side effects. For me, it’s a hard decision to make.  Read more...


 

New Names for Today's Households

New Names for Today's Households
As I wrote in a previous blog about older kids returning to live with their parents, it really wasn't that long ago that it was okay, respectable even, for a young adult to live at home until marriage. Then it became almost unheard of in my generation. And now, everything old being new again, 85 percent of college grads return home before flying solo, according to Time magazine. Sociologist Katherine Newman, author of The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition (2012), says it's a global issue.  Read more...


 

Think Old People Will Tank the Economy? That’s Just Plain Wrong

Think Old People Will Tank the Economy? That’s Just Plain Wrong
Many economists agree that, as the number of boomers leaving the workforce swells, younger workers will shoulder ever-greater burdens. Social Security will be bankrupted by all those lazy old people! Medicare exhausted! These dire predictions of economic turmoil are biased, outdated and just plain wrong, and it was great to see a recent article in the New York Times, “Disproving Beliefs About the Economy and Aging,” take aim at them.  Read more...


 

How to Use Your Brain in Perpetuity

How to Use Your Brain in Perpetuity
As I learned the hard way eight years ago, when my husband, Scott, began the downward spiral of dementia after suffering a traumatic brain injury, doctors are loath to admit they know little about what causes dementia and nothing about how to prevent, treat or cure it.  Read more...


 

Reverse Mortgages: An Age-Old Bid for Security

Reverse Mortgages: An Age-Old Bid for Security
What scares most Americans more than dying? The possibility that we’ll outlive our savings.

There have been times in my life when that’s worried me. In my worst moments, I even imagined ending up as a bag lady.  Read more...


 

They're Baaaaack!

They're Baaaaack!
I was intrigued to read a Gallup-poll finding that 14 percent of 24- to 34-year-olds are living with their parents, and more than half of 18- to 23-year-olds are still at home (or are back there again).  Read more...


 

Overdosed?

Overdosed?
When doctors prescribe new medications for me, I always wonder whether they’re getting the dosage right. There’s a reason I’m wary, and it has nothing to do with distrusting my doctors personally.  Read more...


 

Adrift in Time

Adrift in Time
I was taking my mother to Maine to visit her brother. They had lived in New Jersey within a few blocks of each other their entire lives until, due to her dementia, she moved in with me. A month later, he and my aunt moved to Maine to be near their daughters. I knew my mother missed him, so I thought this trip would make her happy. Indeed, she was overjoyed when I told her we were going.  Read more...


 

Age Takes Center Stage around the Brexit Vote—Not in a Good Way

Age Takes Center Stage around the Brexit Vote—Not in a Good Way
On June 23, 2016, a referendum (a vote in which everyone of voting age can take part) was held to decide whether the United Kingdom should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 52 percent to 48 percent. The unexpected result generated widespread shock—no surprise, given the far-reaching economic and political consequences. What did take me aback was the vitriol directed at older voters, who were blamed in appalling terms.  Read more...


 

All in Good Taste

All in Good Taste
Recently, I overheard someone turning down a gooey, brownie-like concoction, saying, “No thanks, it's too sweet for my taste.” Wait a minute, was that me uttering those words? Too sweet? That's up there with too rich and too thin, isn’t it?  Read more...


 

How to Have a Good Life: Lean In—to Your Relationships

How to Have a Good Life: Lean In—to Your Relationships
I was stuck for a time when I was in my 20s. My career and dating possibilities were going nowhere, and I struggled with depression. I was far from home, but one day I talked to my father about all of this over the phone. Afterward, he sent me a long, thoughtful letter. He was then in his early 50s, and he wrote that, looking back over his own life, he was convinced that the most important thing for him had always been his relationships with family and friends.  Read more...


 

Fooling the Phone Company

Fooling the Phone Company
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, to quote the 19th century French novelist, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Read more...


 

Very Pinteresting

Very Pinteresting
Lonely? Can't find your best girlfriends, not even on Facebook? Don't despair; I know where they all went. They are on Pinterest (pronounced like interest, only starting with a p, pin-trest).  Read more...


 

Homesick

Homesick
Two friends of mine recently experienced something you don't hear about often: grieving the loss of their childhood homes. For people who spent a long stretch of their formative years at a single address, the childhood home is a repository of memories, an emotional scrapbook of sorts.  Read more...


 

Six More Questions about My New Manifesto Against Ageism

Six More Questions about My New Manifesto Against Ageism
Are olders really as much of an economic drag on society as the media portrays?

Absolutely not! People 50 and up fuel the significant, fast-growing, and often-overlooked “longevity economy,” which, according to AARP, accounted for 46 percent of US gross domestic product ($7.1 trillion) in 2012. By 2021 the 50-plus age group is projected to drive more than half of US economic activity, as their spending fuels industries that include apparel, health care, education and entertainment. These statistics capture only part of the economic contribution of older Americans, whose unpaid volunteer work in 2013 was valued at $67 billion. And while “entrepreneur” might conjure up an image of a kid in that proverbial garage, twice as many successful American entrepreneurs are over age 50 as in their early 20s. More resources have always flowed from older generations to younger ones than the reverse.  Read more...


 

He Was His Own Miracle

He Was His Own Miracle
There’s an article elsewhere on this Web site that expresses doubts about something I believe in. There’s no scientific evidence, it says, that thinking positively can keep you healthy or that being determined to fight back against an illness can help you heal. I’m not a scientist, but I’m convinced that the mind can profoundly influence what goes on in the body because I’ve seen it happen.  Read more...


 

One Benefit of Dementia

One Benefit of Dementia
Sweetheart that he is, my 80-year-old husband is usually very cooperative, despite severe dementia resulting from a traumatic brain injury suffered five years ago. But for the last year or so, he has recoiled from anyone, including me, who approaches him with a sharp instrument, making such normal grooming acts as nail clipping and beard trimming, as well as necessary blood drawing, all but impossible. Consequently, his toenails were so long, they were like knives, one even cutting into the neighboring toe until it bled.  Read more...


 

Six Questions about My New Manifesto Against Ageism

Six Questions about My New Manifesto Against Ageism
You want to reframe the way American culture sees age and aging. What got you started on this path?

About eight years ago I began interviewing people over 80 for a project called “So when are you going to retire?” and reading about longevity. It didn’t take long to realize that almost everything I thought I knew about aging was wrong. I had no idea that people are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives, for example. That the vast majority of Americans over 65 live independently. That the older people get, the less afraid they are of dying.  Read more...


 

Retire? Never!

Retire? Never!
When I was in my 30s, a friend asked whether I was saving money for retirement. I laughed. As a single mother with two small children, I could barely keep my head above water financially. No, I told her, I had nothing saved. She asked how I’d manage when I stopped working. I had no brain cells to spare to think about my old age, which seemed unreal to me anyway.  Read more...


 

When Behavior Speaks

When Behavior Speaks
I sat with my mother and her caregiver, Aliza, one afternoon in the Alzheimer’s unit of the nursing home. With my mother between us, Aliza and I chatted about the hot weather we had been having. All of a sudden my mother hauled off and punched me solidly in the arm.  Read more...


 

Avoiding Drug Interactions Just Got Easier

Avoiding Drug Interactions Just Got Easier
My mom had a great relationship with her regular pharmacy. In addition to getting prescriptions filled, a visit there included a dedicated, professional woman assembling our nonpharmacy shopping list so Mom could go to the back of the store and her “order” would be ready. On days when I was not free to drive her to that pharmacy, the backup was a drugstore with free delivery. They wouldn't add in a box of tissues or a magazine, however, so we used it as a last resort.  Read more...


 

Oh, to Be 70 Again

Oh, to Be 70 Again
Oh, to be 70 again with the rest of my life opening up in front of me. When I was 70, I was working for a foundation and thought it the best job I’d ever had or was likely to have. My career as a magazine writer was behind me and I had few regrets.  Read more...


 

Droneliness

Droneliness
Concerned about an onslaught of enfeebled old people? Don’t worry, robots will take care of them! American techno-optimism knows no bounds, and so-called “age-independence” technologies are proliferating like crazy. But in a profoundly ageist culture, the implications can be disturbing. Here’s a critique, based on the latest article to catch my eye.  Read more...


 

Drinks on Me

Drinks on Me
I am not a big drinker. Most days, I need to remind myself to drink liquids to stay healthy and hydrated. A normal part of aging, I have learned, is that I don't register thirst the same way I did when I was younger. A friend told me she drinks more water if she has a straw, and I find that is true for me as well. Then I read that pursing your lips to drink from a straw causes mouth wrinkles. You just can't win, can you?  Read more...


 

Oh. America. How Obamacare Finished Off Breaking Bad

Oh.<em> America</em>. How Obamacare Finished Off <em>Breaking Bad</em>
Any just society must reduce the despair occasioned by dire medical conditions.

This was one lesson, oddly, that could be drawn from the TV series, Breaking Bad.  Read more...


 

An Ageless Tradition

An Ageless Tradition
Balloons were drifting around, bumping against the ceiling in my living room, buoyed by helium and the generosity of friends. The previous weekend, they had thrown a baby shower for me. It may have been the first time in history that a woman in her 70s had a baby shower.  Read more...


 

May Day Surprise

May Day Surprise
“Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other, gold.” —Girl Scouts

We are often reminded of the importance of keeping social as we age; isolation has proven to be hazardous to healthy aging, while friendships engage and stimulate us. I am fortunate to have longtime friends as well as newer ones. I have two friends from grade school who have been dear to me for 50 years. Every summer we meet for lunch to catch up and to recharge those life-shaping memories.  Read more...


 

Regarding Alzheimer’s

Regarding Alzheimer’s
An empty shell. Doesn’t know who he is. Violent. Doesn’t recognize family members. Unable to communicate. The negative stereotypes and exaggerations of Alzheimer’s disease abound.  Read more...


 

Aging in Place: Is It a Pipe Dream?

Aging in Place: Is It a Pipe Dream?
On surveys, most older Americans say they want to age in place: to stay right where they are in the home they’ve lived in for years. Whenever I hear that, I wonder whether they realize just how difficult that can become. As time passes, house and yard maintenance begin to seem overwhelming; stairs can become impossible to climb. Friends move away or die, and once you have to stop driving, isolation looms.  Read more...


 

Yo, Am I Ageist?

Yo, Am I Ageist?
Unless you are Peter Pan, one day you'll be old. I don't want to experience discrimination because of a date on my birth certificate. I don’t want people to lump me into a one-size-fits-all assumption based solely on my age. Neither does author Ashton Applewhite, whose new book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism (2016), calls upon the thought leaders of aging to debunk the myths that are filling us with dread and keep us from realizing that all aging can be successful aging.  Read more...


 

Could Happen

Could Happen
Before the accident that left him like someone with advanced Alzheimer’s, my husband was an artist. After the severe injuries to his brain's frontal lobes, centers for the "executive functions" that enable us to conceive and carry out plans, he found it difficult to make art. Hoping to get him drawing again, I fixed up an "art table" and, as suggested by an art therapist, sat with him for at least ten minutes a day while he drew.  Read more...


 

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Our Mission

The Silver Century Foundation promotes a positive view of aging. The Foundation challenges entrenched and harmful stereotypes, encourages dialogue between generations, advocates planning for the second half of life, and raises awareness to educate and inspire everyone to live long, healthy, empowered lives.

Notable Quote

"It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not poorer, but is even richer."

Cicero (106-43 BC)