THE ELDERLY

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kmaherali
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How to Change Your Mind-Set About Aging

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People who think positively about getting older often live longer, healthier lives. Here is how to reconsider your perspective.

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At a pool party this summer, Johnnie Cooper climbed onto the diving board, executed a perfect dive and then joined a raucous game of Marco Polo. The occasion? Her 90th birthday.

“I’ve always looked forward to this age,” said Ms. Cooper, who lives in Huntsville, Ala., and is retired from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command. “You no longer have a lot of the struggles you had. There’s a lot more peace.”

Her enthusiasm for getting older could be part of the reason she has lived such a long, rich life. While everyone’s experience with aging is different, experts are increasingly finding that having a positive mind-set is associated with aging well.

A decades-long study of 660 people published in 2002 showed that those with positive beliefs around getting older lived seven and a half years longer than those who felt negatively about it. Since then, research has found that a positive mind-set toward aging is associated with lower blood pressure, a generally longer and healthier life and a reduced risk of developing dementia. Research also shows that people with a more positive perception of aging are more likely to take preventive health measures — like exercising — which, in turn, may help them live longer.

You can’t stop the march of time, but you don’t have to dread it. Here are some ways to help shift your thinking.

Notice where your age beliefs come from.

From the crotchety neighbor to the clueless Luddite, negative stereotypes of aging are everywhere. Taking in negative beliefs about aging can affect our view of the process — and our health, said Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale and the author of “Breaking the Age Code: How Your Age Beliefs Determine How Long and Well You Live.” A 2009 study, for example, found that people in their 30s who held negative stereotypes of aging were significantly more likely to experience a cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke, later in life than those with positive ones.

To change your negative age beliefs, you first need to become more aware of them, Dr. Levy said. Try a week of “age belief journaling,” in which you write down every portrayal of an older person — whether in a movie, on social media or in a conversation. Then question if that portrayal was negative or positive, and whether the person could have been presented differently. Simply identifying the sources of your conceptions about aging can help you gain some distance from negative ideas.

“People can strengthen their positive age beliefs at any age,” Dr. Levy said. In one 2014 study, 100 adults — with an average age of 81 — who were exposed to positive images of aging showed both improved perceptions of aging and improved physical function.

Find aging role models.

If you associate aging with only loss or limitation, “you’re not getting the full picture of what it means to age,” said Regina Koepp, a psychologist who specializes in aging. Instead, she said, “shift your attention — look around for role models, see who’s doing it well.”

That “doesn’t have to be a person who’s 90 diving off a diving board,” Dr. Koepp said. It might just be someone who attends a yoga class every week or volunteers for a cause.

Dr. Levy recommends coming up with five older people who have done something you deem impressive or have a quality that you admire, whether it’s falling in love later in life, showing devotion to helping others or maintaining a commitment to physical fitness.

Don’t mistake forced positivity for optimism.

Research suggests that optimistic women are more likely to live past 90 than less optimistic women, regardless of race or ethnicity. But thinking more positively about aging doesn’t mean papering over real concerns with happy thoughts — or using phrases like “You haven’t aged!” as a compliment.

“The platitudes don’t work — we’ve heard them, they’re trite, they’re tone-deaf,” said Melinda Ginne, 74, a psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in aging.

Instead, try to look at the honest reality with optimism. If you’re feeling deflated that your tennis game isn’t as strong in your 70s as it once was, Dr. Ginne said, remind yourself: “No, I can’t play tennis like I did when I was 50, and I can only play for 10 minutes. But I can still play.”

Challenge your own fears about getting older.

To feel more positive about aging, Dr. Koepp said, examine what worries you have about the process and then reflect on how troubling those concerns actually are.

For example, Dr. Koepp, 47, has been having an issue with her left hip. “I’ll say I’m old because I feel stiff and creaky,” she said. “But then I think, Well, my right hip isn’t stiff and creaky, and it’s the same age.”

The point is that while getting older may be contributing to her hip pain, she said, it’s not the only factor. “But we conflate age and disability, and I think that scares people,” she said.

Don’t dismiss the benefits.

Focus on what you’re gaining, too. Research has shown, for example, that emotional well-being generally increases with age, and certain aspects of cognition, like conflict resolution, often improve in later life.

With time, “we’re likely to develop more resilience,” Dr. Koepp said. Successful aging doesn’t mean you won’t get sick, encounter loss or require care at some point, she said. And no one said that changing any mind-set is easy. But if you can, she added, it may allow you to see yourself more clearly “as a person with lived experience and wisdom” as you age.

Holly Burns is a frequent contributor to The New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/20/well ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
Posts: 25368
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Forget About Living to 100. Let’s Live Healthier Instead.

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By Dave A. Chokshi

Dr. Chokshi is a Bellevue Hospital physician and a professor at the City University of New York. He previously served as the health commissioner of New York City.

When I ask my patients about their long-term health goals, they seldom say they want to live to be 100. Instead they talk about aging with independence and dignity, being free from aches and pains or having the strength to play with their grandchildren. “I’d just like to blow out the candles on my birthday cake without coughing,” a 60-something patient suffering from emphysema told me.

Yet our national dialogue around aging doesn’t reflect this basic reality about what people value in their lives.

Our country is long overdue for an audacious health goal. The average life span in the United States doubled during the last century, a stunning achievement. Equally stunning is that life expectancy is now stagnating, a revelation that has mostly been met with a collective shrug.

The Census Bureau predicts that by 2034, there will be more people in the United States age 65 or older than under 18, for the first time in history. Increasingly people are suffering from addiction, other chronic diseases and injuries, even at younger ages. Our current state of politics, mired in narrow debates about who does and does not deserve health insurance, is not up to meeting these challenges. We need a fresh approach to talking about health before we can improve it.

A new health moonshot should not just be oriented around increasing life spans but should focus, too, on what’s referred to as health span — the years people can expect to live in good health. As President John F. Kennedy said decades ago: “It is not enough for a great nation merely to have added new years to life. Our objective must also be to add new life to those years.”

Let’s start with what already matters to each of us: healthy birthdays. When we are younger, many of us take for granted having our faculties intact with the passing years. But as we age, every birthday spent flourishing versus feeling frail becomes an increasingly precious experience.

Peer nations have already taken steps to center health span in their policies. Singapore, with a longer average life span and an even more rapidly aging society than the United States, committed in its national health reforms last year “to prevent or delay the onset of ill health.” Britain has set an explicit goal of increasing healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035. And in Japan, local programs already invest in initiatives to help older adults share their skills and wisdom across generations, such as teaching youths how to cook, make art and garden, with benefits for young and old alike.

Yet in the United States, we do not rigorously measure and report health span as we do life expectancy. Best estimates indicate that the average American can expect to celebrate only a single birthday in good health after the traditional retirement age of 65. Meanwhile, Singapore, Britain and Japan (along with Canada, Costa Rica and Chile) already report average health spans of at least 70 years.

A bold but common-sense national goal would be to add a decade of healthy birthdays after retirement age. Achieving a target health span of 75 years would push us to think about health equity, given the lower healthy life expectancies for certain groups, such as Native Americans, Black Americans and low-income Americans.

Measuring health span, however, must go hand in hand with re-engineering our health and social systems. Doubling our national investment in primary care — to at least 10 cents of every dollar spent on health services — would make our medical infrastructure more proactive. We would be more effective at catching and treating diseases earlier and centering patient care on trusted relationships built over time. Increased access to primary care would mean that medical innovations offering hope for reversing diabetes or curing hepatitis could be made more available to those who would benefit from them.

Rebalancing national health expenditures toward primary care should be part of a broader shift toward disease prevention. For instance, President Biden’s cancer moonshot has emphasized the importance of reducing tobacco use and getting more people vaccinated against human papillomavirus to prevent new diagnoses of cancer. The National Institutes of Health could build on these efforts by advancing the science of healthy longevity and developing better ways to stall cognitive and physical decline, particularly by facilitating behavioral changes like reducing sedentary time.

The quest to improve health span should integrate mental and emotional health. Health departments have tackled smoking, infectious diseases and blood pressure — often resulting in remarkable gains in life expectancy. Extending health span would require taking on other major causes of morbidity, too, such as anxiety and loneliness. A lack of social connection can increase the risk of depression and dementia, often leading to a vicious cycle of illness and isolation. The role of public health must be to interrupt those vicious cycles and seed virtuous ones, particularly for emotional support and connection.

Adding a decade of healthy birthdays to Americans’ lives would also require us to reckon with issues beyond health care. When I take care of patients experiencing homelessness, who have a markedly lower healthy life expectancy than average, I measure their blood pressure and check their bloodwork as I do for any other patient. But the most definitive treatment for any issues they may be experiencing is not medicine or surgery; it’s housing. One of my patients who struggled for years to give up cigarettes quit smoking the day he moved into his new apartment. When I asked him what changed, he had a laconic answer: “Less stress and more sleep.” It was a recipe for better health I wish I could prescribe to everyone.

Housing costs money, of course, as do other basic needs, such as healthy food and quality education. But they should be seen as investments for the economic benefits of extending health span. One study published in the journal Nature Aging in 2021 estimated that improving health spans and increasing the average life span by one year would be worth $725 billion annually.

A better quality of life in older age could provide cascading returns for society. “As we age, we gain knowledge and expertise, along with the intellectual and cognitive abilities to decide if something matters,” Linda P. Fried, a geriatrician and the dean of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, has said.

But unlocking this longevity dividend would require new narratives about healthy aging. Older Americans already contribute to society through working, caring for grandchildren, volunteering and civic participation. Social infrastructure could be further adapted around older age as a latent natural resource, waiting for us to tap it in ways that build purpose and connection. Schools could host youth mentoring programs. Employers could create additional part-time or flexible work opportunities. Even smaller campaigns that combat ageist stereotypes, like reimagining birthday cards to ditch denigrating jokes in favor of celebratory pride, could change these narratives. “Great stories take time,” reads one, depicting a stylish woman in sunglasses with flowing white hair.

In Spanish, the word for retirement is “jubilación.” Its English cognate matches what I most wish for my parents after a half-century of working: that their birthdays are not just healthy but jubilant, too. For my patient with emphysema, a dockworker originally from South America, our primary care team has painstakingly helped get his symptoms under better control. But to truly thrive, he would also need a more dignified place to live, larger public investments in indoor air quality and stronger social connections to supplant screen time. All of these seem like tall orders until I reflect on the boldness it took for him to immigrate across a continent and carve out a life for his family in the United States, like so many of our forebears. It’s that boldness our nation would have to channel to make a moonshot for health span a reality. It wouldn’t happen in weeks, months or even the next couple of years — but then again, great stories take time.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/28/opin ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
Posts: 25368
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

Trust the EVIDENCE: The Proven Best Health Changes You Can Make

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P.S. We live in a youth-obsessed world that hits those in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond — especially women — with some very destructive lies about getting older.

These lies push the toxic belief that "getting older = becoming increasingly undesirable, invisible, incapable, and doomed to suffering and disease."

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kmaherali
Posts: 25368
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

At 116, She Has Outlived Generations of Loved Ones. But Her Entire Town Has Become Family.

When the nation’s oldest person has a birthday, a California community makes sure to celebrate.

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When Edith Ceccarelli was born in February 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was president, Oklahoma had just become the nation’s 46th state and women did not yet have the right to vote.

At 116, Ms. Ceccarelli is the oldest known person in the United States and the second oldest on Earth. She has lived through two World Wars, the advent of the Ford Model T — and the two deadliest pandemics in American history.

For most of that time, she has lived in one place: Willits, a village tucked in California’s redwood forests that was once known for logging but now may be better known for Ms. Ceccarelli.

At Willits City Hall, where 100-foot redwoods tower overhead, a gold-framed photograph of Ms. Ceccarelli sits in a display case. Last year, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors proclaimed Feb. 5 as a day to celebrate the county’s favorite daughter.

ImageSaprina Rodriguez crouches while holding a framed proclamation next to a chair in which Edith Ceccarelli is seated. A cake rests on a table next to the chair. Other people, including a TV camera operator, are gathered in the room.
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Saprina Rodriguez, the mayor of Willits, presented Ms. Ceccarelli with a proclamation before her birthday celebration.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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A two-tiered cake is decorated with roses and gold numeral candles forming the number 116.
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Ms. Ceccarelli was born on Feb. 5, 1908.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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Edith Ceccarelli sits behind a table covered in roses and surrounded by balloons. A banner on the front of the table reads: “AGE is just a number! Happy 116th EDIE! We love you, HOLY SPIRIT CARE HOME”
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Ms. Ceccarelli is the oldest known person in America.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

“When she hit her hundredth birthday, the whole community was kind of in awe, and she became a bit of a local celebrity,” said Mayor Saprina Rodriguez, who at 52 is less than half Ms. Ceccarelli’s age.

Nestled in a valley surrounded by forested peaks in rural Mendocino County, in California’s North Coast region, Willits prospered from its booming lumber industry when Ms. Ceccarelli was a little girl. But that boom is long gone, and Willits remains a small, working-class community of about 5,000 people.

Because it is about 30 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, Willits has never attracted the tourists who flock to coastal destinations like Mendocino and Fort Bragg, with their Instagrammable wineries and cottages perched on seaside bluffs, along with whale-watching opportunities.

But neither of those places has Ms. Ceccarelli.

On Sunday, Willits hosted its annual celebration for its most treasured resident, who watched from the porch of her care home. It was raining, the beginning of another atmospheric river — what they just called downpours for most of Ms. Ceccarelli’s life — but nobody in Willits gave a thought to canceling the annual festivities.

A parade of flashing police cruisers and fire trucks passed by. Then a garbage truck. Sedans adorned with garlands, balloons and flowers followed, ferrying residents who waved and sang to their beloved Edie.

“She’s a local icon,” said Suzanne Picetti-Johnson, a longtime Willits resident who had donned a rain jacket and beanie and was directing an S.U.V. with “Happy Sweet 116!” scrawled on its rear window. “She’s always been just a total delight, and we’re thrilled to celebrate her one more year.”

On Feb. 5, 1908, Edith Recagno was delivered by her aunt in a house in Willits that her father had built by hand. The home had no electricity or running water, so a hand-dug well provided the family with drinking water and, in lieu of a refrigerator, a cool place to hang milk and meat.

She was the first of seven children born to Agostino and Maria Recagno, who were Italian immigrants drawn to Mendocino County by opportunity. Willits, where bright green moss covers tree trunks and giant ferns unfurl along the banks of icy creeks, was settled by pioneering ranchers in the 1850s as fortune-seekers flocked to California during the Gold Rush.

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Horses graze in a meadow with trees beyond and mist rising in front of wooded hills in the distance.
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Mendocino County was settled by ranchers.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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People sit at high-top and standard tables in a cafe with a service counter at the right, artwork on the brick walls, a stamped tin ceiling and a plank floor.
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Local residents gather at the Brickhouse Coffee in Willits, Calif. In 1911, the building housed the Bank of Willits.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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An arch extends across a roadway with signs reading “WILLITS” and “GATEWAY TO THE REDWOODS” attached to it.
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Willits is in a valley surrounded by forested peaks in rural Mendocino County.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

But then big trees became big business here. Groves of ancient redwoods and other trees were chopped down and sent south to help build a fast-growing San Francisco. Ms. Ceccarelli’s father worked as a carpenter to extend the railroad to Willits, which by the early 1900s allowed Bay Area tourists to come and vacation in the Redwood Empire’s crisp mountain air. For $2.50 a night, guests at the 100-room Hotel Willits enjoyed on-site tennis courts, a bowling alley and a dining room known as the finest north of San Francisco.

Growing up, Ms. Ceccarelli played basketball, tennis and saxophone — her mother had to save up money to buy the instrument — and she loved to sing and dance. She recalled that her father, who opened a grocery store in Willits in 1916, would chop firewood and haul it home after work.

“He would sit with us after dinner and help us read,” Ms. Ceccarelli once wrote. “He only had a third-grade education, but he was smart. I can still see the oil lamp on the table where we read.”

From there, Ms. Ceccarelli’s life unfolded like many others. She married her high school sweetheart, Elmer Keenan, when she was 25, and they moved to nearby Santa Rosa, where he took a job as a typesetter at The Press Democrat newspaper. The couple soon adopted a baby daughter. In 1971, after her husband retired, the pair returned to Willits.

Ms. Ceccarelli continued to age, but not everyone in her life was so lucky. Her husband died in 1984, after more than 50 years of marriage. Ms. Ceccarelli remarried, and her second husband, Charles Ceccarelli, died in 1990. Her daughter died, at age 64, in 2003. Ms. Ceccarelli has since outlived her six younger siblings, as well as her three granddaughters, who each died in their 40s because of a genetic condition.

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Color photos in an album with cursive writing under each one.
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One of Ms. Ceccarelli’s albums shows photos from 1989, when she was a youthful 81 years old.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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An arrangement of items including framed photos, a makeup kit, eyeglasses and a teacup and saucer.
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Ms. Ceccarelli’s bedroom at the Holy Spirit Residential Care Home has mementos from her life.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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A person’s hands hold a photo album in which black-and-white photos are mounted with cursive writing around them.
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Black-and-white family photo albums are captioned in Ms. Ceccarelli’s cursive.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

“They’re all gone — they’ve been gone for years and years,” Evelyn Persico, 84, said while thumbing through black-and-white photo albums captioned in Ms. Ceccarelli’s cursive. Ms. Persico, who is married to Ms. Ceccarelli’s second cousin and lives on a ranch in Willits, is one of her few remaining relatives.

So when her 100th birthday approached in 2008, Ms. Ceccarelli herself extended the invitation to all of Willits. Despite decades of change, such as the 101 highway cutting through Main Street and the growth of marijuana farms, Willits remained a tight-knit community. The elegant Ms. Ceccarelli had become known for never missing a dance at the senior center and for her daily walks through town.

Wearing a fuchsia suit and heels, she waltzed alongside more than 500 people who had come to celebrate her new status as a centenarian, and a tiara was placed on her white hair by the mayor at the time.

From then on, Ms. Ceccarelli’s birthday each year has been marked by a party, a lunch or, in the Covid era, a parade, open to all Willits residents. Often wearing a colorful scarf and pearls, she would pass on her wisdom on how to live a long life: “Have a couple of fingers of red wine with your dinner, and mind your own business.”

Other years, she would regale guests with stories of bygone days, of meeting a man who had lunched with Abraham Lincoln or of hearing all the bells in Willits ring on Nov. 11, 1918, signaling the end of World War I.

“I like the small town, you know more people,” Ms. Ceccarelli told the local paper just before her 107th birthday party. “You go to a big city, you don’t know anybody.”

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A young boy wearing a tuxedo and holding a cowboy hat and a light blue garland stands in a white S.U.V. so that he emerges through the moon roof. Two women and a young girl are inside the S.U.V., which is decorated with garlands and balloons.
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On Sunday, Willits hosted its annual birthday celebration for Ms. Ceccarelli, who watched from the porch of her care home as a parade drove by.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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A woman places a blue hat on the head of Edith Ceccarelli, who is seated. Pink roses are slightly blurred in the foreground.
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“I like the small town, you know more people,” Ms. Ceccarelli told the local paper just before her 107th birthday party. “You go to a big city, you don’t know anybody.”Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

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A crouching woman and a young girl hold a handmade sign reading “Edie 116” in front of a canopy under which people have gathered.
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Several generations of local residents turn out for Ms. Ceccarelli’s annual birthday celebration.Credit...Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

When her longtime dance partner and companion died, she turned again to Willits for support. She put an ad in the local paper:

“I, Edith Ceccarelli, also known as ‘Edie’ by her family and a multitude of friends, would like to keep on dancing,” she wrote in 2012. “Dancing keeps your limbs strong. What is nicer than holding a lovely lady in your arms and dancing a beautiful waltz or two-step together?

“Try it, you will like it,” she added, along with her phone number. She was 104 at the time.

Ms. Ceccarelli lived on her own until she was 107, and then moved into a residential care home in Willits. She has now lived 37 years longer than American women on average. The only person known to be older than her is Maria Branyas Morera, who lives in Spain, but was born in San Francisco 11 months before Ms. Ceccarelli.

The town has taken over the planning of her birthday parties, as her dementia has recently advanced, so she isn’t always aware of what is happening. On the morning of her party, she seemed satisfied to learn that everyone was there for her. She enjoyed a taste of her carrot cake adorned with “116.”

“I just marvel at her,” said Ms. Persico, who greeted Ms. Ceccarelli that day with a kiss on the forehead. “I can’t believe that this little Italian baby has such an amazing record for longevity, coming from such a small town like we are.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/07/us/e ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

2024 DSM Seniors Celebrate Valentine Day

This Dar Es Salaam Seniors Celebrating Valentin Day at Diamond Jubilee Hall Video, the event was organized by Dar Es Salaam Senior Citizen Committee. The video includes live music by Verdas Musicians, exercise for seniors conducted by Rama plus few live stage shows and musical comedies. The seniors were also provided with delicious buffet lunch prepared by BBQ Village Restaurant. Enjoy the video, please forward to your family and friends, don't forget to click Thumps Up sign and subscribe, thank you. Stay healthy, happy and enjoy life, tc.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf7v3itW9o8
kmaherali
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Why Do We Age?

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Scientists are investigating how our biology changes as the years add up, and whether there are ways to stop it.

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According to some estimates, consumers spend $62 billion a year on “anti-aging” treatments. But while creams, hair dyes and Botox can give the impression of youth, none of them can roll back the hands of time.

Scientists are working to understand the biological causes of aging in the hope of one day being able to offer tools to slow or stop its visible signs and, more important, age-related diseases. These underlying mechanisms are often called “the hallmarks of aging.” Many fall into two broad categories: general wear and tear on a cellular level, and the body’s decreasing ability to remove old or dysfunctional cells and proteins.

“The crucial thing about the hallmarks is that they are things that go wrong during aging, and if you reverse them,” you stand to live longer or be healthier while you age, said Dame Linda Partridge, a professorial research fellow in the division of biosciences at University College London who helped develop the aging hallmarks framework.

So far, the research has primarily been conducted in animals, but experts are gradually expanding into humans. In the meantime, understanding how aging works can help us put advice and information about the latest “breakthrough” into context, said Venki Ramakrishnan, a biochemist and Nobel laureate who wrote about many of the hallmarks of aging in his new book, “Why We Die: The New Science of Aging and the Quest for Immortality.”

We asked experts about the hallmarks of aging, how they can lead to disease and how scientists are attempting to modify them. Not all of the hallmarks are listed here, but two of the main themes are highlighted below.

Wear and Tear

Many age-related changes start with our cells, and even our genes, acquiring damage and acting up as we get older.

Problems with DNA

While we think of our genes as being set from birth, DNA does accumulate changes over the years. Sometimes errors are introduced when a cell divides, a spontaneous typo emerging when the DNA is copied and pasted from one cell into another. Mutations can also occur as a result of environmental exposures, like ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Our cells have ways to repair these genetic mutations, but they become less efficient with age, which means the mistakes can pile up. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why our DNA repair mechanisms decline. “That’s a $1 billion question,” said Andrew Dillin, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. “All we know is that the efficiency goes down with age.”

The main consequence of this is that cells stop working properly and get flagged as garbage (more on this later). In the worst-case scenarios, mutations can occur in genes that suppress tumors, leading to the onset of cancer.

Problems with the chromosomes

Every time a cell replicates and its DNA is copied, the ends of its chromosomes get a little shorter. These special parts of the genome are called telomeres and are often likened to the plastic caps on the ends of shoelaces that prevent them from unraveling.

Once a cell’s telomeres get too short, it stops dividing. This process is healthy when we’re young, because it helps prevent cells from replicating forever and turning cancerous. But as we age, telomere shortening becomes a problem, particularly in stem cells, which the body uses to replenish skin, blood and other tissues.

Stem cells have a special tool to combat this, but eventually even they lose their telomeres. When that happens, “they can no longer divide, and so you lose your stem cell populations,” Dr. Dillin said.

Stem cell depletion is a major contributor to some of the physical signs of aging, including gray hair and thinner, less elastic skin. Some skin care products claim to replace your stem cells, but there is little evidence that they work.

Problems with the epigenome

Other changes occur through what’s known as epigenetics — chemical modifications to the genome that influence which genes are turned on or off in a cell. Some epigenetic changes occur naturally as we develop, while others are brought on by our environment. Some experts say that epigenetic changes can be used to determine a person’s “biological age.”

Scientists have discovered that many of the epigenetic mechanisms that help control the activity and even the identity of our cells start to degrade with age. If this happens in too many cells, it can affect organ health and function. For example, epigenetic changes in heart cells can contribute to thickened arteries or a reduced ability for the heart to respond positively to exercise.

There is currently a flurry of anti-aging research looking at epigenetic changes because they are more easily reversible than something like DNA mutations, said Dr. Eric Verdin, the president of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

Problems with the mitochondria

A critical component of cell health is energy production, which comes from the mitochondria — the power plant of the cell. As we age, mitochondria also stop working as well as before, becoming less efficient and creating less energy.

“If you’re not generating enough energy, all of a sudden all of the other cellular processes are not going to function as efficiently,” said Dr. Verdin, who is involved with two companies pursuing anti-aging drugs.

Changes in cellular energy can affect other aspects of a cell’s health, including epigenetics, Dr. Dillin said. Damaged mitochondria can also leak out of the cell, causing inflammation — another aspect of aging that is associated with many chronic health conditions.

Regular exercise — experts’ top recommendation for how to age well — is one of the best ways to improve mitochondrial health.

Garbage Disposal Issues

Not only do faulty cells build up with age because of the problems mentioned above, but the body’s way of disposing of them also goes awry.

Problems disposing of bad cells

One of the most important ways malfunctioning cells are dealt with is by relegating them to a state known as senescence. These cells stop dividing, and they start to secrete inflammatory chemicals that signal to the immune system to dispose of them.

Ordinarily, this isn’t a problem — in fact, it’s a necessary part of normal cell turnover — but as we age, two things happen. First, there are more cells that need to be discarded. Second, the disposal system starts to break down. As a result, senescent cells build up, causing ever more inflammation.

“When we’re young, normally our immune system is able to deal with the senescent cells,” said Matthew Kaeberlein, the chief executive officer of the longevity company Optispan and the former director of the University of Washington Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute. “But as we get older, in part because of chronic inflammation, our immune system isn’t able to do that anymore. So you get this accumulation of senescent cells, which then drives more damage, more inflammation, less immune function.”

Scientists are exploring ways to enhance the disposal of senescent cells with a class of drugs known as senolytics, though the research is still in preliminary stages.

Problems disposing of bad proteins

Most cells carry out their functions via the proteins they create. If DNA is the blueprint for a house, and cells are the construction workers, then proteins are the wood, nails and drywall.

It’s normal for proteins to get messed up — they’re often called misfolded proteins — and there are lots of ways to fix them. But, again, those processes start to decline as we age, and misfolded proteins accumulate and cause problems. One notable disease that’s associated with bad proteins is Alzheimer’s, where amyloid and tau form plaques and tangles in the brain.

One way the body disposes of misfolded proteins, as well as other malfunctioning parts of cells, is through a process known as autophagy, which means “self eating” in Greek. “Autophagy is the process by which all these defective things in the cell are destroyed,” Dr. Ramakrishnan said. “And if you interfere with that mechanism, you get this pileup of, essentially, garbage in the cell, which itself causes stress and causes aging.”

Autophagy declines with age. Some drugs that are being studied for their effect on aging, most notably rapamycin, increase the process. However, in large doses rapamycin suppresses the immune response (it’s primarily used to prevent organ transplant rejection), so some researchers are concerned about healthy people taking the drug.

The experts agreed that experimental anti-aging therapies are not yet ready for widespread use, though they’re optimistic about the future of the field. “So far, I would say the winds haven’t been particularly quick, but there will be breakthroughs,” Dr. Partridge said. For now, she added, the best thing that people can do to age well is adopt healthy lifestyle habits, like exercise and good nutrition.

A correction was made on March 20, 2024: A previous version of this article misstated the name of the organization where Dr. Verdin works. It’s the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, not the Buck Institute on Aging.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/20/well ... y-dna.html

---------------------------------------------
A Guide to Aging Well

Looking to grow old gracefully? We can help.

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The sun’s rays cause the majority of skin changes as you grow older. Here’s how sunscreen helps prevent the damage. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/15/well ... ide_recirc

Joint pain, stiffness and swelling aren’t always inevitable results of aging, experts say. Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk for arthritis. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/18/well ... ide_recirc
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Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

At 101 years old, I’m the ‘world’s oldest practicing doctor’: My No. 1 rule for keeping your brain sharp

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I've been a practicing doctor and neurologist for more than seven decades. And at 101 years old, people often ask me how I keep my brain sharp.

Good genes and a bit of luck can give you a head start, but there is one principle I live by that anyone can implement: Keep your mind engaged through work, social and entertainment activities.

As we age, we go through natural changes that affect our mental processing abilities. Some areas of the brain may shrink, communication between neurons may become less effective, and blood flow may decrease.

But like any other muscle in the body, our mind needs consistent exercise to thrive. I use three daily rituals to boost my brain health.

1. I go to work.

Research shows a correlation between retiring and increased cognitive decline — which is why I still haven't retired.
I was named the world's oldest practicing doctor by the Guinness World Records. Sara, my wife of 66 years, also still practices psychoanalysis and psychiatry at age 89.

My job requires me to review a number of medical subjects and think through problems. Staying up to date with the latest advancements in neurology keeps my brain busy.

Volunteering, pursuing a hobby and learning new skills can provide great mental stimulation. In my early 60s, for example, I attended law school at night, after conducting my full-time medical practice. I passed the Ohio Bar Exam at 67.

2. I stay social.

Research has indicated that strong relationships may help maintain our memory and cognitive function.

Unfortunately, at my age, many of my closest friends, family members and colleagues have passed away. But I am fortunate that my job has allowed me to build relationships with younger colleagues.

Sara and I also make it a priority to have dinner with people in our community.

At least twice a week, we eat with my daughter and her husband and my son and his wife. We enjoy trying new restaurants with friends and colleagues, too.

3. I read for entertainment.

When I'm not reading about the latest advancements and treatments in neurology, I like to read biographies and detective stories.

Immersing yourself in a good book, fiction or non-fiction, requires your brain to process a bulk of new information. I believe this is key to keeping your mind sharp.

Dr. Howard Tucker is a neurologist from Cleveland, Ohio and was named the "Oldest Practicing Doctor″ by Guinness World Records. He received his law degree and passed the Ohio Bar Exam in his late 60s, and served as chief of neurology of the Atlantic fleet during the Korean War. A feature documentary about Dr. Tucker is in the works. Follow him on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/health/other/ ... 9b36&ei=37
kmaherali
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Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

Scientists have discovered the maximum age a human can live to

Research conducted in The Netherlands has found that the maximum ceiling life span for a female is 115.7 years.

For men, it is slightly lower at 114.1 years but even so, that's a long time.

This conclusion was come to by statisticians at Tilburg and Rotterdam's Erasmus University who studied data from 75,000 people who have died in the Netherlands in the last 30 years.

One of the three scientists who conducted the research, Professor John Einmahl, is quoted by Medical Express as saying:

"On average, people live longer, but the very oldest among us have not gotten older over the last thirty years. There is certainly some kind of a wall here. Of course, the average life expectancy has increased. Nevertheless, the maximum ceiling hasn't changed."
Just to make things clear this isn't about life expectancy but lifespan, which is used to determine how long a single individual can live as long as they look after themselves.

These findings correlate with a study carried out in America, where a similar lifespan bracket was discovered by researchers.

They determined that a person's maximum lifespan plateaus in their nineties and was unlikely to ever increase beyond 115.

These numbers fly in the face of French woman Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived for a staggering 122 years.

The world record holder is the oldest person to have ever lived, having been born in 1875 and passing away in 1997.

Whether her achievement will ever be topped in unknown but Einmahl is aiming to have his study published in the next month or so, which may reveal the key to a longer life.

Anyway, it's nice to know Oasis lied when they said "you and I are gonna live forever...".

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/travel/news/s ... 7e2e&ei=59
kmaherali
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Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

Age at which you're officially old has changed

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At what age do you think old age begins? (Picture: Getty)

They say ageing is all in the mind, and according to a recent study, that might just be true.

A new study published by the American Psychological Association has revealed that middle-aged and older adults believe that old age begins later in life than their peers did decades ago.

Researchers looked at data from 14,056 participants in the German Ageing Survey and found that compared with the earliest-born participants, later-born participants reported a later perceived onset of old age.

The survey covered people born between 1911 and 1974, and saw participants respond to a survey eight times after the age of 25 when they were between 40 and 100 years old.

When participants who were born in 1911 were 65 years old, they said the beginning of old age was 71.

However, participants born in 1956 said old age begins at 74, on average, when they were 65.

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Old age begins later the older you become (Picture: Getty)

In recent years, the trend toward a later perceived onset of old age has slowed.

Researchers also noted how individual’s perceptions of old age changed as they got older, and as participants aged, their idea of old age became more pushed out.

For example, at age 64, the average participant said old age started at 74.7 but at 74, they said old age started at 76.8.

On average, the perceived start of old age increased by about one year for every four to five years of actual ageing.

The researchers also discovered that women said old age began two years later than men, and that difference increased over time.

They also found that people who reported being more lonely, in worse health, and feeling older said old age began earlier on average than those who were less lonely, in better health and felt younger.

Study author Dr Markus Wettstein: ‘Life expectancy has increased, which might contribute to a later perceived onset of old age.

‘Also, some aspects of health have improved over time, so that people of a certain age who were regarded as old in the past may no longer be considered old nowadays.’

The researchers suggest that the results may have implications for when and how people prepare for old age.

‘It is unclear to what extent the trend towards postponing old age reflects a trend towards more positive views on older people and ageing, or rather the opposite,’ said Dr Wettstein.

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Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

These Couples Survived a Lot. Then Came Retirement.
For many relationships, life after work brings an unexpected set of challenges.

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Richard and Yvonne McCracken, who have had to figure out how to share their space since retiring.Credit...David Hilliard for The New York Times

This spring, Barbara and Joe, a retired couple in their 60s, sat down with me at a bistro in suburban Connecticut to talk about their relationship. That they were sitting there together at all was something of a triumph. In the past few days, they had hurled at each other the kinds of accusations that couples make when they are on the brink of mutual destruction. They were bruised from the words that had been exchanged, and although they sat close to each other, their energy was quiet and heavy.

Barbara and Joe met 13 years ago, two divorced people who had relentlessly climbed their way up from working-class backgrounds. Barbara rose to be the vice president of a wholesale apparel business before moving into retail, then winding down her career; to keep herself busy, she sells clothing online a few hours a day. Joe co-founded a delivery business that he sold in 2021 for an amount that meant he would never have to work again; he retired in January last year. He and Barbara had time; they had money; they had leisure. They also had a problem: They were driving each other mad.

Barbara briefed me on her experience before we met in person. Since retirement, she reported, Joe had found himself untethered. He was underfoot, always around and not exactly occupied. It was bad enough that he was spending hours on his phone scrolling through Instagram, bad enough that he was doing so on a couch in the living room, a space that had always been hers and hers alone throughout the day. Now he also wanted her to look at the funny dog videos that made him laugh, and yes, funny pig videos too. She did not find this particularly sexy, but he also wanted more sex than when he was working, one of many ways she felt the burden of keeping him entertained. “Love him very much,” she texted. “But I’m going crazy or going back to work, whichever comes first.”

At lunch that day, Joe wore a pink flannel shirt that suited him and had clearly been picked out by someone with a tasteful eye. He seemed nervous about discussing his relationship, which reflected just one of the many differences the couple had to negotiate: Barbara was frank and open by nature; Joe was more private (which is why they’ve requested that only their first names be used).

For years, Joe said, he had been monomaniacally focused on his exit — on selling the business. He had given almost no thought to what his life would look like once he finally did. “I had visions of going to the gym,” he said. That turned out to take up no more than an hour of his day. Then what? He was at something of a loss. “It’s been a kind of transition trying to move away from people that were like my second family,” he said. “It’s been a little enlightening that once you’re gone, you’re gone.”

A life transition as significant as marrying or having children, retirement is a stage that many couples anticipate with little of the trepidation those earlier choices inspired. They look forward to it as a reward for years of hard work — a long vacation, full of agency and freedom, to enjoy as long as their bodies hold up. Yet retirement, like any major transition, often entails destabilizing shifts that take many people by surprise. Although it’s still rare for married couples over 60 to break up, the divorce rate is rising faster in that age group than in any other, as baby boomers accustomed to self-actualization reach retirement age and evaluate their lives anew.

“The relationship can have an identity crisis,” says Allison Howe, a therapist who works primarily with couples in New York. Howe says retirement is a time when the issues that couples have been avoiding — aided by the distractions of work or child rearing or both — come roaring to the forefront. “There are disagreements now about how to envision this new stage of life,” she says. “The retirement phase amplifies everything, actually — the absence of true collaboration, whether they were really friends, whether they had a shared narrative. All of these things get heightened now because we have less time.”

Couples have less time on a grand scale while contending, suddenly, with more free time in their waking hours. Many disagree on how to spend it. “I can do anything I want, but lack an activity partner,” reported Danny Steiner, a recently retired 70-year-old high school teacher whose wife does not share his passion for travel — a difference that really manifested only once it was an option. More time can lay bare the reality that some couples did better with less of it. “Being together just does not feel as special as it once did,” said Martha Battie, a retired college administrator in Hanover, N.H. “Whatever conversations or sharing we have seems to be forgotten, or not really heard from the start.” And more time means more exposure to whatever irritating habits were easily endured in smaller doses. Among the things that grated on her, Barbara had texted, was that Joe “mansplains everything.” He had always been that way, she knew, but now she had to deal with so much more of it.

After some 50 years of marriage, decades during which she often wished her husband worked fewer hours, Yvonne McCracken, at age 73, found herself hoping that the office might reclaim him. When her husband, Richard McCracken, retired from the business he built, Yvonne was still working from their home in Charlotte, N.C., as a quality-assurance specialist for a network of research sites, and she could feel him hovering near her desk off the kitchen as he did busy work on his laptop.

Having left her largely in charge, for most of their marriage, of raising two daughters, dealing with the home and managing her own career, Richard now seemed to have had some late-in-life revelation that his wife could clearly benefit from his input. He had ideas about how she should manage her team, which he sometimes shared after she completed Zoom calls: She should have told them to solve a problem a certain way, or given them more direction. The advice irritated Yvonne, who is not a fan of micromanagement (of herself or others). “I’m a very private person,” Yvonne said, “and the fact that he was even listening to my phone calls was, my God, it was like: I can’t believe you’re doing this. What? Why are you here?” Sometimes he walked past her computer and waved and smiled and mugged for her co-workers, which annoyed her just as much as his unsolicited counsel.

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Yvonne reaches up to a tree.
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Richard next to a tree with a leaf blower.
Yvonne and Richard McCracken.Credit...David Hilliard for The New York Times

She wondered: Was this what he was like as a boss at the business he ran? She supposed so. She had never given her husband’s work persona much thought. That part of his life was separate from her own, but instead of receding now that he was retired, it seemed to be taking up even more space. When Richard started picking up consulting work to stave off his own restlessness, he took over their kitchen, spreading papers and folders on various surfaces and leaving half-filled coffee cups and laptop chargers lying around. “It destroys the energy in the house,” Yvonne said. She told me they had agreed that he could no longer work in the kitchen; Richard seemed to have the impression that he had simply promised to clean up at the end of each day. He told me that his wife was becoming a minimalist. “I’m kind of the opposite,” he said. “I always tend to spread out — like mold.”

The couple had coexisted on separate tracks for many years, so much so that even the sweet moments of retirement, like weekends with their grandchildren, to whom Richard was devoted, kicked up feelings of regret and loss for Yvonne. As a working mother, she had done the large part of the child rearing on her own, without a fully invested partner. “He’ll say to me about the grandchildren, Wow, they’re so bright and interesting,” she said. “And I’ll say, You know, your own children were very bright and interesting, too.” Regrets about the past were colliding with the minutiae of how they would coexist as they faced aging together.

Yvonne and Richard shared, at least, a similar vision of how to approach their finances, which can be a source of tension for many retired couples. Financial troubles can rob them of their peace of mind, and even those who are well prepared are often surprised to find that they have different instincts about how to manage their savings.

Frances and Tito Sisnett, pharmacists from California, had saved carefully for years. After they retired — Frances in 2016, Tito in 2017 — Frances was determined to hold on tight to the money they worked so hard to earn. Tito wanted to travel frequently to Panama and Barbados, where he had family. He had done the calculations and knew that with their savings and investments, they could afford it. But fear was baked into Frances’s decision-making process; at age 12, she experienced the precipitous collapse of her family’s financial security when her father died unexpectedly and her mother fell ill. No matter how many times Tito explained the math, she worried that they would run out of funds. “You’ve got to change the way you think,” Tito recalled telling her. “That was many hours of discussion.”

Eventually, they hired a financial adviser, who delivered the same assurance that Tito was already providing; Frances could accept it from a professional, and she was able to move on from what seemed like an unshakable stance.

In 2020, Frances and Tito, who felt ready to live outside the United States, moved to Panama near his family. Now they faced the question of travel in reverse: How much time were they going to spend with their grandchildren back in Maryland? Having been more reluctant to leave for Panama in the first place, Frances was now trying to build a life in their new home, which meant making a fierce commitment to spending time there. Tito, who already had strong connections in Panama, was much more eager to spend extended periods with the grandchildren.

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Tito stand with an umbrella looking up with his hand extended out.
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Frances lays in a hammock.
Tito and Frances Sisnett.Credit...David Hilliard for The New York Times

Not long after moving to Panama, Frances and Tito became friendly with Charlotte Van Horn, a fellow retiree who left a career as a legal assistant and has since built a business helping Black couples make homes there. Frances and Tito have found a way to negotiate their different preferences about travel, but sometimes, Van Horn says, the issue of how much time to spend where, and with whom, is the thing that ultimately divides previously happy couples.

“You have one person who says, I’m not leaving the grandchildren,” she told me. “And the other says: I’ve spent my whole life staying in certain places and doing certain things because I was raising my own kids. I’m not going to let someone else’s kids keep me from doing what I really want to do in life.” Van Horn has seen some couples decide that they will be apart for months of the year while visiting back and forth. “But I don’t think it’s worked,” she says. “They’re breaking up, but they’re not admitting it. It’s too painful. So they just … let it go by the wayside.”

Early in his career, John Gottman, a founder of the Gottman Institute, a center devoted to the study of successful marriages, believed that the best predictor of happiness in retirement would be a robust “second identity” for one or both members of the couple outside of work. “So if you were a mechanic but you also sang in the choir, in church on weekends, or you flew hang gliders or something like that, and it was important to you,” Gottman thought, then the pain of the loss of one identity would be dulled by the full emergence of the second.

But research over the years has found only a limited effect of a second identity on happiness in that phase of life. The much more important factor, Gottman told me, is the quality of the marriage before retirement. The Health and Retirement Study, a sweeping national research project now in its 32nd year, found that an unhappy marriage predicts unhappiness in retirement more than declines in wealth or even health, says Mo Wang, a professor at the University of Florida who studies the retirement adjustment.

Whether couples are able to help each other stretch, a concept that social scientists call “self-expansion,” also matters. Strong self-expansion skills — the ability to make new friends or pick up new interests that require dedicated learning — are correlated with everything from general well-being to even weight loss and cognitive health. Not surprising, researchers in 2020 found that couples who reported high levels of that kind of reinforcement — encouraging each other to try something new, for example — were happier and were weathering the transition much better.

Barbara told me that she had been encouraging Joe to try new things. At the same time, she clearly didn’t see it as her job to figure out for him what those things might be. She frustrated easily. She snapped often, by her own admission. Her irritation was a function of how perilously close she was to losing touch with what she admired in this tremendously industrious and competent partner. “My friends tell me I’m going to lose him,” Barbara said. “They tell me, You have to be nicer. But … I just can’t. I am who I am. After all these years, I can’t change.”

At lunch, Joe said that there were, in fact, things he would like to be doing with his time, if he could only get motivated to focus on them. “I always wanted to play guitar,” he said. “I’m like a music banana.”

“He is,” Barbara confirmed. (She seemed to know that this meant he was a music enthusiast.)

“I’ve tried a few times,” he said, “and I never could make it stick.” He had looked at a few guitar classes online, to no avail, even though he said that once he commits to a project, he really commits. “Usually, I’m pretty good once I get going,” he said. (“He is,” Barbara confirmed.) “It’s just, now I don’t.” And that was where they had left it: Joe paralyzed. Barbara annoyed, for months now.

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Joe sits in a chair with his foot on an amp.
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Barbara sits at a table.

Joe and Barbara.Credit...David Hilliard for The New York Times

Couldn’t a guitar instructor visit the house one day a week? Provide some focus, some company, some structure?

Barbara and Joe seemed to brighten at the thought. That was something he could do. Maybe there were other things they could do too, like rethink how they used space if they were always in each other’s way. Barbara had complained that when she was online in their living room, trying to post garments on eBay, she could feel Joe’s presence in a way that was unnerving, even when he was ignoring her.

Wasn’t his office upstairs empty? What if she worked there for a few discrete hours a day, so that expectations all around were clear?

“If I go up there,” Barbara said, “it’s almost like saying, OK, you want me to be away.” She thought this over. Maybe she wasn’t the only one who needed the space. Maybe Joe wanted some, too. “I do,” he said.

“OK,” Barbara said, “well, we never really discussed this.” She suddenly saw not just her perception of Joe but his perception of her. She was overcome with remorse about how she had been talking to him. “I tell people stories about what’s going on between us, expecting sympathy, and they’re like, What’s wrong with you?” she admitted.

As they spoke, it became clear that they were each struggling with the reality that Joe was feeling something close to depression. He had taken it very hard when he had lunch with some former colleagues, people still working long hours at the business, and had the sense that once they said their farewells after the meal, they would rarely give him another thought. Seeing that vulnerability moved Barbara. For Joe, retirement meant looking back on the totality of his life and trying to weigh what all that effort had added up to. What did it mean?

In the weeks after our conversation, Joe and Barbara seemed to pull themselves back from the brink. It took him some time, but Joe had, on his own, found a guitar instructor. He spent hours on the phone with Barbara’s ex-husband, an avid musician, talking about how to tune and clamp the instrument. After the instructor came and gave Joe his first lesson, he was even more enthusiastic. Since then, he had been working for hours on the song he was learning, Pearl Jam’s cover of “Last Kiss.”

Barbara loved hearing it. She was reflecting on how she had always prided herself on being strong, on being independent, her response to a hardscrabble childhood in which she was overlooked. “You know, I just want to do what I want to do,” she said. “I’m not someone who’s going to feel tremendous guilt about not doing something I don’t want to do.” But she was moving away from her insistence that she couldn’t change, that she wouldn’t change, to a recognition that maybe she could and should, even if it took effort. “The thought of him not being around, of being with someone else, makes me think: What are these big sacrifices I’m making? The big sacrifice would be if we weren’t together.”

Read by Kirsten PotterNarration produced by Anna DiamondEngineered by Ted Blaisdell

David Hilliard is an artist and educator from Boston. He creates narrative multipaneled photographs, often based on his life or the lives of people around him.

Susan Dominus is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. In 2018, she was part of a team that reported on workplace sexual harassment issues and won a Pulitzer Prize for public service. More about Susan Dominus

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/05/maga ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
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Re: THE ELDERLY

Post by kmaherali »

Morrie Markoff, Listed as Oldest Man in the U.S., Dies at 110

A rare supercentenarian, he remained remarkably lucid after 11 decades, even maintaining a blog. His brain has been donated for research on what’s known as super-aging.

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Morrie Markoff, a supercentenarian blogger and scrap-metal sculptor who was believed to be the oldest man in the United States and whose brain has been donated for research on what is known as super-aging, died on June 3 at his home in downtown Los Angeles. He was 110.

He had two strokes in recent weeks, his daughter, Judith Markoff Hansen, said in confirming his death.

People who live to be 110 or older are considered supercentenarians, and the Gerontology Research Group, in Los Angeles, lists more than 150 of them around the world.

Mr. Markoff, who was born in New York City on Jan. 11, 1914, six months before World War I began, joined the club this year and was regarded as the oldest living man in the United States after the death in January of Francis Zouein, at 113, in California.

As of April, the oldest living man in the world is believed to be John Alfred Tinniswood, of England, at 111, according to Guinness World Records. (Guinness lists María Branyas Morera, a California native who lives in Spain, as the oldest woman in the world, at 117.)

//How The Times decides who gets an obituary. There is no formula, scoring system or checklist in determining the news value of a life. We investigate, research and ask around before settling on our subjects. If you know of someone who might be a candidate for a Times obituary, please suggest it here.

//Learn more about our process.

When Mr. Markoff heard the news of his rise to the top of the list, “He just smiled and said, ‘Well, someone’s got to be there,’” his daughter said in an interview.

He was notable not only for his longevity but also for his unusual lucidity for his age. Up to his final months, he pored over The Los Angeles Times every morning, discussed the war in Ukraine and other world events and posted dispatches about his life on his blog.

“He believed that if he kept active, he would live, and he really wanted to live,’” Ms. Hansen said.

Mr. Markoff soared over the bar of what researchers designate a super-ager — a person over 80 whose brain seems decades younger. And that made his brain highly valuable to research, said Tish Hevel, chief executive of the Brain Donor Project, a nonprofit in Naples, Fla., that is affiliated with the National Institutes of Health.

“There is a critical need for this tissue for neuroscience research,” Ms. Hevel said. “One in five of us now has some kind of neurological disease or disorder, so many of which develop late in life. Scientists stand to learn so much from Mr. Markoff’s tissue about remaining healthy far into old age. It is an incredible gift he gives us.”

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A close-up portrait of Mr. Markoff outdoors with gray hair and bushy gray eyebrows while wearing a plaid shirt.
Credit...via Markoff family

Morris Markoff was born in an East Harlem tenement, one of four children of Max and Rose Markoff, Jewish immigrants from Russia. His father was a cabinet maker. His mother “was a peddler selling kitchen stuff,” Mr. Markoff once said in an interview posted on his blog.

His boyhood family of six shared a 400-square-foot apartment that had no closets, hot water or toilet (they used one in the hall) and was infested with vermin and bed bugs. “The burning of bed springs was a yearly ritual among tenement dwellers,” he wrote in a 2017 autobiography, “Keep Breathing: Recollections From a 103-Year-Old.”

He overcame infection during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which claimed the life of a brother. He remained in school through the eighth grade before training as a machinist.

In the late 1930s, Mr. Markoff moved to Los Angeles to take a job with a vacuum cleaner company. He arranged for his girlfriend, Betty Goldmintz, to move from New York, and the couple married on Nov. 4, 1938. They remained together for 81 years, until her death in 2019.

Mr. Markoff later took a new job with the company in San Francisco but was transferred back to Los Angeles before World War II. In 1943, he worked as a machinist for a defense contractor that made artillery shells. After the war, he and a partner opened a series of small-appliance businesses in Los Angeles.

Mr. Markoff, a photography enthusiast, discovered a passion for sculpting while fixing a toilet in 1960; as he removed a broken copper float, he saw that it resembled a ballerina’s tutu, so he cut the float in half, soldered on some screening “and, ‘voilà,’ it was a ballet dancer raising one leg in a practice motion,” he wrote in his memoir. “I had created something.” He had his first gallery exhibition, in Los Angeles, at 100.

Mr. Markoff was only days from death and no longer lucid when his daughter decided that his brain should go to science; he had expressed support for organ donation, she said. It is believed to be the oldest cognitively healthy brain ever donated, Ms. Hevel said.

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Mr. Markoff wearing a red sweater and sitting in front of a plate of food while holding up his right thumb as several people behind him hold up gold balloons of the numbers one, zero and nine.
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Mr. Markoff celebrating his 109th birthday with his family at his home. He wrote on his blog that he believed luck was a factor in his longevity.Credit...Steve Lopez/Los Angeles Times

Mr. Markoff attributed his longevity to regular walking; he and his wife, who lived to 103, often completed three miles a day into their 90s, holding hands, they joked, “to keep themselves up,” his daughter said. He believed in eating simply, rarely drank alcohol and avoided water in plastic bottles.

“They believed those bottles were poison,” Ms. Hansen said. When public health concerns about some bottles began to arise, she added, “he called me and said: “J, did you read the newspaper? We were ahead of our time.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/11/us/m ... 778d3e6de3
kmaherali
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

The keys to vibrant longevity

Post by kmaherali »

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