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Not Your Mother's Genes?

Not Your Mother's Genes?
I once had a discussion with a friend, who is a geneticist, about his research. Perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek, I suggested that he rethink his current cell experiments and instead study someone healthy—like me. I consider myself to have an exceptional immune system, passed down from my mother and now, in turn, passed to my daughters.  Read more...


 

Dementia in Films: Getting It Wrong

Dementia in Films: Getting It Wrong
Fiona, a woman in her 70s living with Alzheimer’s disease, announces to her husband, Grant, “We are at that stage.” She means the point at which she belongs in a nursing home. Her husband, like almost all family caregivers, finds it hard to take that step. But Fiona says, “You don’t have to make that decision alone, Grant, I’ve already made up my mind.” That’s a shocking statement, in part because people with dementia find making decisions difficult.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
Despite the current uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), it’s still the law. Everyone is required to have health insurance, either through an employer or the individual marketplace. If you want to make changes to your existing health plan or sign up for a new one, you only have 45 days to do so this year. Open enrollment began November 1 and runs through December 15, 2017.  Read more...


 

If Aging Is So Awful, How Come No One Wants to Be Younger?

If Aging Is So Awful, How Come No One Wants to Be Younger?
You hear people say “I wish I were young again” all the time. Yet I’ve never met anyone who would actually choose to move their game piece back on the board unless they could transport their present-day consciousness along with it. No one actually wants to be younger, despite a lifetime of being bombarded by messages that old = awful and “it’s all going to suck.”  Read more...


 

Ageist Trolls on Social Media and in the New Yorker Too

Ageist Trolls on Social Media and in the <em>New Yorker</em> Too
The Internet is notorious for commenters who feel grossly entitled to dismiss vulnerable others. This past summer, Harvard University hit hard against racist and sexist speech on Facebook, rescinding admissions to some potential first-year students.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
Chronic loneliness affects more than 42 million people in the United States—more than one-third of the population. It’s becoming an epidemic—as big a public health threat as obesity, say researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU). And it could even increase your risk of dying early from dementia, depression, falls, high blood pressure or other serious health conditions.  Read more...


 

Dementia in Films: Getting It Right

Dementia in Films: Getting It Right
I loved the novel Still Alice because it was an accurate portrayal of Alzheimer’s disease. And the movie Still Alice got it right too.

I lead support groups for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s so I was eager to find out what they thought of the movie.  Read more...


 

My Car Still Needs Me

My Car Still Needs Me
For years, I loved the idea of a self-driving car. I could hardly wait until they were available because so many friends my age (over 80) had been forced to give up driving. I didn’t want to be next.  Read more...


 

Lying to Mom?

Lying to Mom?
A few years ago, a New York Times New Old Age blog had me thinking about my mother's later-life driving. The blog is about lying to an older person, ostensibly for his or her own good. In one tale, a grown daughter sabotages her mother's driver's license renewal to avoid confrontation over concerns about waning driving skills.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
…how drinking coffee may help us live longer. Coffee lovers, rejoice. In the largest look so far at the effects of drinking coffee, it turns out that those of us who drink about three cups a day may live longer than our non-coffee-drinking counterparts.  Read more...


 

Let’s Get Intergenerational!

Let’s Get Intergenerational!
A century ago, Americans didn’t need programs to connect the generations: homes and communities housed people of all ages. But as people started living longer and moving into cities, we started thinking differently about those at both ends of the age spectrum. Schooling became mandatory, child labor was outlawed and Social Security and Medicare made a secure retirement possible for millions. The benefits were significant, but so was the downside: the natural order of things was subverted, and the generations lost contact. Our society is now acutely age segregated.  Read more...


 

Helping Hands, Joined Online

Helping Hands, Joined Online
When you’re coping with the needs of someone who is hospitalized or convalescing, you may wish you could clone yourself to handle everything on your plate. Take heart—a website can become your personal assistant. What’s more, it won’t cost you a thing.  Read more...


 

What a Living Will Can—and Can’t—Do for You

What a Living Will Can—and Can’t—Do for You
My friend Anne taught me some important things about dying.

Anne had congestive heart failure. In January 2012 her cardiologist told her regretfully that she probably wouldn’t live past the end of the month, so she went home to set her affairs in order and to say her goodbyes. She made up her mind to refuse any medical procedures aimed at keeping her alive; she’d let nature take its course.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
… how to shorten the time that people live with serious illnesses. It’s a concept known as “compression of morbidity,” and it could be a literal life-changer.  Read more...


 

10 Vital Truths about Aging and Health

10 Vital Truths about Aging and Health
All around the world, people are living longer—a basic hallmark of human progress and a triumph of public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) is in the public health business, and no organization has done more to raise awareness of ageism—the biggest obstacle to meeting the challenges of population aging …. Part of the WHO’s global, anti-ageism campaign is a new list of 10 facts that correct common “Misconceptions on ageing and health.” The global perspective is instructive, and it’s making me rethink some things—including the burning question of whether to start spelling “ageing” the logical, British-and-Indian way. Here is the WHO’s list, along with my comments.  Read more...


 

The Kitchen Fire

The Kitchen Fire
In the middle of a recent night, my beloved, 84-year-old husband climbed out of his hospital bed, went to the kitchen area of the loft, found a saucepan, turned on a front burner of the stove—and accidentally started a fire, which luckily set off the smoke alarm. Nothing like this had happened during the nine years of increasing dementia that resulted from his 2004 traumatic brain injury (TBI). Why did it suddenly happen now?  Read more...


 

Weighty Issue

Weighty Issue
Are we teaching our children today what they need to know to assure good health beyond childhood and throughout their lives?  Read more...


 

What Good Are Support Groups?

What Good Are Support Groups?
This was Chester’s first time at our caregiver support group. A man in his 70s, he told us about his wife who has Alzheimer’s disease and has become anxious whenever he is out of sight.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
...the healthiest states for people over age 65. Minnesota tops the list of the healthiest places to live for older adults in 2017, according to a new report. It’s the third time in five years that the North Star State has held the top slot in America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. The report ranks each state on 34 measures that help determine overall health, including behaviors such as smoking, access to physical spaces like walking paths, preventable hospitalizations and community efforts to build healthy populations.  Read more...


 

Green Old Age

Green Old Age
A friend of mine recently questioned something she read on this website that presented what she called “a depressing view of aging.” She wondered why we’d included it if we’re determined to challenge ageism—which has been defined as “prejudicial attitudes toward older people, old age and aging itself.” Shouldn’t we present an entirely positive view of life’s later years?  Read more...


 

What Does ‘Old’ Look Like to Millennials—and to AARP?

What Does ‘Old’ Look Like to Millennials—and to AARP?
AARP’s new #DisruptAging site has some commendable goals: to “hold a mirror up to the ageist beliefs around us,” and “change the stories we tell ourselves about aging.” In other words, as they put it, to “disrupt aging”—which also just happens to be the title of AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins’ new book. The site has featured me as an “age disruptor,” which I appreciate. It’s produced a few videos, the most recent of which has gotten a lot of traction.  Read more...


 

The Happiness Check

The Happiness Check
I received a milestone-birthday gift from a dear, longtime friend. It was a generous monetary gift that came with a caveat: I must spend it on myself. No college tuition help, no car repair, no electric bill—I had to spend it on something that made me happy.  Read more...


 

The Violence of Ageism

The Violence of Ageism
As the entire world now knows, Dr. David Dao is the passenger who was dragged off a United Airlines flight on April 9th by Chicago police, who broke his nose, gave him a concussion and smashed two of his teeth. He may need restorative surgery. Some media have treated this as a horror perpetrated by a single airline that bullies passengers or by a business model that forces overbooking. It is a mistake to look so narrowly at the sources of harm. A few reports, and many Asian American social media users, have mentioned the possibility of racism. As I write, no mainstream news source or commentary has mentioned ageism.  Read more...


 

Young Blood

Young Blood
If you were offered a way to feel healthier and even look younger, would you take it? What if it required you to have repeated transfusions with the blood of teenagers or 20-somethings?  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about….

Health experts are talking about….
...slowing aging with intense workouts. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently discovered that a certain kind of exercise, called high intensity interval training, or HIIT, can slow or even reverse some effects of aging at the cellular level. HIIT is a type of aerobic workout that includes short, intense bursts of activity as part of a moderate to vigorous exercise session.  Read more...


 

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...


 

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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)