agebuzz weekly

April 26th, 2018

Good morning and welcome to agebuzz… Headlining today’s topics:

Show Some Teeth: Aging And Oral Health: Most of us know that dreaded feeling: your tooth begins to ache and you realize yet another trip to the dentist may be necessary. And we're the lucky ones. Given the lack of insurance coverage for dental health care under Medicare, many older individuals can't afford to seek out a dentist when that toothache strikes. Moreover, there's lots of evidence to demonstrate a connection between oral health and such diseases as diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. So staying on top of your dental health seems to be an essential part of healthy aging. Recently, the Gerontological Society of America put out a comprehensive overview of oral health in older adults. With definitions, descriptions of potential dental problems and explanations of the mouth-body connection, it's essential reading for anyone concerned about their health as they age. So open wide and Read Here. And to stay on top of good dental health routines as you age, take a look at the American Dental Association'sadvice for adults over 60 Here.

On The Money: Can You Afford A Longer Life?: They say that money can't buy you love- but what about a longer life? Those with significant financial resources may be able to obtain the health care and supports needed to increase life expectancy, and thus create the latest arena of inequality. According to Bloomberg, longevity inequality is the successor to income inequality, and a majority of the wealthy are gearing up to sustain themselves for the long run- or at least 100 years, according to a new survey by UBS Financial Services. It seems that wealthier individuals are willing to spend substantial amounts to achieve longer lives. Great news for them but for those with less money?  A longer life could mean that no matter how well we planned, we may run out of retirement savings before our lives end.

So, how do you plan? To begin with, you may want to try the Social Security Administration's Life Expectancy calculator to see how many years may be in the cards for you. Or, for another thought-provoking calculation, check out this mechanism from Washington University to determine your potential for facing poverty in your later years. Finally, for some sound advice on how to make your funds last along with your life, check out this information on the Spend Safely in Retirement strategy from the Stanford University Center on Longevity.

Hot Button: Updates On Menopause And Its Impact: Have you noticed? These days there seems to be a lot more attention paid to menopause: both its symptoms and its impact on women's health. Perhaps that has to do with the number of older women in the workforce, or maybe with the recognition of the spending power, and neglected market, that women experiencing menopause represent in our economy. Or, as neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Mosconi reminds us, it may have to do with the increasing prevalence of dementia, and its disproportionate impact on older women, that we are witnessing. You may remember Dr. Mosconi from her previous appearance in agebuzz, which highlighted her research on the connection between food and brain health. In a recent New York Times piece, Dr. Mosconi has now begun to focus on whether the ebb in estrogen during menopause causes female brains to be more vulnerable to assaults like Alzheimer's. She suggests more research into hormone replacement and foods that may lessen the impact of menopause symptoms. There is also new research suggesting a link between the severity of menopause symptoms and predictions of cardiovascular disease in women.

And for those of you experiencing hot flashes, there is exciting news about a new class of drugs that may significantly reduce these waves of heat with a quick response time. But as Alyson Walsh recommends, be wary of other types of expensive products that may work no better than cheaper solutions already out there. However, one interesting new option that may be heading to the market is the Grace wristband, a beautifully designed, technologically sophisticated bracelet that will counter the effects of hot flashes with a cooling technology. So put away your portable fan, and read more about this new invention Here.

The Best Defense Is A Good Offense: Seniors And Martial Arts: Some of us may remember the classic scene from Seinfeld when Cosmo Kramer takes up Taekwondo and terrorizes his younger classmates. But far from a laughing matter, martial arts may, in fact, afford those of us who are older with the ideal physical and mental skills needed to ward off whatever dangers may lurk out there. There are a range of options and strategies available, even if you have limited mobility or strength, that can help give you the confidence needed to feel safe and secure. For a great overview, including video resources, tighten your black belt and take a look Here. And if you're wondering whether martial arts can do more than physically protect you, you may want to check out this recent article on how the movements in such activities as judo or karate can help protect your cognitive functions as well.

Flying Too Low: Aging Parents And Helicopter Children: You may worry about their whereabouts, or what drugs they're taking- or even about whom they're dating. And no, we're not talking about teenage children. In fact, these days many of us are concerned about our older parents and whether they are at risk or in danger. Sometimes the worry has the best of intentions- and sometimes, it stems from concern for our own burdens or responsibilities. Either way, the best advice may be to back off or at least step back. A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal (paywall) highlights the conflicts that may arise when "helicopter children" fly a little too low, to the annoyance of their older parents. It's a fine line to walk between respecting your parents' autonomy and fearing for their safety but remember- they've earned the right to take risks, so long as they understand the risks they're taking. And if you want a resource for some helpful advice, for both you and your aging parents, don't forget to check in with Dr. Leslie Kernisan and her website, Better Health While Aging, especially her advice on Helping Older Parents.

By The Book: The Power and Pleasure Of Good Books: For many of us, sneaking some time to read a good book is a guilty pleasure. And often we can link a particular book we read with a specific time in our past. In fact, for many, books have played an essential part in enriching and supporting us throughout our lives. Recently, Professor Paulette Rothbauer of Canada conducted a study which explored the value and meaning that seniors placed on reading. No surprise to those of us who are readers: the study revealed the memories, pleasures and support reading gives us, especially as we get older. So put down your current book and read more about her study Here. And get ready for a new PBS show about to air in May called The Great American Read. Hosted by Meredith Vieira, the show will take a look at the 100 best-loved novels in America, including an opportunity for you to vote for your favorite. Want to know how this list was compiled? Take a look Here and enjoy the show!

THE LAST WORD: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." Jorge Luis Borges