agebuzz weekly

May 24th, 2018

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

Sleep Over: Does Aging Mean The End Of A Good Night's Sleep?: Most of us know what it means to have a bad night's sleep: we feel tired the next day, sometimes groggy and confused and maybe cranky because we're not well-rested. Loss of sleep can be due to innumerable factors, some of which can affect you at any age, others more common as we get older. For a basic primer and beyond about insomnia, Click Here.

Many of us find ourselves waking up earlier than we'd like. Perhaps you're just going to bed too early or you're not on a regular sleep schedule due to retirement and your body hasn't adjusted to a sleep pattern. Or, perhaps there's something biological going on, such as decreased levels of melatonin or disruption in your circadian rhythms. For a good examination of some of the reasons your aging body may be sleep-deprived, pull out your blanket and take a look Here.

Are there ways to help you get better sleep? One recent provocative piece inForbes considers the pros and cons of separate bedrooms in retirement- because if your partner isn't sleeping then it's likely you aren't either. And there are always products coming to market that promise new tech solutions to the age-old problem of lack of sleep. Something new you might want to consider isSmart Nora, a device that slightly moves your pillow to help open up your airways when it detects snoring, a problem that often intensifies with age. The device gets mixed reviews, but if you're feeling desperate (and sleep-deprived) you may want to check it out.

Here And Now: No Alzheimer's Cures On The Horizon: The statistics are grim: Currently, over 6 million Americans have Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairment, and those numbers are expected to double in the coming years unless an effective treatment is found. Few of us escape the devastation that Alzheimer's can cause, as almost all of us know someone stricken with the diagnosis. While there are other causes of dementia and cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's can be particularly cruel as the patient slowly loses memory and cognition and then ultimately becomes completely physically dependent on someone else for all basic care needs. For a good overview of the disease, its causes, symptoms, and patterns of progression, refresh your understanding with a look at the Merck Manual Here.

So where are we with research efforts to find effective treatments and even a cure? Not in a very good place, according to a comprehensive review of the current state of research. Clinical trials have not been successful, no real effective treatments have come to market in the past decade, and research has been difficult to undertake. It's hard to detect early symptoms and once someone is far enough along to detect symptoms the damage to their brain is irreversible. It's been challenging to enroll patients in clinical trials, especially as you're not likely to enroll someone who has no symptoms and for those who do, it's often difficult to know whether they have Alzheimer's or some other brain disease. All of these problems mean pharmaceutical companies have little incentive to undertake the necessary research. It's a troubling story but one we should all understand. So take a few moments and read about it Here.

Swept Away: Strategies For Eliminating What You No Longer Need: Are you in the midst of spring cleaning? Or perhaps, like many of us, there's a more substantial cleaning that needs to happen in your home- that is, getting rid of the decades of stuff that clutters your house and stands in the way of moving on to a new stage of life. If you've lived in your home for a long time, you've likely accumulated more sheets, towels, pots and pans than anyone can use in an entire lifetime, let alone the next 20 years. But no one claims this decluttering is easy. Take, for example, this recent story by Kathleen Hughes in the Wall Street Journal (paywall) as she describes the challenge of downsizing and regrets her inability to give away her bundt pan, despite her confidence she will never bake a bundt cake again.

The website helps you orchestrate your move, access discounts connected to moving and change your address with the Post Office. They recently put out a useful post on downsizing called the Senior-Friendly Guide to Downsizing, which contains some good advice about the piles to keep and discard, packing strategies and sifting through the clutter to discern what's essential. And speaking of essential, you should watch the recent TED Talk of Bob Stein, a 71-year-old new media publisher who came to realize that we need to create a new ritual for sifting through our belongings, recalling their place in our lives, and finding new homes for them. So pull out some of those boxes in the attic, and Watch Here.

Cross Your Heart: The Importance of Keeping Your Heart Healthy: At this point, you don't need to be told the importance of good heart health for overall healthy aging. But what is news is that researchers have now pinpointed the amount of exercise you should undertake to keep your heart healthy and your blood vessels young. Published in The Journal of Physiology, this new study found that 30 minutes of exercise 4-5 times a week is essential for slowing down the aging of your heart and arteries. To find out more about the study, hop on your treadmill and Read Here. And a healthy heart is not only essential for cardiovascular health, but it's also been linked to lowering the risk of other conditions that can arise in older people, such asfrailty. New research just published in the Journal of Gerontology reports that older people who have a low risk of heart disease can drastically lessen the risk of frailty. Being frail is not a natural or inevitable part of aging and by taking care of your cardiovascular health, you can dramatically lessen the likelihood of becoming frail, in addition to reducing your risk for other things like dementia. Read more about this important new finding Here.

Work It Out: Turns Out Older Workers May Suddenly Be More Attractive: There's no doubt that, as both individuals and a society more broadly, we're all struggling with the balance between aging, work and retirement. For some, money complicates the picture. For others, loss of the social connections from work leaves them re-thinking retirement. In fact, there is now a trend called "unretirement," when people retire, recharge themselves and then reconsider their decisions, perhaps even re-entering the workforce. In fact, estimates are that 39% of those over 65 currently in the workplace were, in fact, previously retired and then went back to work. You can hear more about this "unretirement" trend Here.

And you know what? Despite the continued problem of ageism in many workplaces, more forward-thinking employers are very happy to welcome older workers into their midst, even creating flexible and accommodating environments to meet the needs of older workers. For an example, read the story of Dr. Michael Mandel, a primary care physician, Here. Not only is this a boon for older workers who may want to "unretire" or gradually retire, it's now thought to be a smart business decision for savvy employers. In fact,Bloomberg has declared that the ability to mobilize and deploy older workers can give the US a competitive advantage in the global economy. So dust off your business suit and Read Here.

Returning To The Newsroom: Welcome Back, Murphy Brown: Exactly 20 years ago, she signed off the air at the end of an era. Candice Bergen, the model and actress, won 5 Emmy awards and numerous other accolades during her 10-year-run as the iconic newswoman, Murphy Brown. Since 1998, when the show went off the air, Bergen, now 72, has acted in other television shows and movies, including the newly released film, The Book Club. But like many "older workers," Murphy Brown has apparently been struggling with her retirement and has decided it's time for another run. So, along with some other recent tv revivals, we now can look forward to the return of the show Murphy Brown this coming Fall. The cast will be largely the same, albeit with an additional 20 years of life to show for it, and you can watch a trailer for the newly revived show Here. And to read more about the reasons for this revival, including the current political climate, Click Here.

THE LAST WORD: “Memory is the first casualty of middle age, if I remember correctly." Candice Bergen