August 9th, 2018 Newsletter
August 9th, 2018 Newsletter
August 9, 2018
-The Last Word
Deep Sleep: Our Ever-Increasing Understanding Of, And Attention To, Sleep: It’s truly one of those things that we can’t live without- literally. Scientists have come to the conclusion that restful sleep is essential for healthy human functioning and survival- even more than food. At the same time, there are so many negative factors affecting our sleep- from stress and electronic distractions to unhealthy work schedules and light pollution- that we practically have an epidemic of sleep deprivation. We’re not on a healthy course, folks, when it comes to sleep.
First, it’s critical to understand all that goes on while your body is at rest and why it’s so important to get a good night’s sleep. For that, take a look at this comprehensive new article in National Geographic. Next, for those of you who think it doesn’t matter at your age, because you need less sleep as you age, think again. In fact, while many of us have lost the ability to sleep soundly as we’ve gotten older, that doesn’t mean your body needs less sleep- it just means you’ve gotten used to less sleep- but the underlying threats to your health and well-being from sleep deprivation remain. Insufficient sleep can lead to all sorts of problems with mood, memory, metabolism and heart function. But sleep researcher Brandon Peters-Mathews advises that you shouldn’t let your lack of sleep worry you- and he suggests a few simple adjustments to your evening routine to help lead you to a good night’s rest.
Finally, does watching other people sleep help you relax and perhaps feel sleepy yourself? If so you may want to tap into the phenomenon of watching Bob Pagani sleep. Pagani, a 66-year-old retiree with a penchant for pulling off crazy stunts, now has thousands of people regularly watch him snore away on a daily basis. It’s a truly weird and fascinating story of something that seems to captivate people in this day and age. Curious about this siren call of sleep? Pull out your pajamas and Read Here.
Step To It: Inactivity Can Lead To Diabetes: Do you know what it means to be considered “inactive”? If you take less than 1000 steps a day, you would likely be classified as “inactive.” And even if you don’t wear a pedometer, you can probably guess if you fall (or sit) into this category. If so, not only are the calories likely adding up but so too is your risk for triggering diabetes.
Right now over 84 million adults in the US are considered to be pre-diabeticwhich means you are at risk of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario studied whether 2 weeks of physical activity could trigger diabetes in seniors already known to be pre-diabetic. Their results, published in The Journals of Gerontology, demonstrated that even after a few days of inactivity, muscle mass and strength began to decrease in study participants and there were signs of insulin resistance. And even after study participants returned to their normal levels of activity, the harmful effects of inactivity did not disappear.
The conclusion? We know that exercise is generally good for healthy aging, and important for diabetes control as well. What we also now know is that inactivity can be harmful, especially if you are on the cusp of becoming diabetic. Given the serious problems that can arise when someone becomes diabetic, including the worsening of cognitive functions as you age, it’s critical that if you are diabetic, or pre-diabetic, you need to exercise. So while you consult your doctor, also crank up your movement and Read Here.
Till Death Do Us Part: Couples At The End Of Life: Anyone married for a long period of time knows that every relationship goes through ups and downs. Perhaps the greatest, and final challenge of any marriage is the anticipation of the death of one of the spouses. One can imagine that it’s a time of enormous stress and anxiety, along with the physical distress and caregiving needs that may arise.
However, many spouses seem to weather and even find joy in the precious moments that the end of life can summon. For example, writer Sherry Angel, recently sharing her experience on Thrive Global, describes the richness of daily life with her ailing husband once they had the courage to discuss how he wanted to live his final days. Or, listen to the beautiful story described by scholar Lara Dotson-Renta, who witnesses the loving devotion of her elderly neighbor as he cared for his wife at the end of her life. You may also want to check out the recent documentary from Korea, My Love, Don’t Cross That River, now streaming on Amazon and iTunes, that captures the end of a 70+ year marriage as the couple prepares for the end of the husband’s life. While your instincts may be to say that these are all isolated cases and that being present for a spouse at the end of life would be unbearable, research seems to suggest that aging caregivers tending to a dying spouse feel strongly that this responsibility is a part of the marriage commitment they made. This does not diminish the support that the healthier spouse requires, but does suggest that this can be a pivotal and even positive moment in a person’s life.
And if you, or a loved one, find yourself in the position of preparing for the loss of a spouse, you may want to consider some words of wisdom from author Thelma Zirkelbach who offers up a few practical ways to get ready to confront your pending loss.
Let’s Talk About Unmentionables: Disposable Incontinence Underwear: Maybe you’re uncomfortable talking about this- but for many of us, our daily lives and interactions are driven by our need to stay close to home- specifically the bathroom- or by our fear of embarrassing “leaks.” Bladder leakage is very common though hardly discussed. It’s been estimated that 25 million people in the US have some form of incontinence, and worldwide, the market for incontinence products is a robust $8 billion.
So let’s talk undies: specifically a new product coming to market. Willow is a start-up company that aspires to make bulky, embarrassing incontinence garments a thing of the past. With direct-to-consumer online ordering and delivery, the sleek and modern undergarments from Willow look poised to capture a big share of this burgeoning market. The garments are intended to be one-time-wear disposable, for day or nighttime use, and at a very affordable price which you can purchase on a regular subscription basis. While they anticipate offering men’s and women’s garments, their website currently only presents undies for ladies. But they are now offering a free trial purchase to test out their products. To find out more, take a seat and Read Here.
Young And Old: Imparting Senior Wisdom On The Young: The image seems to be indelible in our culture: Feeble older people reliant on younger children to teach them the ways of today’s world, especially when it comes to electronics or social media. Let’s put that one to rest: Many if not most seniors these days have figured what they need -and want- to do on the internet or with their smartphones.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty of learning and teaching to be had- in fact, it may be that seniors now need to take the lead in teaching younger people a thing or two. For example, writing in The Washington Post, author Jennifer Winward describes the several skills that we all should teach our grandchildren, rather than have them seek out advice on the internet. Included in her list are the skills of storytelling, good penmanship and even polite behavior with a personal touch. Who knows? These may be useful skills when college application time rolls around. So pull out your fountain pen, and read her suggestions Here.
Or perhaps you’re more interested in the passion of “grandmother” Linda Otto, the founder, and director of Grandmas2Go, a new Oregon-based organization that believes that older women “of wisdom and experience” have much to teach younger, struggling families as they wrestle with raising healthy young children. With this organization, “grandmas” (whether literal or figurative) are trained to be family coaches so that they can pass on their experiential wisdom to new and younger families. Read more about the organization, and the win-win arrangements it creates Here.
But let’s not forget that the joys of grandparenting can go well beyond the lessons you impart on future generations. In fact, there is some innate, essential joy in being a grandparent that few of us have ever experienced when becoming parents to our own children. As writer Jim Sollisch recently stated in his lovely New York Times ode to grandparenting, “I have raised children. Five of them…But I have never felt this thing that stopped my brain, that put all plans on hold, that rendered me dumb.” And that sums up one of the precious gifts that grandchildren impart on their adoring grandparents.
TV Time: Old And New TV Shows Available For Viewing: For some of us, the list is long and memorable: The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dick Cavett Show, The Bob Newhart Show, I Love Lucy, and on and on: TV shows from earlier decades that bring us back to more youthful times. If you read The New York Times this past weekend, you found a deep dive into the current life of Dick Cavett, the ever-erudite and witty talk show host known as “the thinking man’s Johnny Carson.” Although no longer broadcasting, you can still catch old Dick Cavett interviews, along with long-gone episodes of some of your favorite nostalgic shows, on Decades, the online network that allows you to sample some of your favorite shows of days gone by. The site broadcasts television episodes from the 1950s to the 1980s, along with posting relevant articles, quizzes, and other interesting info. And if trivia from the past is your thing, check out this recent post on 20 Things You Might Not Know About The “I Love Lucy” Show. If instead, you want to leave the past behind and are looking for a new favorite show, you’ll be excited to hear that come November, Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin will be starring in a Netflix series called The Kominsky Method about two older Los Angeles fellows navigating their later years. To read more about this highly-anticipated new series, pick up your remote and Click Here.
“THE LAST WORD: “I don’t feel old. I feel like a young man that has something wrong with him.” Dick Cavett