September 6th, 2018 Newsletter
September 6th, 2018 Newsletter
September 6, 2018
-The Last Word
Use It Or Lose It: Exercise Is Essential For Maintaining Muscle Strength: You’ve probably already noticed it: Maybe you can’t open jars the way you used to or it’s becoming harder to lift those free weights at the gym. It’s no surprise that as we age we naturally lose some of our strength and muscle mass. And that can lead to a vicious cycle: the weaker we become, the more inactive we are, which leads to further weakness and increased disability.
Newly published research has reported that muscle strength, as measured by handgrip, can be an important predictor of overall health and longevity and that those with low muscle strength are 50% more likely to die earlier.Other recent research has confirmed that post-menopausal women have lower muscle strength and power, suggesting that menopause has a negative influence on strength. Together, these studies reflect what most of us already experience and probably see in our own arms and legs: as we get older, we lose muscle mass and strength which can have profound negative effects on our health and independence.
How to respond? It’s the old adage: use it or lose it. We have clear evidence that exercise can not only stave off what seems like inevitable weakness as we get older but can, in fact, reverse and restore the strength we used to have. Being a couch-potato can accelerate muscle aging and weakness and lead to lots of health problems. But being active and exercising is the one proven method to prevent or reverse this process. Bottom line? To extend your health and vital years, it’s essential that you exercise.
Hold The Phone: What’s The Best Phone For You Or Your Loved Ones?: Cord or no cord? Cellphone or smartphone? The choices of phone devices available in today’s market can be dizzying, to say the least. At this point, the majority of US households no longer use the “old-fashioned” landline phone, though for those over 65, the latest data show only 24% of us have ditched the landline.
For those of you who have embraced the smartphone, the array of models, apps and notification bells and whistles can be downright confusing and confounding. A recent survey found that over half of baby boomers using smartphones are finding the notifications distracting- and many are confused by the clutter of apps (many of which we don’t use) that crowd our screens. How to figure out what we really need when it comes to a smartphone? Tom’s Guide has a new update on the best smartphones for seniors and you can bet you’re going to see more ads in the coming months for the new Jitterbug model, given that Best Buy has now staked an awful lot of money on Great Call, the company that manufacturers this phone geared toward seniors.
Finally, whether landline or smartphone, we’ve all probably noticed the uptick in spam and scams that have invaded our phones. How to fight back? Check out the latest recommendations from Consumer Reports and The New York Times.
Lessons Learned: Teachable Moments At The End Of Life: We never know for certain when our loved ones will be at the end of life. While some will gradually come to the end others may pass more suddenly, without the opportunity to plan or say goodbye. Regardless, there are teachable moments when our loved ones are in their final days, and a recent spate of articles reflect some of these important lessons.
Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Jeff Drazen shares the experience of his brother’s passing from colon cancer. His brother, Rabbi Paul Drazen, lived his final months absorbed in work, encouraging others to get screened for the cancer taking his own life and keeping himself motivated and vital with the goal of witnessing his daughter’s wedding. You can read about the wisdom that Rabbi Paul Drazen imparted in his final days Here. Alternatively, Marian Grant, a palliative care nurse practitioner in Baltimore, learned some hard lessons from the recent passing of her mother. Despite the exemplary planning and preparing that she and her mother had done, and despite her professional expertise, Grant’s mother experienced an unnecessarily tragic death. The lesson learned? Relatives must stay involved and alert to the end, no matter how much planning is in place. Read about Grant’s experience Here. Echoing the notion that caregivers need to be informed and involved as their loved ones are dying, a recent study published in Palliative Medicine found that caregivers want doctors to be open, honest and comprehensive when communicating with them as the end approaches. Read more about this studyHere.
But don’t let these end-of-life challenges dissuade you from having important conversations with your loved one about their end-of-life wishes. If you need some help and reminders about how best to have these conversations, take a look at these words of wisdom from Ellen Goodman, founder of The Conversation Project.
Chew On This: The Latest Evidence For The Mediterranean Diet: Even if it sounds like a broken record, you need to hear it again: You are what you eat. The types of food that are in your diet have a profound impact on your health, well-being, and longevity. And once again, the evidence points the way to the Mediterranean diet as your best bet for healthy aging. This latest study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, is important because, unlike earlier studies, it specifically focuses on older adults and diet, thereby underscoring that it’s never too late to switch to a healthier diet. So even if you spent the first half of your life downing burgers and shakes, it’s not too late to switch to salads and seafood. Read more about the study Here and take out your saucepan and learn about 10 important “superfoods” Here.
Left Alone: Ways To Combat Loneliness: As a new report just out from the Kaiser Family Foundation makes clear, loneliness is a growing global public health epidemic. And, according to The Unlonely Project, older adults are especially susceptible to loneliness and social isolation, which can have a negative impact on health and well-being. Unsurprisingly, there are new organizations and products coming to market aimed at engaging older individuals with stimulation and companionship.
For example, The Unlonely Project itself is an organization dedicated to engaging people in creative endeavors in order to combat loneliness. For both younger and older people, they are raising awareness about the challenges that loneliness can pose. For a fascinating video from this project, portraying the distance and isolation that can develop between an adult son and his mother, take out your tissues and watch here. Or, you can read about a new start-up called Help-Full, which was developed by a former executive from AARP, Jenny Gallagher. Deciding to give up the challenge of long-distance caregiving for her mother and instead move home to work on solutions for lonely seniors, Gallagher knew she needed to do something when her mother said, “I have aides around providing care but never felt more lonely.”
Finally, for a somewhat lighter and more frivolous way to address loneliness, you may want to consider Aibo, the latest robotic dog from Sony, that simulates a real-life dog in ways that are surprisingly seductive and rewarding. Already sold out in Japan, a country with the highest percentage of an aging population, this may be just the gadget to engage your older loved one, minus the need for nightly walks. So take out some treats and Read Here.
Tea Party: The New Film “Tea With The Dames”: Undoubtedly, you have your favorite: Could it be Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey? Or Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul? Maybe Joan Plowright in Enchanted April? Or perhaps Eileen Atkins in Gosford Park? No matter, come September 21st, all four of these delightful British thespians will be on screen together for the new documentary Tea with the Dames. With utmost candor and career gossip, you’ll come to see these leading ladies as you’ve never quite seen them before. Their friendships go back more than half-a-century but their quips are as current as you can imagine. So grab the popcorn and get ready to meet these luminaries later this month! For a sneak peek at the latest trailer for the film, Click Here.
“THE LAST WORD: “Age brings perspective. Age points the way to things that are most important to us. It tells us what to hold and what to discard. It’s the great unclutterer.” James Terminiello