From news you can use to the fun to know, check out these picks from the week online.
Bill Maher goes on an epic ageism rant
When was the last time you heard a talk show host tell his audience that “Ageism is the last acceptable prejudice in America”? Those were Bill Maher’s words on HBO’s “Real Time” last week as he launched into a six-minute diatribe about our national obsession with youth (and arse) and lack of regard for the value that age can bring. Watch, and then click through to the video on YouTube if you want to join the comment stream.
Role model of the week
“Glasses are a fashion statement. They’re the only assistive device that’s fashionable. I want my cane to be fashionable.” Liz Jackson is in her early 30s; she uses a cane because of an autoimmune disorder. But instead of feeling stigmatized, she’s breaking the rules that say disability must be ugly by challenging her favorite fashion brand, J. Crew, to start selling canes. Hey, they sell cool eye glasses – why not cool canes? Read Jackson’s story, sign her petition by clicking here and let us know in the comments section: Where would you like to shop for your fashion-forward assistive device?
Walkable neighborhoods stem cognitive decline
A study presented this weekend at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C suggests that in neighborhoods that encourage walking, older people suffer less cognitive decline. What makes a neighborhood walkable? Places that are worth walking to – stores, parks, and so on – as well as safe streets, with slow lights, sound sidewalks and plenty of benches. The study also found that rather than the standard city grid, “intricate community layouts might help to keep cognition sharp…. Complex environments may require more complex mental processes to navigate.” Read more.
90-year-old might get jail time for feeding the homeless
Arnold Abbott has been serving food to Fort Lauderdale’s homeless population for 20-plus years in honor of his late wife, but after a local ordinance was passed restricting public feedings, police arrested him along with two pastors with whom he was serving food at a local beach. Abbott, who says feeding the hungry is a First Amendment right and the homeless have a right to eat in a beautiful location, has promised to fight the ordinance – in fact, he was arrested again days later at another public feeding. The city joins more than 20 others that have passed ordinances this year restricting feeding of the homeless who, local authorities say, are “overrunning” parks. Meanwhile Abbott’s actions have turned him into an international celebrity – and shone an international spotlight on the trend he’s fighting. Read more.
Do you remember these arcade video games?
Space Invaders. Pac-Man. Pong… The Internet Archive just launched a the Internet Arcade, a site that lets you play dozens of coin-operated games from the 70s through the 90s – if you can figure out how. Click on a game, then click the game image on the right of your screen and read the instructions for keyboard commands. Start here! (Read more about it on Open Culture.)
In South Africa, an innovative program puts seniors to work as health visitors
Created by an American doctor, Age Well Global arms older people with a list of questions, a set of things to look for – trip hazards, and so on – and a smartphone with a special app and sends them door to door, visiting other elders in the neighborhood. NPR reports…
Got a smartphone or tablet?
Hot news if you ever use your device in place of a computer: Microsoft just released free versions of Office, Word, Excel etc for iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets. Now you can make all the spreadsheets or formatted docs you want and store them in the cloud, on Dropbox. Read more.
How to be a healthier couch potato
We all know that 30 minutes per day of physical activity is optimal for our health – but if that’s not happening, at least shift from sitting to standing – frequently. A new study reports that older people who spend more than 8 and a half hours sitting, whether at a desk or on the sofa, can achieve better physical functioning by standing up as often as possible. The study authors suggest standing-up and walking around while you’re on the phone, standing up during commercials and standing up to go get something you need rather than asking someone to do it for you. Read more.
Anne Lamott on swallowing grief and life in her 60s
Anne Lamott’s new book, “Small Victories,” is out, and Salon.com took the opportunity to interview one of our most quotable authors. Asked about aging, Lamott says, “It gets infinitely better as you get older. You’ve lost your parents and some friends, and you feel so amazed and grateful that you still have the gift of life. You figure out that what your butt looks like is 143rd on the list of what is meaningful here, during our brief stay. You throw stuff out of the plane that keeps you flying too low. And yet; and yet. It’s still a struggle.” Read more!