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A major new report on “cognitive aging” and more from the week online

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From news you can use to finds you might love, click through our picks from the week online.

Celebrating 12 Boston Marathon runners in their 80s

Running in last Monday’s Boston Marathon were 12 athletes in their 80s, among them William Iffing, 80, who you might last have seen in the iconic photo below left after he was knocked down by the blast from the bomb that struck the 2013 event. This year’s race was Iffing’s 46th marathon. His advice: Keep loose and always stretch. Boston.com talked to all 12 octogenarian runners and asked what keeps them going – meet them and read their stories here.

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Meryl Streep’s move to fight ageism

Meryl Streep has made no secret of her feelings about ageism in Hollywood – remember her GIF-worthy response to Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech (see below)?  And now she’s using her own money to help fund a screenwriting lab for women writers over age 40. The lab’s goal is to fight ageism by helping to put more older women (yes, over 40 is “older” in Hollywood) in off-camera roles. This year, the Streep-funded Writers Lab will accept submissions until June 1, with eight winning writers named in August. Here’s to hoping for some great anti-ageist scripts. To read more about the lab on Vanity Fair, click here.

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A major new report on brain health in older age

You’ll be hearing a lot about “cognitive aging,” a term coined in a new report by the Institute of Medicine. The report defines cognitive aging as a natural process that to varying degrees affects memory, thinking and decision-making in all of our brains but is not a disease like Alzheimer’s – and is not inevitable. And it offers the first multidisciplinary look at what older Americans can do to keep their brains healthy (exercise, take care of cardiovascular health, review medications) and what probably doesn’t work (most computer games, certain supplements). To read more about the study, click here. To read the full report, click here. And take the Institute of Medicine’s “Cognitive Health” quiz below.

Enough already with the no-retirement myth

Images of glowing silver-haired couples on golf courses are giving way to stories about 70- and 80-year-olds with no plans to retire and reports predicting that Baby Boomers will find long-lasting satisfaction in meaningful work. Last week Slate took a sledgehammer to what it calls this latest “retirement porn” in an article that quoted a recent survey by Gallup: Only one in three people in their late 60s were still employed. “Despite some expectations that baby boomers will defy the usual working patterns of aging Americans and stay in the workforce longer than those who came before them, the data do not appear to support that expectation,” Gallup noted. What’s behind the semi-retirement myth? According to Slate, it’s financial desperation – Baby Boomers need to work longer given their paltry nest eggs, but are up against health issues and ageism in the workplace. To read more, click here.

And there’s more: making a case for lowering the retirement age

There are calls to raise the retirement age. But a section of the population, the poorest section, is dying younger now, not older. Are people who started work at 16 supposed to work till they drop? And who really profits from us working for more years? In an opinion piece in The Week, economics correspondent Jeff Spross crunches numbers to make a case for lowering the retirement age. Here’s the deal: It’s taking fewer and fewer person hours to produce the same amount of wealth, so either we all need work fewer hours (eg: by retiring younger) or we make more total income between us. We’ve been doing the latter – but that extra income hasn’t found its way into the pockets of most Americans. So, the solution is… To read more, click here.

Ageist fail of the week…

Goes to burger chain Umami Burger, which tweeted the following last Monday. (The tweet was quickly deleted the tweet following a backlash on Twitter.)

 

The tweet – an image of Madonna and rapper Drake, with the words “Because nothing gets the taste of old lady out better than Umami” – came after a recent viral moment at the Coachella music festival when Madonna kissed Drake onstage. Some said Drake seemed to be “disgusted” by the idea of kissing an older women, but Drake set the record straight. “I got to make out with the queen Madonna and I feel ‘100’ about that forever,”  the rapper said. To read more about the backlash, click here.

Older Americans are getting inventive

Who makes up more than 60 percent of the United Inventors Association? Seniors. John Calvert, the associations’ executive director, believes that people over 50 are getting more inventive because they have more time, while clubs, maker spaces and startups like Quirky help inventors commercialize their ideas. To read more about some older inventors, click here.

Nintendo Wii could be very good for you

Here’s a fun way to improve your physical well-being: Play Wii exergames like Wii Sport and Wii Fit that combine exercise with play, according to a review in the Journal of Aging and Health. The review evaluated 22 studies published between 2006 and 2013 that analyzed the effects of Wii exergames on cognition, physical function and social interaction in people aged 60 years and older. To read more about the study, click here.

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Is this what a 70-year-old would wear?

Older women and fashion is a hot topic. In this blog post, Jodie of Jodies’ Touch of Style says “age appropriate” clothes may be a thing of the past. “To continue to get the respect we deserve (since we have so much life experience), I think it’s important to look contemporary,” Jodie writes. “Would you trust someone’s opinion on computers if they still only used a typewriter?” Read more on Jodie’s blog.

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Aging behind bars

About 16 percent of prisoners today are over age 50, and the number of inmates 55 and over increased nearly 1,400 percent from 1981 to 2012, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Increased health-care expenses mean that states spend on average twice as much on older inmates than average prisoners. Photographer Andrew Burton captured the day to day reality when he documented the lives of aging prisoners in several jails. To see the photo essay, click here.

Aging Prisoners Make Up Fastest Growing Segment Of Nation's Prison Population

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And finally…

This video, from Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer,” was widely shared on the Internet last week. Watch some serious lady power slam sexism and ageism in show business.

 

Happy Clicking!

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