Healthy Aging

Life Expectancy Depends on Where You Live + more from the week online



It was on his bucket list: Learn to tap dance. So at age 85 and with the encouragement of his wife and a sign on the door of the tap dance studio near his tax accountant’s office, Arne Mayala booked his first tap class. Mayala was on his third lesson when this video was made, and studio owner Robin Lind was so inspired by the way the dancing raised his spirits, she now plans to start a program for seniors. (Video link: NBC News online.)

What They Said


“The worst thing is when you get older, society just provides buildings for ‘old people.’ It’s not healthy. It’s important that when we get older you’re mixed with all generations. That’s a part of the vitality that helps in life.” —Architect Matthias Hollwich in an interview with NPR about his new book, “New Aging.” 


“That kind of floored me. Damn. That old, and all of a sudden you get hit with it.” A 79-year-old man on learning that he is HIV positive, quoted by the Washington Post in “The Graying of AIDS.”


What’s Up

Old Tech Saturday, April 16 was International Record Store Day

The BBC took a look at the history of vinyl.

Money Where does your tax money go? crunched the numbers and came up with a way to show you, in fairly real terms, how much you contribute annually to each piece of the budget pie (based on an average US tax payer’s tax bill, of course). The Social Security Administration: $2,960.56 or a yearly health insurance payment; the Department of Veteran’s Affairs:$499.27 or an iPad Air; the Federal Election Commission: 21 cents, or some pipe coupling. Take the Atlantic’s quiz to see the whole list.

Retirement Seniors: The fastest growing segment on AirBnB

You’ve probably heard of AirBnB and it there’s a good chance that you’ve used this peer-to-peer website to find a place to stay in someone’s apartment of house when you’re traveling. You may have even rented out a spare room in your house — or “hosted” a visitor in AirBnB parlance — through the site, which bills itself as the “Worldwide Alternative to Hotels.” According to Bloomberg news, in the past 12 months, the number of AirBnB hosts aged 60-plus has more than doubled, and senior hosts get the best reviews from travelers. For retirees who may have space in their homes after their kids have grown up and moved away, the opportunity to host visitors offers connections and cash. A 65-year-old retired professor on Staten Island, NY offers visitors a 45-minute do’s-and-dont’s introduction to the city — a way to orientate newbies and get to know them. One woman in Los Angeles brought in some $30,000 last year, allowing her to keep her house rather than selling it. Read more at (and read “AirBnB: No Hotel Travel for All Ages” on

Intergenerational Seniors vs Seniors — guess who won

A group of Florida high school seniors went up against local seniors in a spelling bee. Both groups had participated in spelling contests beofre, and both thought the other group would win — the high schoolers because older people have more experience, the seniors because young people today are “smart.” The words included “rheumatism” and “entrereneur” — and the kids won. Read more and watch a video here

Longevity Your life expectancy may depend on where you live

If you’re rich, you’re likely to live a long life wherever your home is, but if you’re poor, your life expectancy is tied to where in the United States you live, according to a report in the New York Times based on research by the Health Inequality Project. In fact, life expectancy in some places — among them, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Springfield and Bloomington Indiana, and Las Vegas — has declined over the years and now is more or less on a par with life expectancy in Rwanda. On the other hand, in much of NYC, Los Angeles, Miami and smaller cities and towns, like Glenwood Springs, Colorado, San Jose and Santa Barbara, California, life expectancy is more than 10 years higher. The takeaway? Local efforts that help seniors have healthier lifestyles pay off — and the society you live in is as responsible for your “aging well” as you are. Read more at the New York Times and access the interactive map for your area here.


Policy Shorter life expectancy reduces lifetime benefits

Calls for Social Security reforms that include raising the age of eligibility and adjusting the benefit amount are getting louder, prompted in part by increased longevity over the past several decades. In response, the government has published a report that shows lower-income men live as many as 12.7 years fewer than men who earned higher-incomes. So, if you earned less over your lifetime, not only will you live for a shorter time, but you’ll also be cheated of a portion of your  lifetime benefit in comparison to your higher-earning peers. Raising the retirement age would only increase the gap.  Read the report summary.

Ageism A campaign to reframe aging

Less than two percent of foundation and charity dollars go to programs for aging research and services, and government social services for seniors are underfunded. None of this will change, a group of eight senior-advocacy organizations say, unless perceptions about older people change. So the group has launched a campaign, spurred by research that shows Americans’s vision of aging tends to vacillate between the unattainable “golden ager” ideal and an image of irreversible decrepitude and dependence brought on by seniors themselves. The campaign, Reframing Aging, will make the points that older people are “central rather than marginal participants in our collective life as a nation” and that older Americans are living lives with opportunities and challenges. Read more at Next Avenue

Style Wear whatever you want 

Ignore the headline — “You’re Never Too Old to Wear a Bikini.”  The real message of a recent Huffington Post story centers on body confidence at whatever age. It seems a 90-year-old woman named Irene visited an Australian beachwear store in advance of a family cruise, and workers from her nursing home convinced her to buy a bikini. Later the store shared a photo on its Facebook page of Irene in her bikini looking completely unfazed by her wrinkles, unleashing a torrent of admiring comments. It takes some years to build this kind of confidence — and it’s never too late to start building it. Read it at the Huffington Post.


Digital tech Smartphone apps — for seniors without smartphones

Fewer than one in three seniors owns a smartphone according to a 2015 Pew Research survey, and that number goes down among those in their 80s and 90s. But a lot of older people who live independently could benefit from smartphone apps — for example, Uber for calling a car to get you to the doctor’s office or a lunch date, Instacart for speedy grocery deliveries or Handy for house cleaning. One enterprising 24-year-old recognized that his grandmother, a San Diego resident, was missing out and came up with GoGoGrandparent, a go-between technology solution that lets you dial a number from your simple cellphone and select from a menu: 1 for an Uber ride, 2 for the return trip, 3 for meal delivery, and so on. The rest happens in the background. Word has spread, and the number of calls to the hotline is increasing by 20 percent every week. Stay tuned for GoGoGrandparent in your city. Read more at the San Diego Union Tribune.

LOL? How scary is the self-driving car experience, really?

Maybe you’ve seen Google’s video of seniors test-driving its self-driving car, looking cool as cucumbers. Last week, Carbuzz posted a video of a woman’s first hands-off-the-wheel experience of a self-driving Tesla, and her reaction may be more realistic. (Also see our recent article, “No Car Keys? No Problem!“)

Quick Links

Health Common OTC anticholinergic drugs like Benadryl may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s

Research Caffeine speeds up older adults’ reaction time

Health 1 in 6 new US HIV cases are people over 50


Happy clicking!



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