From news you should know to finds you might love, click through our picks from the week online.
A blood test for Alzheimer’s? An article in Nature Medicine raises hope for a simple blood test that could predict Alzheimer’s as early as two years before any symptoms appear. In a study of more than 500 healthy people age 70 and over, the test had a 90 percent accuracy rate. Some experts question the test’s efficacy; it’s likely that more research will settle the debate. Read more here.
$26 million awarded in age discrimination suit A 66-year-old Staples employee with a stellar work record was fired by the company after three years of ageist taunts (“old goat” and “old coot” among them) and false accusations. The reason for his dismissal: He “stole” a 68-cent bell pepper from the cafeteria, which operated on a trust system. A Los Angeles jury recently found that Bobby Dean Nickel had been discriminated against and harassed, and awarded him $26 million. Read the whole story at the Los Angeles Daily News.
Hearing aids get their cool factor That’s because the cool kids at Apple have teamed up with audiologists and a Danish hearing aid company to come up with a hearing device that connects to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, taking advantage of the devices’ accessibility features. The tiny earpiece is loaded with useful high tech features that make smartphone use a piece of cake: Phone calls, chats, music, movies and GPS enabled turn-by-turn navigation can all be streamed directly to it. The price tag isn’t so cool: the LINX will sell for $3000. Read more about the LINX and its never-before features on CNN.com.
Creating our own communities Depending on whose statistics you use, between 17 and 36 percent of older Americans currently live in a NORC, or naturally occurring retirement community, and New York City is the model’s epicenter, according to an article on the website Governing. Some of NYC’s NORCs have evolved into senior villages; entire neighborhoods have been classified. Now, some cities are setting up systems to support NORCs by providing transportation and other services – a trend that’s likely to escalate as populations age. Read more at Governing.com.
Aging in place with Alzheimer’s Sensor technology has been used in cities to provide data about traffic patterns, where water pipes are leaking, and so on, is now being applied to help people age in place. In a pilot project being conducted in Norway, one couple is studying how a smart home powered by sensors enables people with Alzheimer’s Disease to live independently. Take a look at how it’s going in this moving video and for more background, read the article here.
Feeling bad about yourself can make you sick It turns out feeling bad about yourself – you’re old, you’re plump, nobody even notices you anymore (fill in the blanks) – doesn’t just feel bad. It also can negatively affect your health. In a four-year study of people age 60 and up that measured feelings of self-worth as well as health outcomes, those who were down on themselves as they aged were more likely to fall ill. Researchers believe that stress hormones are to blame and emphasize the importance of making new friends and learning new things. Now the funny part of the story: One website for shrinks (ie: should know better) led its story with the sentence “Tell grandma she’s looking good if you want to protect her health.” Yo, Grandma, bet that made you feel better! Click here to read more.
RIP an icon You could call him the harbinger of post-war optimism in the US. Glenn McDuffie, the young sailor in Alfred Eisenstaed’s famous Times Square V-J Day kiss photograph, died at 86 last week in Florida. McDuffie made headlines a few years ago when a forensic artist backed up his claim that he was the sailor; at age 80, he started a whirlwind tour to tell his story. “Women would pay $10 to take a picture kissing him on the cheek,” according to the NY Post. Click here to read more of McDuffie’s story.
Do gray hairs equal wisdom? Sorry, not really. In “The Science of Older and Wiser,” Phyllis Korkki explores various theories of wisdom – what it is, how we come by it – and finds that though definitions vary, certain features hold: an ability to see the fine-grained complexities of issues; compassion for self and others and a selfless way of giving back; and deliberate an easy acceptance of limitations combined with a positive attitude; and that’s not all. The bottom line: not everyone grows wiser; you have to work at it. Read more in the NY Times Retirement section.
Clutter: a senior problem? In the wake of a new study, NPR broadcast a story about “Why older adults have a hard time letting their stuff go.” The segment, below, led some commenters on the NPR website to object. One woman wrote: “I am always struck by the cheerful way in which folk who aren’t yet elderly – at least in their own minds – speak of elders as if they were of some different species. Makes me want to write on walls: ‘You, too, may find yourself elderly… Will you cheerfully cast off the comfortable things that have surrounded you?'” Read more comments – and add your own – here.
Got Irish in you? MyHeritage.com is offering a St. Patrick’s Day deal that waives its annual fee for any records in specific categories: Passengers arriving in New York from Ireland 1846 – 1851; Ireland marriages, 1619-1898; Index of Irish Wills 1484 – 1858; the 1851 Dublin City Census Ireland; and Ireland, Deaths, 1864-1870. The fee waiver goes into effect for 24 hours at 12:01 EST on the 17th and applies to searches on the website and app. At $9.99 it’s not a big saving – but it might inspire you to dig around. Click here to visit My Heritage.
Bikini wax – and wash In Oregon, a group of older women were inspired by a local strip club to organize a bikini car wash. They’d already tried bingo, a spaghetti dinner and a yard sale to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s annual walk – this sounded like more fun. So they tried it… without bikinis (though a couple of participants did paint bikinis on their T-shirts). The result: $550 in six hours. Click here to read more.