Joni Mitchell is the face of high fashion – and more from the week online

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

joni-mitchell-saint-laurent.250Joan & Joni

They say three is a trend – but two is getting close. Last week fashion houses Celine and Saint Laurent unveiled ad campaigns featuring older female cultural icons: Joan Didion, 80, for Celine; and Joni Mitchell, 71, for Saint Laurent. The response has been mixed – some commenters complained that Didion is too skinny for a woman of any age, while others said Mitchell looks more like Johnny Winter in the Saint Laurent photos – but most agree that if portraying iconic elders in fashion is a sign of the times, it’s a good sign. As Rachel Cooke says in the Guardian, “At least [fashion] seems finally to have grasped that women don’t simply give up shopping the moment they turn 50.” Joni Mitchell’s Joan-Didion-celine-250rare foray into the limelight coincides with the release of her “Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced,a box set that includes songs from the past 40 years, along with a book featuring six of her paintings and piece of autobiographical writing. Read more.

Know the word “downsize”? Help develop a new app.

Dealing with your or your loved one’s stuff when you need to pare down is stressful – it’s hard to know what do to  with it, how to sell it, who to give it to…  A startup that’s building a new iPad/iPhone app designed to help is looking for seniors to get involved. If you’d like to help test Kesedoto (keep, sell, donate, toss – get it?) in its early or “Beta” phase and provide feedback, just go to and enter your email address to be notified when the Beta app is available. Kesetodo is also doing 20 minute interviews with people who have gone through the experience of dealing with stuff as part of a move, downsizing or remodeling, or in handling a parent’s estate. If you’re interested in being interviewed, email to schedule a time. (You don’t have to be an app user to participate in an interview.)

How’s your brain?

There’s a new DIY brain health test that involves making like a flamingo. According to a report by AARP, a recent study shows that if you can’t stand on one leg for more than 20 seconds, it might indicate damage to small vessels in your brain from silent mini-strokes – even if you have no other symptoms. Wobbly? You might want to talk to your doctor. Read more here.

Bright Old Things

In celebration of the “retirement renaissance,” the British department store Selfridges has transformed its annual Bright Young Things initiative – a showcase of rising stars in the worlds of fashion and art – into Bright Old Things for 2015. The event, which takes over Selfridges’ windows stars Sue Kreitzman, the cookbook author turned artist who Sue Bourne featured in her documentary Fabulous Fashionistas, along with 13 other older creative people who switched career later in life. Click here to learn more.


Golden Globes, Sr.

“’Boyhood’ proves there are still great roles for women over 40, as long as you get hired when you’re under 40,” Golden Globes co-host Amy Poehler said during the awards ceremony on Sunday night – but in fact this year’s Globes included a few wins for people – and characters – way over four-0. The biggest was for the original Amazon TV series “Transparent” and its transgender dad Jeffrey Tambor, 70, who won best actor in a TV series (“Transparent” is on our list of TV series that break stereotypes of older age). Also winning: Julianna Moore for her role in the film “Just Alice,” about a law professor who develops early onset Alzheimer’s. Side note: Helen Mirren won most loved attendee by wearing a “Je suis Charlie” tribute pen on her gown, in honor of the cartoonists killed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Read the whole list of winners.


Lessons on life

A newspaper in Prior Lake, Minnesota asked two groups of people some weighty questions about life: kids in a local kindergarten class and residents at a senior center. What’s the most important thing in life? (“Doing stuff and never giving up,” one 5-year-old said.) What makes you happy? (Friends, most of the seniors said.) What’s the most important lesson you can learn? (“Not to be a worrier,” a 92-year-old said.) Read more answers here.

Seniors – the new face of Facebook

The Pew Internet project released its latest survey results, which showed another strong uptick in senior adoption of digital technology and social sharing. Some 56 percent of Internet users ages 65-plus use Facebook, up from 45 percent a little over a year ago. Pinterest also made inroads- up to 17 percent of seniors use the image-sharing, mood board building site, up from nine percent in late 2013. Read the report.


Happy hearts

In the first large study to look at the connection between optimism and cardiovascular health, people with the most positive attitudes were twice as likely to have ideal heart health, based on measures used by the American Heart Association. The results point to the possibility of targeting people’s psychological state s a way of lowering the risk of stroke. Read more here.

Sweet news in tech

Hershey’s Chocolate has teamed up with a manufacturer of 3D printers to create the CocoJet – a 3D pinter that prints with… chocolate! You can’t make your own crazy confectionary shapes yet, but the machine is in the works, according to Engadget. Watch the video and read more here.


Robots using YouTube to learn how to cook

Concerned about how your future robot helper will provide you with the excellent meals you deserve? Fear not. A team of researchers has been experimenting with a system that teaches robots the subtle hand movements involved in following a recipe by using the same types of videos you might use to learn how to make banana bread – or use an iPad. The scientists created a “YouCook dataset” made up of segments from 88 videos, including one by popular YouTube cook “Laura in the Kitchen,” that show people cooking various recipes to teach the robots the hand movements and tools involved. Read more on Gizmag.

“Older Americans with a Disability”

According to recent US Census returns, about 38.7 percent of people 65-plus have one or more disabilities. And with the number of seniors set to mushroom in the next 20 years, disability advocates are exploring the implications. Trouble walking or climbing stairs was the most often reported disability, followed by serious trouble reading. Where people lived made a big difference, too: Older American in the South had the highest incidence of disability. “The future of disability among older Americans will be affected by how this country prepares for and manages a complex array of demographic, fiscal, medical, technological, and other developments that will unfold in the next several decades,” an American Community Survey Report says. (See more here, including disability state-by-state.)

Happy clicking! 

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