From news you can use to finds you might love, click through our picks from the week online.
New York City’s oldest old – a group portrait
The population of people age 85 and older in NYC has increased by 30 percent since 2000 – faster than any other demographic. This week, the NY Times took a look at the range of experiences and attitudes that this statistic represents by spending time with and asking questions of six seniors in their 80s and 90s. They include Helen Moses, who has fallen in love with her neighbor at Riverdale’s Hebrew Home, where they live, and plans to marry; Upper West Sider John Sorensen, who spends much of his time alone since he lost his partner of 60 years and now is afraid he’ll live a long time; and filmmaker Jonas Mekas, who is working on several projects and says he is busier now than ever (watch Mekas’s beautiful short film “A Happy Man” on Senior Planet). Read about all six by clicking here.
Oops! They got the memory deficit thing wrong.
New research out of Spain has reversed common “wisdom” about older age and memory loss: It’s just not true that we remember less about past events as we age. So, what’s the deal? Previous studies asked older and younger subjects to recall events from their youth; “If a young adult is asked about an event in his/her childhood, he/she will have to go back 10 to 15 years; by contrast, an older adult has to go back 40 years or more,” the study lead explains. So the researchers instead asked subjects in different age groups to remember something that happened a day ago, a week ago, a year ago. The result? Younger and older research subjects scored the same on all but the most distant events (a year ago), and even there, although older people recalled fewer details, their memory of facts didn’t differ much. Read more here.
Caitlyn Jenner, most famous senior of the week
“Caitlyn Jenner owned Google this week,” Time magazine proclaimed. It seems that Jenner, who revealed her new persona on the cover of Vanity Fair, was the most searched term on Google (10 million searches). She also launched her Twitter account on June 1 and already has 2.49 million followers. http://time.com/3911644/
Another Jenner world record, and at 65? Who’da thought! Humbled & honored to have reached 1M followers in 4 hrs. Thank you for your support.
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015
Downton Abbey creator speaks out on ageism
During a panel discussion at the Writer’s Guild Theater in Beverly Hills last week, Julian Fellowes, the man behind TV’s hit Downton Abby series, said, “I like older characters to have emotional lives, because I think it’s truthful.” He continued, “In movieland, everyone stops being a sexual being at about 32, at least for women…. The men are allowed to go on until they’re 78. I’ve never worked that out. In my world, on the whole, older people have emotions like anyone else.” Fellowes, who is 65, said that he still has to write the final episode of the final season (the cast is currently shooting episodes six and seven), but a trailer shown at the event suggested it will continue to focus on the older characters: Lady Violet’s and Isobel’s disagreements, and Mrs. Hughes’ and Mr. Carson’s romantic relationship. Read more and the International Business Times.
Detroit gentrification is a bust for seniors
While many Detroit residents welcome gentrification as a revitalization of the Motor City, there’s another side to the story: the forced relocation of low-income, mostly African American seniors. With its 83,000 abandoned homes, the city might seem to be a blank slate, but that perception overlooks its vulnerable senior population. Now a Senior Housing Displacement-Preservation Coalition has formed to try and stem the tide – and to ease the transition for those who become displaced. To read more about the group’s efforts and ideas for Detroit, click here.
Can amphetamines keep older brains sharp?
Whaddya know, it seems that amphetamines could be a key to restoring brain function and boosting memory, according to a recent study. The study found that older adults who were given a small dose of the stimulant drug performed as well as young adults in a short-term memory test, and their results were dramatically better after taking the stimulant compared with a group that took a placebo. The researchers, from Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development, say this study is the first proof of concept for a link between dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, and improving brain function. To read more about the study’s findings, click here.
“Overheard in Assisted Living” quote of the week
Older black lives matter
Co-director of the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research Dr. James S. Jackson says researchers are missing the point when they flag genetics as the point of differentiation in health disparities among older Americans. Research by Jackson and his team shows that rather than being genetically based, shorter life expectancy among African American men and women is linked to structural racism and people’s efforts to cope with environmental stressors – bad housing, inhospitable social services and the like – over which they have no control – without sliding into depression. Read more here.
Latest Uber update helps hard-of-hearing drivers and riders
You’ve probably heard of Uber – it’s a mobile app based ride-sharing company that connects people who need a taxi with people who offer “taxi” rides in their own cars, and it’s taking the world by storm – “to Uber” has already become a frequently used verb. Last week, the company announced that the latest app update will be accessible to drivers and riders who are hard of hearing; the company is currently testing the update in Chicago, LA, San Francisco and D.C. To read more click here. Watch how the system works: (Video link for mobile)
Visit a town that’s run on Twitter
Imagine if you had to use Twitter to file a noise complaint. In one Spanish town, you’d have to get up to speed – all of the local services in Jun are provided via 140 characters or less. The local council’s communications have been shifted to Twitter, which the town’s mayor says has benefited its 3,500 residents because of the system’s efficiency. The mayor says that the use of Twitter also leads to more direct interactions between citizens and civil servants, leading to more value being placed on the government workers’ efforts to help. Talk about direct democracy. For more on the town and to see some of the tweets in action, click here.
How to get the best vacation photos EVER with your camera phone
Travel photographer Cole Rise knows a thing or two about taking good pictures(which might explain why he has over 906,000 followers on Instagram). Rise recently sat down with Buzzfeed to share shooting and editing tips and tricks that can help beginners get DSLR-worthy photos from a camera phone. Among his tips: When you’re shooting a landscape, put a human in it; when you’re editing, brighten shadows for better balance; try taking pictures from the roof of your car; and always shoot in portrait mode for Instagram. To read more of his tips, click here.
Newly discovered link between brain and immune system shifts focus of AD research
In a major discovery, University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. Experts believe that the discovery of these lymphatic vessels will lead to new approaches to research on Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurological conditions. To read more, click here.
- Poor sleep linked to Alzheimer’s
- “Open” sports like fencing improve cognitive functioning
- Past 70 and sedentary? Starting to exercise now will still protect your bones.
(Video link for mobile)