From news you can use to finds you light like, take a look at our picks from the week online.
Person of the Week: Volunteering at 103
Mary Cotter didn’t take a break from volunteering at her local senior center when she turned 103 last Monday. She says keeping busy keeps her going. Cotter has been a volunteer at the center for 25 years; these days, she drives there from her home weekdays to make and serve tea and coffee to people who are way younger than she is. “They call me the barmaid because I’m serving drinks,” our POW told Eyewitness News.
Alzheimer’s: Thinking outside of the box
Most doctors say there is no effective cure for AD. A team of doctors and other professionals at Indiana University School of Medicine’s Healthy Aging Brain Center disagree. Their team-based care model, with its regular home check-ins, focuses on keeping patients’ brains active (the team recommended dance classes for one woman, computer games for another), combatting depression and warning patients not to take certain common drugs like Tylenol PM and Benadryl that can exacerbate the disease. The results have been positive, and the team has been awarded a sizable Medicare grant to help implement the team-based care model in medical offices throughout the midwest. Click here to read more about this novel approach.
How we see ourselves
Generational identity is strongest among Baby Boomers, age 51 to 69, according to a new research study by the Pew, whereas people age 70 to 87 are the least likely to embrace their label as the Silent Generation. Boomers also think most highly of themselves on many counts — more tolerant, less cynical, more environmentally conscious and more entrepreneurial (they tie with Millennials on this one). Read more at the Pew.
Password managers in plain English
You know you should have a separate password for each of your accounts, and every one of your passwords should be virtually impossible to figure out — and remember. One solution is password managers, but what exactly are they, how do they work and what should you look for when deciding which one to use? An article on securingthehuman.org, a monthly security awareness newsletter for computer users, lays it all out in plain English. To read it, click here.
Rethinking the “not enough sleep” paradigm
Can’t seem to get the eight hours of sleep you need for brain and body health? You might not need it. The idea that humans need at least eight hours is based on an assumption about how we lived before modern technologies upset our natural rhythms. Now, a team of researchers has examined that assumption by studying three hunter-gatherer populations. Turns out, they don’t sleep ten hours or nine, or even eight — they sleep for some six hours and are perfectly healthy. Of course, their well-being might have something to do with their paleo diets, but the fact remains that humans do not “naturally” sleep from dusk to dawn. In the absence of thermostats, our natural sleep cycles are dictated not by light and darkness, but by the cold night air. Maybe future smart devices will tell us when the outdoor temperature is conducive to sleep? Read more about the sleep study on NPR.org.
The story of George Bell
Very few people knew the name George Bell before the New York Times published a powerful long-form article about him last week. At age 72, Bell had died alone and unnoticed. Living by himself, he had become something of a hermit and a hoarder, and in the absence of anyone who cared, it took city authorities months to piece together his story — did he have family; did he have friends; was he really, even, George Bell? Since the publication of “The Lonely Death of George Bell,” which sent ripples through the Internet, Bell has also become a case study in senior isolation. Read the story at nytimes.com.
Amazon sues reviewers
The days of relying on a store clerk to advise you on which TV to buy are over. User reviews, especially those posted on Amazon, are the go-to. But what if they’re bought opinions? It turns out that more than a thousand people who’ve been posting reviews to Amazon were paid $5 a hit to write positive things about products that they never tried out. The online retail behemoth is suing the fake reviewers for violating the site’s conditions of use. So, can you ever trust an Amazon review again? The trick is to read several. Read more about the lawsuit on arstechnic.com.
How we think about aging determines how we age
It’s not big news, but the Wall Street Journal has neatly wrapped up several threads of research that show how our expectations and attitudes about age affect our health as we grow older. The Journal does not neglect to point out that how we feel about age has a lot to do with the cultural stereotypes we often unwittingly absorb. “In test after test, negative stereotypes have been shown to lead to poor health results. Over the past two decades, dozens of studies from psychologists, medical doctors and neuroscientists have shown that older people with more negative views of aging fare more poorly on health than those with less-pessimistic attitudes.” Read the article at wsj.com, click through to the studies the article links to, and watch the video here or below:
Fighting embolisms with microrobots
What if a tiny robot could get inside your vein and break up a blood clot? A team of Egyptian researchers at Cairo’s Medical Micro & Nano Robotics Laboratory decided to try it. Blood clots are one of the perils of a sedentary life as we age; they can form in the vein, travel to the lung or heart and prove fatal. (High blood pressure, high cholesterol and certain diseases are also risk factors.) Currently, there is no speedy way to dissolve a clot, but the researchers in Cairo believe that their innovation — a two-millimeter-long, 300-micrometer-wide helical microrobot — could be the answer. Driven by a magnetic field, it swims through the body’s veins and enters a clot to break it up. So far, the robot has been successful with artificial blood. The researchers believe that once they add an anticoagulant, it will be able to do its job with real blood. Read more here.
If you think the Internet’s in the cloud…
Watch this fascinating video posted last week to Vox.com (hint: Sharks have bitten the Internet).
- Next Avenue lists 8 things never to do during your workout
- AARP.com warns of a Medicare open enrollment scam
- 5 ways to stamp out ageism