The video below is making its rounds. What does it say about the brains of older people–and of those much younger? We may be too hard on ourselves??!!
You will realize from the re-do post that follows tomorrow, returning to blogging is posing some challenges for my older brain–frustrating, not critical. It was written yesterday; planned for publishing today. I’ll save it until tomorrow to publish, that way no one is on overload. Since the weather is still very cold and getting colder, the redo perhaps adds insight into the older brain–as well as dealing with cold weather.
Watch this video and the next (the interview that follows). Does it lift spirits?
Related: A Test for Teenagers
BABY GRANDMA IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!
I doubt there’s much argument: the world is screwy–a mess–and the weather isn’t exempt. Especially recently, unusually cold weather has gripped much of the country. What are implications for older people?
- Bundle up: We’ve known since we were bundled up as little children that we had to wear different, warmer clothing. But did we know that loose–as opposed to tight–layers of clothing keep us warmer because of the air trapped between the layers? or that mittens are much warmer than gloves?
- Be alert–slick pavement: We learned to walk carefully on slippery, icy pavement, most likely when our young, supple little bodies slipped and fell–relatively close to the ground and were not as susceptible to the consequences of aging broken bones. Click the US News older adults guide, –dealing with cold weather.
- Over-exertion is bad: Children heard that older people shouldn’t over-exert themselves–something about the heart as I recall; but what exactly did that mean? In our younger days–at least mine–I happily shoveled snow for our next-door neighbors who I thought were old (50-60?), and thus could have heart problems if they shoveled. Would older people today find this act of kindness a sweet insult? (Read Mayo Clinic’s explanation of low temperatures’ impact on aging bodies…eg. narrowing blood vessels.)
- Older bodies lose heat faster than younger bodies. Older people tend to feel colder. Why?The fatty layer below the skin thins with age thus reducing the fat layer that helps conserve heat. When it thins, tolerance for cold decreases. A conversation about aging parents who stayed with their married daughter over Thanksgiving, elicited major complaining: Her parents raised the thermostat in her house to stay warm. The daughter “suffocated” throughout their visit because it was “intolerably hot.” Normal bodily changes can make older people feel colder. Is that a “heads-up” for us when we’re house-guests?
- Dress smart. Should we, older adults, “wear boots with non-skid soles even on short trips outside and make certain our walkway is clear and treated with sand or salt? If using a cane, do we make certain the rubber tip has been replaced before it has worn out? Some health professionals recommend using specialized tips for canes and walkers designed to provide extra traction on the ice…..” Good advice? It comes from US News’s Older Adults Guide To Cold Weather.
Many of us inching towards 80 don’t consider ourselves old and value staying healthy, staying mobile, and having independence. Sr. Advisor R, who you may recall lived in her home independently over 60 years (and died there at 101) had many wise sayings–this one jumps out at me: “Take care of yourself or you won’t be able to take care of anything else.“ Isn’t that what aging smart is all about?
* * *
Changes in the Body With Aging: Richard W. Besdine, MD, Greer Director, Division of Geriatrics and Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults: NIH–Nat’l Institute on Aging
Video: from AGE UK —How Older People are Affected by Cold Weather
While “must-do” and “don’t know how to do” have prevented my planned return via “INCHING TOWARDS EIGHTY,” I return here to wish all who are continuing to follow, a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY—and hopefully much more stable and peaceful—2019.
Simplifying Helps People Age Better
As we inch towards 80–a new normal for me is attempted, taken from the late Sr. Advisor R’s “SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY.” Admittedly I don’t get an A+. That said, after trauma, overload etc. it makes sense to be conscious of ratcheting down…simplifying.
When on overload, it’s difficult. It involves decisions: what must be done and how to do it efficiently. Reconnecting at holiday time this year— after a 2-year absence since my husband died—topped my to-do list.
I was going away. Armed with address list, boxes of cards and stamps, in addition to the normal necessities, I headed to the DC area. Perhaps the break, getting out of the routine, contributed to clearer thinking. In any event, I take out the address lists, look at the quantity of people, and think “options:”
1. Computer-generated letter: print, fold, sign, address envelope, lick stamp…perhaps more personal and informative than a card, but as time-consuming.
2. Emailed cards: Subscribers (I’m one at Jacquie Lawson) have loads of choices and the attractive holiday note cards allow for short or long personal messages. Some people prefer a card that can be held and displayed (I’m usually one). But the red and gold e-note-card prevailed. My unexpected reward came via the reply card that accompanies the e-card. I received many notes back—heartwarming and interesting, especially for someone who has been “out of the loop” and that includes so many older people.
Whether snail mail or email connecting at holidays enriches life. Doesn’t that help all ages feel good? And shouldn’t that help parents and us age better–if not–well.
Note: This blog still takes no ads. The link to JL is to get an idea of e-card offerings.
My husband’s unexpected death in 2016 triggered much thinking and a resolve to move slowly –focusing thought and effort on avoiding making mistakes. With one brother living on the other side of the country and no children, I realized I was accountable to no one but myself and better carefully put my life back together, but in a different-in-someways way.
Indeed, then, life ahead was like a blank canvas that of course would–in time–fill. That said, I wanted to fill it as carefully as possible. Taking a long pause from HELP PARENTS AGE WELL felt like a lessening of responsibility. It felt right. More time to think carefully and make necessary adjustments… however long that would take.
Unexpectedly Dad’s words, at the time of Mom’s death, came back–something like “one of you (my husband or me) will survive the other. I’m fortunate to have you, your husband, and your brother; but you have no children.
Fortunately that wasn’t a problem. In fact I was happy that I wouldn’t be cast as a seemingly bad person rejecting well meaning, but unwanted, advice from family. And it was easy to let good friends know their friendship was invaluable and I’d ask when I needed something… assuming that was OK.
While I’m no longer the child of aging parents I am inching towards 80. I realize wisdom from my senior advisors, shared through this blog, is coming in handy… surprisingly often.
So I’m beginning a next-step blog for us: INCHING TOWARDS 80. I’m behind on new technology necessities, so please bear with me. The prototype is published and I believe you can see it by switching to it from this site–HELP PARENTS AGE WELL —I think/hope. Please let me know. IT SEEMS IT ISN’T switching. Hope to succeed this weekend when I have my computer. Currently my smaller “devices” are what I’m using.
The Best Article on Relocating Aging Parents I’ve seen
While it has been a year and 5 months since my husband died and I’m doing well, I’m still getting my current life in order. Specifically I haven’t yet had time to begin my “Inching Towards 80” blog and much of my spare time is devoted to reorganizing–everything. In doing so, I came across a saved AARP article on relocating aging parents that is, I think, so excellent that I’m coming back to my blog so I can share the link. Nuff said. If I have time I’ll add the link under “Related” to my previous posts on aging parents and moving. But for now click: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/family/info-09-2009/goyer_the_big_move.html .