TOP TEN CLUES YOU’RE NOT A KID ANYMORE

smiley face2

 

  1. Everything hurts and if it doesn’t you’re just waiting for it to.
  2. “Your Body is a Wonderland,” in every sense of the word. Skin has gone south from your forehead to your ankles leaving a series of tiny, folded wrinkles that you can move around willy-nilly.
  3. Instead of tanning, you become covered with a splash of brown spots right out of a Jackson Pollock painting.
  4. Your teeth get bigger but your mouth gets smaller. (This is likely purposeful so that you will chew better and eat less).
  5. Everyone you see driving is entirely too young to be behind the wheel.
  6. You ask people on the phone to “speak up,” often more than once, and you still don’t know what they said.
  7. Complete strangers routinely ask if you have grandkids.
  8. Your mailbox is filled with ads for retirement homes, nursing facilities and funeral companies.
  9. You’re always looking for ramps.
  10. You can actually make a smiley face with the extra skin around your knees! (Test this by lying on your back and raising your leg in the air.)

 

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YOU CAN COUNT ON IT!!!

TENNIS

Did you know that out of the 5 million people who have Alzheimer’s right now, 3.2 million of them are women? By the age of 65, 1 in 6 women will get Alzheimer’s compared to 1 in 11 men. In fact, women over 65 are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s as they are breast cancer. Does this give you pause?

 Now I’ve got to tell you, that’s weird. Why? Because when you look at the checklist of what to do to NOT get Alzheimer’s, the number one thing science says it to, “make friends & create social connections.” And guess what? Women do that WAY better than men! In spades!

 So what gives? Apparently, if you have the APO-E4 gene, which is linked to Alzheimer’s, and you’re a woman, you are very likely to succumb to the disease. If you’re a man? Not so much. There is some research that says it’s because women live longer and that estrogen loss contributes to the buildup of amyloid plaques, but really? The jury is out.

 So here’s my take: if you’re a woman, make friends and lots of them. I consider myself super fortunate because I do have friends, lots of them, from Australia to Arizona. I have a zillion more friends than my husband and considering the statistics, maybe that’s a good thing. My friends come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Even better, the ones I know that I can count on would be totally cool if I started talking to plastic tumblers. In fact, they would talk to them, too, just so I don’t feel so alone. Now, that’s a real friend.

So, in case you are looking for one yourself, here is a checklist:

1.  They accept you “as is” but they don’t let you get away with BS.

2.  They are ‘empathetic’—not ‘sympathetic.’ 

 3.  They encourage you to be your BEST self and kick your butt if you’re not.     

 4.  They listen and listen and then some.

  5.  They are ‘there’ for you even if you haven’t seem them for 40 years.

 In the pictures above and below, you will see some of my tennis girlfriends. I love them. I can count on them and know what else? They can count on me.

 tennis friends 1

 

 

 

 

WHAT, ME WORRY??

jean calment

 

Imagine being born before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone—and not dying until cell phones were in use. Such was the case of Jean Calment, a woman from Arles, France who lived to be 122; the oldest living person ever documented. She not only outlived her husband and children, but her own grandchildren as well. The kicker? She smoked cigarettes for 100 years. No, that is not a typo.

 Was it good genes, diet, exercise? Not sure. Jean told people that she ate olive oil every day and even rubbed it on her skin. “I only have one wrinkle,” she said, “and I am sitting on it.”  She also enjoyed 2 lbs. of chocolate per week and swore that drinking good Port wine was essential. But I don’t think that was it either.

 Here is my take on her longevity. One researcher noted that she seemed, “almost biologically immune to stress.” As Calment said herself, “If you can’t do anything about it, why worry?” She also told others that even her name meant ‘calm’ and that was how she had lived her life. Indeed. Why worry? Perhaps that simple letting go of what you cannot change will increase your happy years ahead.

 So, my hat is off to this gal who once sold colored pencils to Vincent Van Gogh. She has set the bar for those of us who fret over the many things we simply cannot do anything about. For the record, Jean did quit smoking at the age of 115. I have to wonder though if it was simply because she could no longer see well enough to light it.  

 

 

FROM MICE TO MEN?

mice to men

I must be getting cranky in my older age when I am far more excited about a scientific discovery than in watching one, more ridiculous political debate. The real, ‘movers and shakers,’ we should be paying attention to are those who make the world a more beautiful place, not an uglier and more divided one.

So here’s the news: researchers in Australia have been able to restore brain function in mice! Granted, people are not mice, (though some politicians imply otherwise.). These scientists have been able to use a type of ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves gently open up the blood-brain barrier, (which is the layer that protects the brain against bacteria), and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglial cells are the waste-removal cells. Once activated, they are able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s!

This is crazy, wild, cutting-edge science and I am intrigued. Granted, by the time my own brain may have amyloid plaque it may be too late. However, imagine the possibilities for future generations. Frankly, I would rather pin my hopes on this kind of science than on any present, political candidate. So, don’t look for a sign in my yard or on my bumper with someone else’s name on it. My vote goes to those who actually make our lives better and more beautiful. And from artist to zoologist, you know who you are.

Put it on an iPod and Plug in!

jj on motorcycle

Noted neurologist, Oliver Sacks, once said that, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory… it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”

Recently, opera singer turned neuroscientist, Linda Maguire, researched using music for those with failing cognition. “Musical aptitude and music appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s. They can’t follow life or conversations. They don’t remember people. They get lost and confused. But because the part of the brain that internalizes music remains healthy, they can follow music.” 

Maguire’s study revealed 5 important benefits of music:

  1. Music evokes emotions that bring memories.
  2. Music is a way to reach beyond the disease and reach the person.
  3. Music can bring emotional and physical closeness. With dementia, patients often lost the ability to express emotions.  Through music, if they are ambulatory, they can even dance. Dancing can lead to hugs, kisses and touching, which brings security and memories.
  4. Singing engages both mind and body. It gives you better posture, better oxygenation and stimulates tissue because the heart and lungs literally vibrate.
  5. Music can shift mood, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions. 

Maguire’s study says that three of the most therapeutic songs are: “The Sound of Music,” “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It also suggests that if you are caring for an elderly person, to compile a playlist of songs that were popular when they were 18-25 years old. Put it on an iPod and plug them in!!

On that note, I leave you with, “I Wanna Die Young,” a song I wrote inspired by my grandmother. That is she pictured above on the back of a Harley in her 70’s. She is the same girl that still sang “Happy Birthday” to me at age 93, long after she had forgotten who I was.  

https://www.reverbnation.com/helenhudson

 

 

NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT

Baby-Sneeze

Did you know that right now there are 800 million of us over the age of 60? And guess what else? We have a few things going for us that I didn’t even know:

  1. Our immune systems are stronger so we get fewer colds.
  2. We suffer less migraines—(maybe because we have less to think about?)
  3. We’re less sweaty. . .(unless you fall into the next statistic).
  4. 75% of people in their 80’s report better sexual satisfaction than they had in their 40’s!
  5. While we aren’t as good at math (that’s what calculators are for) and are slower to respond to commands, (likely purposeful), our vocabulary, spatial orientation, verbal memory, AND problem solving abilities, are better than they were in our 20s!
  6. We have less allergies because our immunoglobin E production (which exacerbates them) decreases as we age.

 Frankly, that’s nothing to sneeze at.  And if you’re my age or older–you won’t!

 

WANTED: STRONG SENIOR!

wanted senior1

Here is the Ad I posted in our local paper last week: “Wanted! Strong, hard-working, high school senior who wants to earn extra money after school, moving heavy boxes, cleaning roof gutters and other yard work. $15/hour.”

Only ONE person answered my ad. The guy pictured above. Yup. Not only was he older than I am, he arrived at my doorstep wearing a back brace AND a knee brace!

“Um,” I smiled as I opened the door. “You aren’t exactly a high-school senior,” I said.

“Oh,” he countered. “I didn’t see the ‘high school’ part. I just saw ‘senior’….and I’m definitely that!” Understatement. 

According to Fact Tank, by 2022, 31.9% of the work force will be people over 65! If my gentleman caller today is any indication, they are right.  Putnam Investments recently published a survey, which found that 7 million previously retired folks have even returned to the work force! That rate is projected to jump to 67.5 percent by 2022.  

Scientific studies prove that when men, in particular, retire their risk of clinical depression and even suicide rises sharply. The research shows that, “A man is about as likely to ask for help for depression as to ask for directions, and for much the same reason.  It’s part of the male code, part of masculine culture.”  So I’m glad that my retiree showed up for his sake, as much as mine.

Well, my ‘senior’ spent about 4 hours at my place and did one heck of a job. (Though I was a bit nervous when he first headed up the ladder). In fact, he was far more thorough than the last high school senior I hired. Not only that, we had interesting, thought-provoking conversations and given our ages, we certainly had lots in common.

But here is my real concern: how come not one, single teenager responded to my Ad? Are they over-booked? Or do they just not need the money? If things were ‘right’ in the world, people over 65 would not HAVE to labor for $15/hr. If things were even ‘righter,’ teenagers would!!!