Blog Posts - healthy aging

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Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
…how drinking coffee may help us live longer. Coffee lovers, rejoice. In the largest look so far at the effects of drinking coffee, it turns out that those of us who drink about three cups a day may live longer than our non-coffee-drinking counterparts.  Read more...


 

Weighty Issue

Weighty Issue
Are we teaching our children today what they need to know to assure good health beyond childhood and throughout their lives?  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
...the healthiest states for people over age 65. Minnesota tops the list of the healthiest places to live for older adults in 2017, according to a new report. It’s the third time in five years that the North Star State has held the top slot in America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. The report ranks each state on 34 measures that help determine overall health, including behaviors such as smoking, access to physical spaces like walking paths, preventable hospitalizations and community efforts to build healthy populations.  Read more...


 

Green Old Age

Green Old Age
A friend of mine recently questioned something she read on this website that presented what she called “a depressing view of aging.” She wondered why we’d included it if we’re determined to challenge ageism—which has been defined as “prejudicial attitudes toward older people, old age and aging itself.” Shouldn’t we present an entirely positive view of life’s later years?  Read more...


 

Young Blood

Young Blood
If you were offered a way to feel healthier and even look younger, would you take it? What if it required you to have repeated transfusions with the blood of teenagers or 20-somethings?  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about….

Health experts are talking about….
...slowing aging with intense workouts. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently discovered that a certain kind of exercise, called high intensity interval training, or HIIT, can slow or even reverse some effects of aging at the cellular level. HIIT is a type of aerobic workout that includes short, intense bursts of activity as part of a moderate to vigorous exercise session.  Read more...


 

Mind Your Qs, Help Your Diet

Mind Your Qs, Help Your Diet
Is your midlife palate bored to ambivalence about mealtime? Often I lament the ho-hum of my menu repertoire, but I still go back to the tried and true in every food group. But recently, in an unlikely coincidence, I tried and enjoyed two new- to-me foods that begin with the letter Q: quinoa and quark.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
…more arthritis diagnoses among working-age adults. Not only are more Americans developing arthritis, they’re doing so at younger ages, states a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2013 and 2015, 54.4 million (22.7 percent, or more than one in five) American adults were diagnosed with this condition, a leading cause of disability. Fifty-nine percent of those diagnosed were younger than 65. Incidence is increasing, and by 2040, arthritis will affect an estimated 78.4 million adults in the United States.  Read more...


 

Whose Vision Problem Is It?

Whose Vision Problem Is It?
I recently saw a feature in a magazine about an item so intriguing that I was compelled to investigate the retailer's website. I left my comfy reading chair to go to the computer with the intention of making a purchase. When I got to the website, I found that I could barely make out the product description because of the font and color they used. The print was small and the colors—gray on gray—did not provide contrast for me to read what I wanted to learn. So frustrating!  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
early detection of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Eye experts say diagnosing AMD early is vital to slowing the progression of this incurable disease, the leading cause of blindness in people age 50 and older.  Read more...


 

Save the Planet, Harm your Family?

Save the Planet, Harm your Family?
I like to think of myself as being more open to new ideas at midlife, willing to change some practices in the name of progress. I have, for example, taken greater personal responsibility in the reduce, reuse, recycle realm.  Read more...


 

Health experts are talking about…

Health experts are talking about…
… hepatitis C testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued recommendations that all baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) be tested for the hepatitis C virus—even if they’ve never had a blood transfusion or shared needles.  Read more...


 

Deep Reading

Deep Reading
I’ve spent my life immersed in a warm bath of fiction. I always have one novel going and another waiting. On the rare occasions when I have no new book on hand, I feel slightly panicky.  Read more...


 

Getting over the Cold Shoulder

Getting over the Cold Shoulder
About a year ago I had a pain in my shoulder that didn't go away. I am still not sure what caused the problem but it started with a tingling and got progressively worse. Over a period of a few weeks, it turned into a condition called frozen shoulder, when the large bone of the arm sticks to the shoulder blade. I could not raise my right arm above my head and had a hard time doing even simple daily tasks like getting dressed or reaching for something from a high pantry shelf.  Read more...


 

An Ounce of Prevention? Maybe

An Ounce of Prevention? Maybe
I’ve always figured that the fewer medications I take, the better. If there’s something wrong with me and a drug can help, I might not have much of a choice. But dose myself daily to prevent something that might never go wrong? Every drug has some side effects. For me, it’s a hard decision to make.  Read more...


 

Overdosed?

Overdosed?
When doctors prescribe new medications for me, I always wonder whether they’re getting the dosage right. There’s a reason I’m wary, and it has nothing to do with distrusting my doctors personally.  Read more...


 

All in Good Taste

All in Good Taste
Recently, I overheard someone turning down a gooey, brownie-like concoction, saying, “No thanks, it's too sweet for my taste.” Wait a minute, was that me uttering those words? Too sweet? That's up there with too rich and too thin, isn’t it?  Read more...


 

How to Have a Good Life: Lean In—to Your Relationships

How to Have a Good Life: Lean In—to Your Relationships
I was stuck for a time when I was in my 20s. My career and dating possibilities were going nowhere, and I struggled with depression. I was far from home, but one day I talked to my father about all of this over the phone. Afterward, he sent me a long, thoughtful letter. He was then in his early 50s, and he wrote that, looking back over his own life, he was convinced that the most important thing for him had always been his relationships with family and friends.  Read more...


 

He Was His Own Miracle

He Was His Own Miracle
There’s an article elsewhere on this Web site that expresses doubts about something I believe in. There’s no scientific evidence, it says, that thinking positively can keep you healthy or that being determined to fight back against an illness can help you heal. I’m not a scientist, but I’m convinced that the mind can profoundly influence what goes on in the body because I’ve seen it happen.  Read more...


 

Retire? Never!

Retire? Never!
When I was in my 30s, a friend asked whether I was saving money for retirement. I laughed. As a single mother with two small children, I could barely keep my head above water financially. No, I told her, I had nothing saved. She asked how I’d manage when I stopped working. I had no brain cells to spare to think about my old age, which seemed unreal to me anyway.  Read more...


 

Avoiding Drug Interactions Just Got Easier

Avoiding Drug Interactions Just Got Easier
My mom had a great relationship with her regular pharmacy. In addition to getting prescriptions filled, a visit there included a dedicated, professional woman assembling our nonpharmacy shopping list so Mom could go to the back of the store and her “order” would be ready. On days when I was not free to drive her to that pharmacy, the backup was a drugstore with free delivery. They wouldn't add in a box of tissues or a magazine, however, so we used it as a last resort.  Read more...


 

Drinks on Me

Drinks on Me
I am not a big drinker. Most days, I need to remind myself to drink liquids to stay healthy and hydrated. A normal part of aging, I have learned, is that I don't register thirst the same way I did when I was younger. A friend told me she drinks more water if she has a straw, and I find that is true for me as well. Then I read that pursing your lips to drink from a straw causes mouth wrinkles. You just can't win, can you?  Read more...


 

May Day Surprise

May Day Surprise
“Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other, gold.” —Girl Scouts

We are often reminded of the importance of keeping social as we age; isolation has proven to be hazardous to healthy aging, while friendships engage and stimulate us. I am fortunate to have longtime friends as well as newer ones. I have two friends from grade school who have been dear to me for 50 years. Every summer we meet for lunch to catch up and to recharge those life-shaping memories.  Read more...


 

Taking a Stand

Taking a Stand
By now you have probably read the headlines about the negative health effects of sitting too long. The studies show that not only couch potatoes, but desk jockeys as well, are compromising health and longevity by sitting for long periods of time. Runners and gym rats are not exempt. In fact, many articles claim that sitting is the new smoking.  Read more...


 

The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party
Recently my wife and I traveled to northern Virginia to help her Aunt Margie celebrate her 90th birthday. The luncheon party, arranged by the birthday celebrant herself, included 11 guests, all of whom (with the exception of my wife and me) were in their late 70s or 80s. As we sat around the table, I mentally added up the number of years represented by all the guests. There had to be at least 750 years of combined life among this group. That’s a lot of living and a lot of experience. And everyone was still very much “with it,” both mentally and physically.  Read more...


 

If I Lose My Hearing, Will I Also Lose My Memory?

If I Lose My Hearing, Will I Also Lose My Memory?
I don’t hear as well as I used to. For the past few years, I’ve had to strain to follow the conversation in a crowded room, and I’ve watched television with the help of closed captions for the hearing-impaired. But like the vast majority of other Americans who have some hearing loss, I put off going to an audiologist to find out whether I needed hearing aids. Then I read something that made me think delaying the test might be a mistake.  Read more...


 

80 and Counting

80 and Counting
I’ve turned 80 and it’s a little scary. I’m healthy and still working, but I’m well aware that medical problems began for many of my friends once they were in their 80s.  Read more...


 

In Dog Years

In Dog Years
Have you met my dog, Ruffles? At her annual well-dog visit, my vet referred to her as geriatric. Ruffles is almost a decade young, and sure, she is a little grayer and sometimes doesn't make the leap onto the bed on her first try, but geriatric?  Read more...


 

Check This Out

Check This Out
One day last summer when I was wearing cropped pants and flip flops, I thought my ankles looked swollen. Was I retaining water? Standing too long? Did I need a new pair of shoes? (Let's hope.)  Read more...


 

Time on the Run

Time on the Run
The woman sharing the elevator with me looked to be in her 70s.

“How can it be the end of the week already,” she asked, “when I feel as if Monday was just yesterday?” I felt the same way—and probably so did most of my neighbors in the retirement community where I live.

Time speeds up in your later years. Sometimes it feels like a cruel joke: the weeks and months seem to pass at warp speed just when there’s so much less time ahead of us.  Read more...


 

Mentors for Med Students

Mentors for Med Students
When my mother was alive, her medical care was spread out among specialists. She had an internist as her go-to, primary doctor, but she had a Rolodex of others to manage specific health issues: dermatologist, podiatrist, cardiologist. At one point she was referred to a geriatrician who we hoped would become a general contractor of sorts for Mom’s total care. Older bodies are different from younger ones. The same disorders produce different symptoms in elders, and they respond differently to medications and other therapies. Many doctors who are not geriatricians don’t know much about that. Sadly, the travel to the only geriatrician was far and the wait for a new patient appointment was months, so in the end she didn't go. Why is there such a shortage of geriatricians?  Read more...


 

How (and When) to Say ‘No’ to Your Doctor

How (and When) to Say ‘No’ to Your Doctor
In the 1950s, a doctor convinced my mother he could remove my sinus polyps with a brand-new, painless therapy: radiation. In those days, kids with adolescent acne were also getting radiation treatments. The polyps went away but the therapy was overkill. Much later, I learned that thyroid cancer is a possible side effect. Because of that experience and others, I’ve always thought that, except when I’m in dire straits, less is better when it comes to medical treatments.  Read more...


 

How do I get old faster?

How do I get old faster?
That’s a question that Dr. Laura Carstensen regularly fields after explaining why older people are happier than younger ones—the basis of the ubiquitous Happiness U-curve. I didn’t really believe the curve existed until I understood why. Carstensen, a psychologist and the founding director of the Stanford Longevity Center, explains it beautifully.  Read more...


 

I Shopped, I Dropped

I Shopped, I Dropped
Not too long ago my daughter needed some retail therapy. She works part time, had just gotten paid, and she could hear the stores calling her. The mall was the last place I wanted to be on the weekend, but I was a teenage girl once, and I knew exactly how she felt. In the absence of any BFFs, I was her default shopping partner. Now it was me, not the teenager, with the big sighs and eye rolls.  Read more...


 

Want Older People to Be Healthy? End Ageism

Want Older People to Be Healthy? End Ageism
There’s a lot of disagreement around how to frame the last century’s unprecedented increase in human lifespan. Is it a crisis or an opportunity? Will a “grey tsunami” of incapacitated freeloaders sweep us off our feet, or will we tap into the social capital of millions more healthy, well-educated adults? Are longer lives a blessing or a curse? Experience and ideology shape the responses, of course, but there’s one thing both liberals and libertarians can agree on. What single characteristic of these older Americans will make the most difference? Their health. Living longer looks a lot more attractive when it’s uncoupled from cognitive and physical decline. It’s a lot cheaper too: illness is expensive.  Read more...


 

Good Scents

Good Scents
As I get older, I find it harder to get a good night's sleep. I know I function better on seven (or more) hours of uninterrupted sleep, but it's elusive. Night sweats wake me or the furry friends purr too loudly or hog the bed. I used to sleep through that. Caffeine also bothers me more. I can't have any after five p.m., or I'll fall asleep but wake shortly after. I can't fall back to sleep as easily as I once did.  Read more...


 

Skin Hunger

Skin Hunger
Many years ago an anthropologist I interviewed suggested that older Americans probably experience something called “skin hunger”—the need to be touched more often. Once their children are grown and gone, and especially if they live alone, they crave physical contact with others.  Read more...


 

Beyond Books

Beyond Books
My friend's mom was a voracious reader. Well into her 90s, Bernice, having only recently retired, would read several books each week. When I took her to the library, she would check out a huge stack at every visit, give them a few chapters to prove themselves and continue only if worthy.  Read more...


 

These Old Guys

These Old Guys
In 1984 when my wife and I bought our first house, I started watching the PBS home-improvement show This Old House to get some ideas on projects I might be able to do myself.  Read more...


 

The 411 on 911

The 411 on 911
Do you ever worry about what could happen if you ended up in a hospital and no one knew who you were? What would happen to you if you were in an accident and unable to tell first responders whom they should call?  Read more...


 

From Babyproofing to Grannyproofing, Don't Ignore This Health Checkup!

From Babyproofing to Grannyproofing, Don't Ignore This Health Checkup!
My mother's safety became a concern to me as she aged. My mom lived alone and hated to ask for help. We both wanted to keep her safe and independent.  Read more...


 

The Nitty-Gritty of Aging

The Nitty-Gritty of Aging
Late adulthood for many is the best time of life, marked by emotional growth, new pleasures and greater insight into past experiences.  Read more...


 

Something's Fishy

Something's Fishy
Pick up any women's magazine or any healthy-living publication and you are sure to be admonished to eat more fish. It's good for your brain, your weight, your longevity. I know!  Read more...


 

Live to 100: Do You Have What It Takes?

Live to 100: Do You Have What It Takes?
There's an old joke that goes something like this: The Japanese drink very little wine and experience fewer heart attacks than US or British citizens, while the French and Italians drink wine at every meal and experience fewer heart attacks than US or British citizens.  Read more...


 

New Cream on the Block

New Cream on the Block
Skinstitut
Here at the Silver Century Foundation, we are all about the positive aspects of aging. That said, I confess that hope springs eternal when I read about the age-defying beauty products on the market. I'm in my mid-50s and the laugh lines aren't necessarily a laughing matter.  Read more...


 

Midlife Malaise and the Happiness U-Curve

Midlife Malaise and the Happiness U-Curve
An Atlantic magazine cover story last October described living past 75 as pretty darn inadvisable. Then, in quite the about-face, the December cover story championed the Happiness U-Curve and the growing body of research showing that we reliably grow happier, almost regardless of circumstances, after our 40s.  Read more...


 

Step It Up

Step It Up
I just learned that fewer than half of adults are getting enough physical activity to benefit their health. (Um, yes, that would be me.) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while 60 percent of us are walking for exercise, we're falling short of the recommended intensity and duration. (Me, again.)  Read more...


 

‘Successful’ Aging?

‘Successful’ Aging?
In the 1991 book Successful Aging, by John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD, “successful” seems to mean healthy aging. The authors have three criteria: 1) freedom from disease and disability; 2) a high level of cognitive and physical functioning; and 3) social engagement. Perhaps “healthy aging” sounded too bland for the title of a book on aging. It would have been more accurate, though.  Read more...


 

Shingles—Are You Protected?

Shingles—Are You Protected?
When was the last time you thought about chicken pox? Not since you were a child, I bet. A middle-aged friend of mine was recently diagnosed with shingles. It’s caused by the same virus as chicken pox, varicella zoster. WebMD reports that your chance of contracting shingles increases when you are older than 50, or if your immune system is compromised by illness, stress or medications.  Read more...


 

Spring Swingers

Spring Swingers
Photo by Olivier Blouin
I lived in Montreal for half a dozen years in the 1950s, and I recall winters when the snow seemed endless. There was so much of it that the city didn’t just plow, it trucked the stuff away and dumped it in the St. Lawrence River. People said you knew it was spring when the sidewalks came up.  Read more...


 

Emergency Rooms Get a Face Lift

Emergency Rooms Get a Face Lift
According to a story on National Public Radio, people 65 and older are more likely to go to the ER than any other age group except babies. It may be time for hospitals to consider changing to accommodate the people they serve.  Read more...


 

A Shortage of Heroes

A Shortage of Heroes
I think my doctor is a hero and I once told him so. He’s a geriatrician—a specialist in treating older people—and a rare find.  Read more...


 

The Community of Me

The Community of Me
When I was a child, my father bragged that my mom kept our kitchen so clean, we could eat off the floor. Mother often warned me about germs, something she worried about a lot because, back then, there were no drugs to fight infections. It wasn’t until the 1940s that antibiotics began to save lives.  Read more...


 

In the Air with a Chair

In the Air with a Chair
A friend received one of those worst-nightmare phone calls—her husband had had a skiing accident out West and was about to undergo emergency surgery on a very smashed-up knee.  Read more...


 

Salad, for Breakfast?

Salad, for Breakfast?
What are you eating for breakfast these days? Green tea and a protein bar? McSomething? Coffee and a doughnut? Seeing Michelle Obama with the new USDA food plate (replacing the old pyramid) has me rethinking how my own food habits stack up. I’ve decided that at midlife, I can’t afford to be careless about my diet choices.  Read more...


 

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Our Mission

The Silver Century Foundation promotes a positive view of aging. The Foundation challenges entrenched and harmful stereotypes, encourages dialogue between generations, advocates planning for the second half of life, and raises awareness to educate and inspire everyone to live long, healthy, empowered lives.

Notable Quote

"It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not poorer, but is even richer."

Cicero (106-43 BC)