Category Archives: Age

How Long Can Humans Live? Seven Theories and a Quiz

You might think that you have heard everything there is to know about how long humans can live, but even in this overworked corner of human research, there is always something new.

Over the last few decades. we have watched in awe as longevity statistics have exploded. For people in industrialized countries, life expectancy, at the beginning of the 20th century, was between 30 and 45 years, rising steadily to about 67 years by the end of the century. Life expectancy continues to rise until now, people who live to age 100 or older are the fastest growing demographic. In the past, researchers have looked to improvements in health care, nutrition, and standard of living to explain why some people live significantly longer than others. Other researchers have redirected their attention to the habits of super-centenarians, or the detection of ‘blue zone’ areas of the world in which people live to an exceptional age. read more

Aging in Place With ElliQ and Other Innovations

Scientists and researchers are working overtime to help older people age in place. And that’s a good thing—most of us do want to stay at home as long as we can.

One company pursuing this is K4Connect, a tech firm that serves older adults with disabilities. The CEO, Scott Moody has a dream, and it has a good chance of coming true.

Moody thinks in broad strokes. He believes that in five years home automation for older adults, still very complex, will connect us to the “Internet of Things” (IoT), allowing us to seamlessly access apps that will help us age in place. He envisions: read more

Older People Are About to Get a Lift!

You might have heard. If not, here is the news—Lyft, a new ride-sharing company established in the US, is coming to Canada. It’s influence is spreading, and it may be coming to your town next.

This is welcome news to people who can’t or don’t drive, especially at night, now that they are older. Ride sharing is a boon to older people. Losing our mobility is among our greatest fears as we age. It represents inconvenience, isolation and its most dreaded companion—loneliness. read more

Yes, You Can Count on More than Losses as You Age

If I know anything for sure, as I become older, it’s that somewhere along the way, I will need to come to terms with the accumulation of my years, and the losses that come with it.

It must be the departure of summer that has nudged this part of me—the place where I’m acutely aware of the passage of time.

It’s another summer of living, and I’m grateful for that, of being able to savor each sunny day, of living fully into autumn, and then experiencing all of it again through my memories. read more

In the Land of Nod

It has been a tough year. We’ve had shocking election results. We’ve had the re-emergence of Nazism, We’ve had the threat of nuclear war, we’ve had unprecedented natural disasters, and now we may witnessing our closest neighbor self-destruct.

Magazines, newspapers and books are rife with hateful articles, we don’t dare turn on the television news, and social media is exploding with angry posts.

We are suffering from insomnia like never before, therapists report a steep increase in new patients and we hear that millions are taking antidepressants. read more

The Ups and Downs of Your Aging Immune System

In a few weeks, I’ll be lining up, along with about 35% of the Canadian population, to receive the flu shot. In doing so, I’ll be ignoring the bad press, the less than 50% prevention rate, and the physical discomfort to do this. Why? Because, as I grow older, I’m discovering that I can’t rely on my immune system to do the splendid job it did in the past to protect me from the millions of pathogens that come my way all fall and winter.

Up until 2 years ago, I never gave the flu a thought. Ominous suggestions that the ‘elderly’ were susceptible to illness and disease seemed at best, ageist, and at worst, insulting. I was in excellent health, I looked after myself—a weakened immune system couldn’t happen to me. read more

How Toxins Affect You As You Age

By now, if you are over 65, you might be experiencing subtle changes in your health as you age. You might find that you are taking longer to recover from a cold or flu, and you need to rest longer after you exercise or do a chore. You may notice other subtle changes, like patches of eczema on your skin, or ridges on your fingernails, or pervasive physical and mental fatigue. Normally, you shrug off these symptoms—you’re just grateful that you are not suffering from some drastic illness, and decide to leave well enough alone. read more

Why the Media’s Messages Matter to Old People

Old people get a raw deal in television and in the movies. We don’t make a fuss about this, because as we age, we become conditioned to the themes and images that flood the media, and bombard us with their messages. That’s just entertainment, we think—it’s not meant to depict real life.

But if we stop for a minute, and analyze the performances in front of us, we may become aware that there is rarely anyone in these presentations that vaguely resembles us.

If you wonder why this is important, researchers say that we are influenced by media, and respond to how it portrays us. Older characters don’t show up very much in the media we view, and when they do, they are shown in ageist or stereotypical roles, frequently ridiculed. read more

Does Social Media Help Old People Feel Less Lonely?

Remember when people speculated that social media would produce a population of isolates, working alone in a room, disconnected from the rest of humanity? And if lonely older people took up social media, they would become even more lonely and depressed? Well, speculate no more—older adults, just like the rest of humanity, have climbed aboard the social media band wagon, and the results are overwhelmingly positive. In fact, older people, once they try Skype, Facebook or other electronic platforms, become enthusiasts, accounting for a substantial jump in use in just ten years. read more

The Hidden, Internal Language of Loneliness

No matter what successes you have had in your life, none of it matters when you descend into loneliness and depression, especially if you are old. Being old can make you more vulnerable than younger people, and more likely to believe you have no options—you feel that you have less time to explore your loneliness, and less likelihood of solving it.

When you admit you are lonely, shallow advice, like “join groups”, or “volunteer”, or “take up a hobby”, come thick and fast from family, friends and advisers—but it only makes you feel inadequate, and guilty that you haven’t tried hard enough. read more

The Death of a Spouse When You Are Old

The first few days, after the death of your spouse, may be the most devastating and wrenching you will ever experience. Nothing that happens later in life, you are convinced, can ever hurt this much. If you are old, and have been with your spouse for many years, the void that is left when your spouse is no longer there, can overwhelm you. Your feelings can be unimaginably painful and raw, as expressed here:

“I weep no tears because my husband has died. I do weep tears for the lost years. I weep tears for the young family members deprived of the opportunity to truly know him. read more

The Secret Life of the Older Drinker

The older drinker, men and women who are over 65 and retired, have a ‘perfect storm’ of opportunity when it comes to abusing alcohol or prescription drugs, which are usually their drugs of choice.

Their social circle has shrunk, they are feeling loss of meaning in life, and they have less energy or will than younger people to overcome their challenges in life. The easiest thing in their lives is to reach for that bottle or pill, sometimes combining both.

After all, alcohol is legal, you can get it anywhere, even in some grocery stores. No one’s going to frown or report you if you pick up a couple of bottles or cases of beer. And prescriptions for drugs like Ativan or anti-depressants are readily available from your physician, who is concerned when you tell him about your depression or stress, and happy to steer you to legitimate medication rather than see you take over the counter pain pills. read more