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This Week in Elder News: 14 February 2009

In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Abigail Trafford at the Washington Post has a column on falling in love in late life. Hint: it feels a lot like falling in love at 18 or 20. More here.

Last week, the Guardian put out a call to readers for poems about getting old - linking first to some venerable classics like Shakespeare’s Madigral:

Crabbed Age and Youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn,
Age like winter weather,
Youth like summer brave,
Age like winter bare;
Youth is full of sport,
Age's breath is short,
Youth is nimble, Age is lame;
Youth is hot and bold,
Age is weak and cold,
Youth is wild, and Age is tame:
Age, I do abhor thee;
Youth, I do adore thee:
O! my Love, my Love is young!
Age, I do defy thee—
O sweet shepherd, hie thee,
For methinks thou stay'st too long.

More than a hundred people responded with their own odes to age. You can read them here. Some are a hoot. (Hat tip to Norm Jenson of One Good Move)

There has not been much mention in the economic crisis of how it is affecting elders, so congratulations to the Baltimore Sun where reporter Scott Calvert looked into the issue locally:

"This recession is really hitting older workers hard," said Richard Johnson, a researcher at the Urban Institute in Washington. In past downturns, it was easier for them to retire after losing jobs, he said.

"Today that's no longer the case because retirement accounts are disappearing, housing prices are slumping. And even after they qualify for Social Security, many people have to keep working."

Read the entire story here.

No matter Australians’ opinion of her newspaper-mogul son, Rupert, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch is as beloved in Oz as the Queen Mum was in England. She celebrated her 100th birthday last week and if this interview is any indication, there is a good bit of a Crabby Old Lady to her. (Hat tip to Peter Tibbles)

It’s been reported that 82 percent of new job losses are among men. Lionel Tiger at the Wall Street Journal has an interesting take on how this will affect women. Hint: it’s not going to be easy.

Here is something that may raise grandparents’ hackles. According to a new British study:

”Babies that are looked after by their grandparents while their mothers are out at work are less ready for school than if they went to nurseries or crèches…”

On the upside, children’s vocabularies are better when grandparents do the caregiving. More here.

Remember years ago when President Reagan got caught on an open microphone saying of Russia, “Bombing begins in 15 minutes”? This has nothing do with aging or elders, but it amused me: a South African television’s test of a moving banner somehow went live scrolling, “George Bush is dead.” More here. (Hat tip to Jeanne of Cooksister)

In doggy years, he’s 70 – an elderdog. Nonetheless, Stump, a Sussex Spaniel, won the Best in Show trophy at the Westminster Kennel Club competition in Manhattan this week, the oldest dog ever to do so. Just thought you’d like to know. (Hat tip to Nikki Stern of 1 Woman’s Vu)

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins used the event of Stump’s victory to declare that the hot trend of 2009 is that “old is in.”

”Since it appears that nobody is ever going to be able to afford to retire, we’re moving into an era in which having your car fixed or your tonsils removed by a 75-year-old will need to seem normal. Meanwhile, young people are going to have to stay in school and keep their heads down since their elders have no intention of creating any job openings in the near future,” says Gail.

Read her entire column here.

I know, I know, in the fast-moving news cycle, airline Captain Chesley Sullenberger’s 15 minutes are over. But among the crashingly awful economic news that goes on minute-by-minute, the miracle landing on the Hudson River continues to inspire me along with the 58-year-old captain’s no-nonsense attitude toward his accomplishment in saving every life aboard his plane. If you missed it, here is his 60 Minutes interview. [11:19 minutes] Also, here’s the Wikipedia entry for “Sully.”

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