The Excitement of Retirement
ELDER MUSIC: Story Songs

This Week in Elder News: 14 March 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.

Sad news. On 7 March, 78-year-old Gene Maudlin who blogged for four years at Old Horsetail Snake died. According to a lovely tribute to him at A Mark on My Wall,

“Gene died today utilizing Oregon’s Death with Dignity plan. He was tuckered out from trying to breathe. His Scamp was with him at Hospice Hopewell House.”

Gene's site was one of the best daily laughs in the blogosphere. He was irascible, irreverent, profane and fall-down funny. His blog is archived here. Give yourself a smile or two today and read some of it.

I always thought hair turned gray because our bodies stopped producing melanin. It turns out I'm wrong. New research reveals it is caused by increased production of hydrogen peroxide:

"All of our hair cells make a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide, but as we get older, this little bit becomes a lot. We bleach our hair pigment from within, and our hair turns gray and then white.”

There is more explanation here and here.

A psychologist in England wants to ban the word “retirement” to suit baby boomers who, apparently, are different from those of us who precede them. Nearly 50 percent of them want to travel when they retire as opposed to 39 percent of their parents' generation:

"[Boomers] do not see retirement as when they wind down and leave things behind. Instead, it is all about seizing the opportunities it presents."

As if no one else ever did that. But then, we all know that boomers are smarter, younger, kewler and better than their parents and every other generation that ever lived. I'd bet good money that the researcher/psychologist is a boomer. More here.

Thanks to TGB reader and sometime contributor, Leah Aronoff, we have this excellent precis from the Mayo Clinic on what to expect as we age. It covers heart, bones, kidneys, digestion, eyes, ears, skin, sleep and much more in easily digested chunks with links to more information for each one. It's practical, no-nonsense, straightforward information – worthy of a prominent bookmark.

Just because we elders have Medicare doesn't mean we don't have a stake in the health care reform President Obama will soon take on. This story explains two of the major approaches being considered. The time has come for everyone in the U.S. to have access to health care and it should be at least as good as Medicare; as good as what Congress gives itself would be even better.

And you can keep up with the Obama administration's view of health care at the new website where you can read thousands of suggestions from ordinary Americans and submit your own ideas.

Unless you count some elders in this video, it has nothing to do with being old but it is marvelous to watch. The T-Mobile commercial was shot at Liverpool Street Station in England in January. The cameras were hidden so no one except the professional dancers knew what was going on. (Since 7.5 million people have viewed this video, you probably know it; but I didn't - so just in case.) [2:41 minutes]

Chuck Nyren of Advertising to Baby Boomers points to a bunch of stories questioning the usefulness of brain games. As I've said before, save your money. Crossword puzzles, soduko and blogging are just as good for your mind, less repetitive and cheaper too. More at Chuck's blog.

There is a terrific story at Alternet this week about a new book revealing hundreds of illustrations The New York Times regarded “not fit to print” with a whole lot of examples of the rejected works. Some of the reasons given are hilarious – or sad, depending on your point of view.

Ageism in youth can be a self-fulfilling prophecy according to Professor Becca Levy (and some other researchers) who has done excellent work over the years into the effects of prejudice on elders.

“The researchers examined the health histories of all the volunteers, focusing on cardiovascular disease, and they discovered that there was a striking link between ageism early in life and poor heart health later on...It could be taken as a cautionary tale for those who think they'll never grow old.“

You can read more here.

Remember when cash registers were big, bold, beautiful, brassy things that went ka-ching when a sale was rung up? There's a good story at The New York Times about an 86-year-old and his 46-year-old son who still repair them in their shop on the Bowery in New York.

In the U.S. this past week, it has been hard to miss The Daily Show host Jon Stewart's brilliant take-down of MSNBC money shoutmeister, Jim Cramer. If you didn't know better than to listen to advice from financial advisers before, you will after this video.

Earlier in the week, Cramer had tried to dismiss Stewart as only a comedian. Thursday night, in a face-off between the two men on The Daily Show, Stewart proved what real financial analysis is – that no one else is doing – and he'll make you laugh too, when you're not crying at what passes for financial reporting.

This is long [21:12 minutes] and worth every second.


Love the T-Mobile video. I have always wanted to break out dancing in a crowd like that.

I read the article indicating people who have ageist beliefs appear to encourage poor health in themselves as they age. I would agree just looking at people in my own family, the age optimists lasted much longer and in better shape than the rest of them. Ironically, to the right of the article was an add with Jennifer Aniston by something called "RestoreMyYouth..." "How does she stay looking so young at 40." Gag!

Thanks Ronni, your blog is the first thing I read in the morning. Sorry to hear about your friend Gene, my Dad was in Hopewell House and the staff there was great.

On the 8th (Sunday) I posted the Jon Stewart video that you have on this blog. Viacom removed it saying it was no longer available. Did I post it from the wrong source or what? I need to learn so much about blogging like how to put articles from publications in boxes. Sometimes I just get so frustrated.

The T-Mobile Dance, Jon Stewart--what a great post!

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