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News About Old People - 11 January 2017

Here are a few items I want to tell you about that do not quite fit Saturday's Interesting Stuff and are also not big enough or meaty enough for a post of their own. Even so, I think you might be interested in some of them and unlike the Saturday post, these all relate to growing old.

If you like this, I'll do it every now and then. Let me know.

* * *


As you know, I insist on using the world “old” - there is nothing wrong with it or with being old. It's a perfectly good description of people from about age 60 on.

EricaManfredNot long ago, Senior Planet contributor, Erica Manfred, wrote about how deeply denial of age has wormed its way into our culture:

”People used to think of growing old as part of the natural progression of life from birth to death. Not anymore,” writes Erica. “Now we go directly from middle age to you’re-just-as-old-as-you-feel.
 “Old age” has been dropped from our vocabulary.

“'You’re not old!' people say when I describe myself that way. I’m 74 with an assortment of age-related ailments and a generous complement of sags and wrinkles. If I’m not old, who is?”

Erica wants elders to stop judging one another by how “youthful” we act or look and hurray for her:

“I’m taking a page from Martin Luther King:” she says. “I have a dream that one day elders will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the tautness of their muscles but by the content of their character.”

You can read more of her essay here.


A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reveals that elders (age 60/62 and older) are drowning in student loan debt:

Although most student loan borrowers are young adults between the ages of 18 and 39, consumers age 60 and older are the fastest growing age-segment of the student loan Market.

“This trend is not only the result of borrowers carrying student debt later into life, but also the growing number of parents and grandparents financing their children’s and grandchildren’s college education.”

The details are horrifying, as Huffington Post explains:

”A full 68 percent of older borrowers living in poverty with Social Security garnishment are only seeing their benefit cuts devoted to interest and fees.

“The federal government is profiting from this mess. Every time a debt collector scrapes a Social Security check, the U.S. Treasury Department collects $15.

“'Our government is shoving tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities into poverty through garnishment every year ― and charging them $15 every month for the privilege, “ says Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. 'This is predatory and counterproductive.'”

Read the full CFPB report [pdf] here. The Huffpost story is here.


On 13 December 2016, reports The New York Times, 86-year-old Doris Payne

”...was arrested on Tuesday by the police in Dunwoody, an affluent suburb north of Atlanta, after she slipped a Lagos diamond necklace worth nearly $2,000 in her pocket and was stopped by a security guard, according to the Dunwoody police.”

It wasn't the first time. Payne has been stealing jewelry in the capitols of the entire world for 70 years – and getting away with a lot of it. There's even a documentary and a movie about her. Here's the trailer:

Apparently, she's really good at it. You gotta love her, criminal or not. You can watch documentary at YouTube for $3.99.


In the mountains of Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan, sits an amazing retirement home for two old women.

It was designed by architect Issei Suma who is known for his intriguing buildings. This this structure shaped like five tents that due to the harmonious flow and the design that perfectly combines minimalism with an ecological style.

The building also features a spiral-shaped indoor pool that can be accessed by wheelchair and a common kitchen for both ladies, their caregiver and a cook. The 100 square meter complex is called Jikka. Take a look.

Thank lilalia who blogs at Yum Yum Cafe for this story.


If you read only the news media, you would think that Alzheimer's Disease is a synonym for dementia, and that just is not so.

Not long ago, Medical News Today (MNT) published a list with descriptions of types of dementia which typically involve problems with thinking, reasoning, and problem solving:

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Frontotemporal dementia
Parkinson's disease
Huntington's disease
Mixed dementia
Normal pressure hydrocephalus
Vascular dementia
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

I'll bet that's a longer list than you thought - it's certainly true for me. There is more useful information at MNT.


As the Gallup organization announced recently:

”Despite Americans' ability to access more information, social networks, games and media than ever before, as well as the lingering rumors of the book's demise, Americans still say they are reading books.”

According to the Gallup report, the most meaningful reading behavior since 2002 is evident among elders, Americans who are 65 and older.

”Collectively, they are reading more books than the same age group did in 2002. The percentage reading one or more books increased from 68% to 85%, including a four-percentage-point increase in those reading 11 or more, from 33% to 37%.

Here's the chart to go with that information:


Most readers of all age groups are reading “real” books. Take a look at this chart:


You can read more details at the Gallup website.


I'm interested to see how many more "real" books are read by over 65s than e books. I took a while to get used to my Kindle but it was a really enjoyable book, The Goldfinch, that finally made me forget I was reading an e book and won me over. Now at 68 I read far more on tablet- and phone- than on paper. I travel a lot, at times to places where a bedside lamp isn't always available or where I need to wait for hours for a plane or train. I like to travel light and recently was away from home for several weeks so I downloaded the Man Booker Prize shortlist- all six of them. What a treat.

I love this line, "Erica wants elders to stop judging one another by how “youthful” we act or look."
It's not bad enough that young people don't want to look old, but even old people want to deny that they are old.
I was lambasted a few days ago on my Facebook page when I suggested that showing youthful looking old people doing youthful things and acting in a silly manner was tantamount to ageism.
Amazingly, most people thought it was okay to show a video of an old man losing his teeth and everybody having a laugh at his expense.

Don't love the thief. I get a tad judgmental about people like that. :-) Do love the retirement home. Need to go check the dementia thing. My husband is starting and some days he seems absolutely normal.

I liked reading these short articles. I would definitely like more columns like this one in the future! Thanks, Ronni!

I enjoyed these and would not be opposed to having others like them show up now and then in your regimen.

Like Bonnie, I'm not advocating for thieves, but I had heard this story sometime back and was amazed that she's been so successful at her craft for as long as she has. Sort of reminded me of Gladys Cooper in "The Rogues," back in the 1960's.

I love the Jikka retirement home and, when I'm ready, would love to have a housing option like that.

The Gallup data on reading was very interesting. They've never contacted me for my input, but it would be much higher than their average in the 65+ range, especially including books that are partly read. I've stopped feeling compelled to finish something if I don't like it within the first 30-50 pages or so, but even without counting those, I read at least ten books a month in print. When I got a Kindle in 2011, I used it moderately, mostly during the time I was taking care of my mother-in-law. She did not like the television on, and I would sit and read electronically while she napped on the sofa a lot toward the end. Those two years when she was struggling with severe Alzheimer's and needed round the clock attention was when I learned more than I wanted to about several of those forms of dementia you've also informed us about today.

I read an average of 2.5 "real" books a week because I read all kinds - short, long, light, heavy-ish, fiction, and non-fiction. I am addicted to reading, but only use my Kindle on trips and only listen to books in my car - even for short errands.

I enjoyed these interesting snippets.
I'd love to live in a home like the "Jikka", it's superb.
Since I've started uncluttering our home I've been reluctant to buy "real" books and now that I've replaced my Kindle with an eReader I'm able to download eBooks from our local library without even leaving home. I prefer the feeling of a solid book in my hands but the eReader gives me the access I want. I go through phases but am currently reading at least three books a week.

Yes, I'm old.... at 77, but I am still able to walk 30 minutes in my neighborhood daily or at least several times a week....and I have to in order to alleviate my arthritis pain, and my osteoporosis to not get any worse. Plus the exercise helps me to sleep better, not gain weight, and improves my mental outlook.

I have always HAD to exercise for the above mental boost, and now it's even more important for all the other benefits listed above plus it helps lower my genetic high cholesterol.

Yoga has been a resource for keeping my balance and flexibility and I do so enjoy the stress reduction class once a week. 3 months ago I had surgery to repair a torn meniscus and so glad to have the pain gone now, as I gladly do the knee exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee.

I'll keep on keeping on in order not to deteriorate further. Yes, I know it's inevitable but why would I not try to stay as healthy as I can be as I get even older? I'm happy to read about any senior who keeps active, and am sorry whenever another of my acquaintances becomes infirm or incapacitated.

Really like these short pieces. They are very interesting.

We should be proud of our age. It took a lot of hard work to get here and even more to keep going. I would not want to be my young self again. To me older women trying so hard to be young just look silly.

Loved the piece about books. I am an avid reader and have been since I feel in love with books as a kid. Real books! I love the way they feel, the way they smell, the look of them lined up on a shelf. None of this is found in a tablet. I have sampled tablets belonging to other people and they just don't excite me. Maybe it is because I am old. I just love it that real books are still so popular. I am not the only one, I just heard on the news a few nights ago that more than 150 new independent bookstores had opened in the last year.

Now if I could just settle down to read in a Jikka house.

When I turned 50, I realized I was half a century old. Half a century. It changed how I viewed myself.

My sister is 65 and I am 62. We consider ourselves older but not old! Saying your old just sounds like giving up to old age! Maybe when I have a bunch of age related problems I'll feel old! We are not in age related denial! We feel good and look good.

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