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AARP Launches “Disrupt Dementia”

July 8, 2018
Fighting Dementia

My mom died in her early 60s due to complications of Alzheimer’s. She was a fierce woman, even in her dementia. My sister, God bless her, took on the care of my mom once it became obvious that she could no longer be left alone. She found her a well-kept home and moved her in.

I found out after she died that people with Alzheimer’s lose their inhibitions, basically all the layers that we learn to hide behind that civilize us. So, my mom, whose first cuss word I heard her use was “Hell’s Bell’s” cussed like a sailor, kicked other tenants of the home and got caught throwing her leg over the fence to escape on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, one of the other things I didn’t learn until she died was that Alzheimer’s patients forget how to swallow. You have to be very careful how they eat because the food that they swallow incorrectly can get into their lungs and cause pneumonia, which is the complication that my mom died from. I felt guilty for years about that, that somehow I should have known and taken better care of her. But this was before the days of Google and information was not as accessible as it is today.

This is one of the reasons that I wanted to post this press release. Information is power and with these kinds of numbers, we need to be paying attention to a cure or an effective treatment.

A Mission of Empowerment

With nearly 10 million new cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease occurring each year and no cure, AARP recently launched a new campaign, “Disrupt Dementia.” The campaign aims to help drive new diagnostics and treatments for dementias while providing education, support and hope for patients and family caregivers impacted by the physical, emotional and financial stress of dementia.

The centerpiece of the campaign is AARP’s new $60 million investment in the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), the first and largest venture fund focused on discovering and developing effective new drugs for treating dementia. AARP also helped secure the participation of UnitedHealth Group and Quest Diagnostics, which have invested $10 million and $5 million respectively – totaling $75 million to the DDF’s fight against a condition that has not seen a new approved treatment in 15 years.

“AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, but dementia takes that privilege away from millions of Americans and people around the world,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “The statistics are staggering, and the numbers continue to climb each year. By 2030, there are projected to be 82 million people suffering from dementia and despite decades of research costing billions of dollars, there is still no cure and few ways to treat symptoms of dementia. With today’s investment in the DDF, AARP and our partners have committed to helping find innovative solutions that can reverse the trend of this health crisis and champion brain health.”

Poor Treament Options

A newly released AARP survey of U.S. physicians shows that doctors are also frustrated with the limited tools available to diagnose and treat dementia for their patients. One in three U.S. physicians surveyed say they feel that current dementia treatment options are poor, and nearly half of physicians strongly agree that there needs to be more diagnostic tools and research for dementia. In fact, most physicians (62 percent) say a lack of diagnostic tools is the greatest impediment to effective treatment. Moreover, there is not significant optimism among physicians for progress anytime soon. Only 10 percent say they are extremely or very optimistic that effective treatment protocols will emerge in the next five years.

The last Alzheimer’s drug was approved more than a decade and a half ago and only brings temporary relief of disease symptoms. Since that time, more than 400 clinical trials have failed. Highly touted research focusing on eliminating plaques and tangles has, unfortunately, not produced safe, effective treatments, and some companies have abandoned their efforts in the face of long odds. Because of this, nearly half of the physicians in the new AARP survey say dementia is a hopeless diagnosis.

Latest Data

And the brain health crisis doesn’t just affect dementia sufferers, but also their friends, family and loved ones. The latest data shows that the impact of dementia on both patients and family caregivers will only continue to grow, as the number of people with the disease in the U.S. is estimated to reach 14 million by 2050, according to research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association. It is estimated that family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia provided 18.4 billion hours of unpaid assistance in 2017 alone, a contribution valued at $232.1 billion nationally.

To draw attention to the experiences of patients and family caregivers and to spark bold new solutions for the world’s brain health crisis, AARP initiated a conversation during national Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. On June 25, AARP hosted an event in New York City featuring a group of experts in the medical, business and technology sectors as well as notable celebrity guests, including acclaimed journalist and author Katie Couric as the event emcee, and award-winning actress Jane Krakowski, who shared her own personal experience as a dementia caregiver. Following remarks by Jenkins, the experts and advocates who spoke at the event included Kate Bingham, the SV managing partner of the Dementia Discovery Fund; UnitedHealthcare’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Pronovost; and technology and personal finance reporter and expert, Natali Morris. Key learnings, tips and content for family caregivers are shared at www.AARP.org/DisruptDementia.

Family and Caregivers

For many, the battle isn’t professional but personal.

“After my family’s personal experience with dementia, I echo AARP’s concerns about this looming health crisis and I applaud the campaign to Disrupt Dementia,” said Jane Krakowski. “The chance to stop the impact of this heartbreaking disease could be nothing short of life-changing for so many people, and AARP’s mission to spread education and understanding of the disease has the power to be truly transformative.”

While research is underway to find treatments and a cure, AARP offers resources and tools on its website for the 16.1 million Americans who care for people living with dementia. The organization continuously works to improve the communities in which people with dementia and their caregivers live, by working with leaders and local governments across the U.S. to adopt “age-friendly” guidelines and develop resources. AARP also founded the Global Council on Brain Health to help people strengthen their brain health and minimize their risk of dementia. And AARP is part of the National Advisory Council for Dementia Friendly America.

To access information available to family caregivers, visit: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/care-guides/dementia. To join the conversation on social media, use AARP’s official campaign hashtag, #DisruptDementia. AARP also urges people to share memories of loved ones impacted by dementia or Alzheimer’s on Twitter and Instagram at #HowIRemember.

Life

What This American Believes

July 4, 2018
American Sparkler

I am a hard-core liberal Democrat American. I used to not worry too much about defining myself that way. I was not overly political and mainly liberal by nature and personality. I voted but did not spend a lot of time involved in the process.

The last couple of years of being an American has made me an angry, appalled, bitter and incredulous liberal Democrat. I guess the upside to that is to say that it has made me more involved!

I wanted to write something from the heart for today, July the 4th, but it is hard to write something uplifting with a semi-broken heart. However, maybe if I write a list of the things I truly believe in it will resonate somewhere.

Beliefs From an American Heart

I believe that there are plenty of good-hearted people in America, you just mostly never hear about them. I have a firm commitment to the freedom of the press and the need for journalists with integrity, but too much of what we hear and see as “news” is far from that and completely unbalanced.

As Don Henley said in his song Dirty Laundry, “I make my living off the evening news, just give me something-something I can use. People love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry.” The news loves to glorify dirty laundry.

In these days of news via social media it is necessary to question EVERYTHING! It is so easy to share something that is total BS without even thinking about it. I have done the same myself and now try to check before I share.

Here is an example of the brighter side: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/young-man-praised-for-pushing-woman-home-in-a-360-pound-wheelchair-after-battery-dies/

I believe that racism exists in this country, as a matter of fact, it seems to be rampant. However, there is always the flip side, where you least expect it:

https://www.today.com/news/clarkston-georgia-home-thousands-refugees-t132421

I believe in the power of education and traveling outside of your own country. Living in Guatemala for 6 months was an eye and heart-opening experience for me. Exposure to other cultures and people makes you a bigger and better person. You won’t like everything you see or experience but it definitely gives you a broader viewpoint.

I believe in education. (I know I just said that, but it deserves its own category!) We need to educate people on life skills as well as the basics. We need to prepare them for a changing world and what that means in terms of employment, living and social changes. We need to teach them to THINK!

These kids broke my heart and gave me so much hope https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/03/01/this-parkland-student-quickly-amassed-more-twitter-followers-than-the-nra-heres-what-shes-been-writing/?utm_term=.7cb659da276c

I believe in the power of kindness, compassion and fierce opposition!

I believe that having a myriad of viewpoints and belief systems can be a very healthy thing. Intelligent discourse is good! I used to enjoy having political discussions with my more conservative friends and I respected their beliefs, but those times have been shattered by the current political arena.

Or maybe not as shattered as I may think: https://www.upworthy.com/don-t-be-fooled-most-americans-agree-on-abortion-guns-and-other-heated-issues?c=hpstream

I believe that Americans can become the cutting edge of new technology, that we could once again become that leading edge of thought and action that we have been in the past.

Physics Will Win Out

I believe that nothing is as certain as change and while we are in a time that I find particularly filled with hate, cruelty and bigotry, I have faith that it will not always be this way. Newton’s Third Law will ring true: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Life News Practicalities of Living Technology

91 Percent of Adults 50+ Use Personal Technology To Stay Connected

June 25, 2018
Personal technology

91 percent of tech owners 50-plus say they use personal technology to keep in touch with family and friends, according to a new AARP survey aimed at measuring and identifying technology use and attitudes among adults 50-plus. The research found that mobile and computing devices are the primary technology for Americans 50-plus with subtle differences between age groups. Adults in their 50s and 60s are texting more than emailing on smartphones, while people 70-plus are more likely to use desktop computers and cellphones to keep in touch. Among people who own computers, tablets and smartphones, each device has different uses: computers are used for more practical tasks, tablets for entertainment and smartphones for social and on-the-go activities.

Key findings from the latest AARP Survey on Technology Use and Attitudes Among Mid-Life and Older Americans are:

Seventy percent of adults 50-plus own a smartphone and an equal percentage are on social media. Among those ages 50-69, text messaging has overtaken email as the tech tool most used to stay connected.

Adults in their sixties are more likely to use their devices to manage medical care than those in their 50s or 70s, particularly among tablet and smartphone owners.

The survey additionally reported that over three-quarters (77 percent) reported using their smartphone for directions or traffic information.

Other top activities include purchasing apps, surfing the internet, getting news and accessing social media. Another key finding was that privacy and security are a concern for most older adults but many are not taking proactive steps to protect themselves online.

This AARP Survey on Technology Use and Attitudes can be found here. https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/technology/info-2018/technology-use-attitudes.html

Survey Methodology
The survey on Technology Use and Attitudes was fielded from November 16-27, 2017. Data were collected using GfK’s KnowlegePanel, an online probability-based panel. The final, nationally representative sample included 1,520 adults age 50 and older. The margin of error for the general population is ± 2.7 percentage points.

Health Life Practicalities of Living

Swimsuits For All: The New Power Suit

June 19, 2018
Swimsuits-for-all models

Leading swimwear brand Swimsuits For All, a FULLBEAUTY brand, released a show stopping campaign entitled ‘Power Suit’ featuring women from all walks of life. Each has her own story and claim to fame including 52-year-old actress and model Brooke Shields, 30-year old supermodel Ashley Graham, 30-year-old mom and reality star Angela Simmons, 67-year-old professional swimmer Pat Gallant Charette and 37-year-old nurse practitioner Katie Duke.

In aiming to empower all women to take off their everyday clothing and stand proud in a swimsuit – the new ‘power suit’ – the campaign seeks to inspire all women to feel just as confident as they would in their professional wardrobe. Women typically feel insecure or oversexualized in a swimsuit and this campaign showcases how women of all ages, races, and sizes can feel just as powerful in their swimsuit as they do in their professional attire.

The imagery from this campaign portrays the women donning bold styles from Swimsuits For All’s summer collection. Each brings a different point-of-view and prowess that stem from different backgrounds and experiences. Coming together to inspire each other and their fans by celebrating their strength in all aspects of their lives, each exemplifies an infectious confidence regardless of age, size or circumstance.

“Working on this campaign with Swimsuits For All was inspiring to me because each one of these women is remarkable,” said Brooke. “Growing up under such scrutiny led me to feel insecure about my looks. Over time, I was able to find confidence in myself through my work, my passions, my network of strong female role models and my journey through motherhood. And now, after 50 years in the spotlight, I can confidently say that my ‘Power Suit’ is being in my own skin, showing my body and not hiding it. I loved being able to share that with these women who have also come to that realization.”

Each of the swimsuits worn in the campaign is available starting in sizes 4 to 24 and available to purchase online now at www.swimsuitsforall.com.

About Swimsuits For All
Swimsuits For All believes that summer is more than a season; it’s a feeling. Embodying a 74-degree state of mind all year long, they provide beautiful swimsuits in sizes 4-34 for every swim adventure. As the online swimwear leader since 2005, Swimsuits For All is known for swimsuits with superior construction, expert fit and innovative designs. Additionally, they carry a line of chlorine resistant swimsuits and workout wear that retains its shape and fabric quality for extra pool time. Through perfect-fitting swimwear catered to every body, Swimsuits For All inspires women of all ages, shapes and sizes to be confident and carefree in the swim they’re in. For more information, visit swimsuitsforall.com.

About FULLBEAUTY Brands
FULLBEAUTY Brands Inc. is the fashion authority for plus size women and men seeking fashion inspiration, style advice, and clothing tailored to their individual needs. Proprietary brands under the FULLBEAUTY Brands Inc. umbrella include: Woman Within®, Roaman’s®, Jessica London®, Swimsuits For All®, KingSize®, BrylaneHome®, and fullbeauty.com®, an online marketplace that offers a curated collection of countless brands and thousands of products, serving as the premier fashion and lifestyle destination for women in sizes 12 +.

Health Life News

Kick Isolation by Moving Closer to the Kids!

May 15, 2018

As families become more mobile, often spread across the country, isolation and loneliness among older adults has become a key concern. A New York Times article (“The New Retirement: Near the Kids”) highlighted a solution selected by a growing number of families: move closer to the kids.

In the article, Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of the AARP Foundation, pointed out that family connections become more frequent and more personal when parents move closer to their adult children.

According to Freedonia Group analyst Jennifer Mapes-Christ, “The majority of consumers worry about who will take care of them and how much of a burden they will be on their families as they age. That means that Americans are more open than ever to hiring professional caregivers or moving to a live-in elder care facility when such services are available and they can afford it. However, even if they aren’t providing the care themselves, adult children are more comfortable having Mom and Dad nearby, so they can be assured that their parents are well and receiving quality care.”

Holly Bowers Ruben, one of the adult children profiled whose mother moved closer to her, said “Peace of mind – that has been a huge gift.”

Mapes-Christ points out, “Many people choose to move to warm weather places – including resort-type parts of Florida and Arizona – shortly after retirement for more carefree living. However, as they begin to have trouble living independently, a growing share of those people are choosing to return to their home areas or to where their adult children have settled. This tends to encourage growth in places that are less typically thought of as retirement destinations.”

Furthermore, Mapes-Christ added, “Economically vibrant urban areas are seeing these gains. Increasingly, elder care service providers are constructing senior living communities and expanding home healthcare businesses in areas where younger generations have moved for their own job opportunities.”

About The Freedonia Group – The Freedonia Group, a division of MarketResearch.com, is a leading international industrial research company publishing more than 100 studies annually. Since 1985 we have provided research to customers ranging in size from global conglomerates to one-person consulting firms. More than 90% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 use Freedonia Group research to help with their strategic planning. Each study includes product and market analyses and forecasts, in-depth discussions of important industry trends, and market share information. Studies can be purchased at www.freedoniagroup.com.

Life

Mom Appreciation Day

May 13, 2018

My Mom was a complex woman who I am still learning to appreciate long after she has been gone. She was divorced three times and had four children, one of whom died at birth, the other three being myself, my brother at two years younger and my sister at eight years younger. She was smart, ambitious, funny, had the most amazing legs, a wonderful smile, and beautiful eyes. She shared the smarts, the eyes and I think the smile with me, but I did not get the amazing legs, my sister did!

I have many memories of my Mother, some sad, some funny. I remember one time as a nine-year-old who was used to helping with my sister and being independent, I decided to cut my own bangs. Oh my, I cut them across once and they were crooked, cut them again with the same result. By the time I finally finished I think I had a one-inch fringe that was still crooked! I ran to my room in hysterics and flopped face down on the bed crying like a banshee.

My Mom came running in and sat down on the bed asking anxiously what was wrong. I kept grinding my head into the bed until she finally was able to flip me over. I knew my life was at an end and she was going to be so mad at me. She took one look at me and burst out laughing, then hugged me and told me it was going to be all right. She did the equivalent of an old man’s combover on the front of my forehead and for the longest time, I had the thickest bangs ever!

The first time I got a speeding ticket was when I was about 17. Man, I did not want to tell my Mother, but I knew I had to. I went into her room where she was propped up in bed reading and said, “Mom, remember when you told me that it didn’t matter what I did as long as I didn’t lie to you?” She looked up and said, “What happened?”. I proceeded to tell her and she thanked me and said that since I was honest with her, she would not punish me, but I would have to pay for the ticket. I thought that was more than fair. Then she looked at me again and said, “Do you know what I got my first ticket for? Drag racing. And it was so unfair because the other guy won!” Damn, I love my Mom!

Another time we were talking in the kitchen while she made dinner. I watched her moving around efficiently, expertly opening jars and chopping salad. Then my step-father came home from work and walked into the kitchen to greet her and she suddenly turned into this delicate, helpless woman, holding out another jar to him and saying sweetly, “Honey, can you help me? I can’t open this.” Our eyes met over his shoulder and I put my fingers in my mouth in a gag me motion and she just smiled and gave me this look that said, “You better take note!” Meanwhile, my step-father seemed to eat it up. I guess she knew better. I have never learned the art of coquetry. I wish I had!

My Mom is the main reason my siblings and I are the people that we are. She taught us to be strong, never give up, be honest, tough, love with all our hearts and laugh our asses off on a regular basis. I am always happy when some random expression or flinting glint in myself, my brother or my sister sparks that instant recognition, “There’s Mom!” It helps so much to keep her always there in my heart.

Life News

New Taskforce Tackles Hunger Within West Virginia’s Senior Community

May 8, 2018

Hunger affects all 55 counties and more than 275,000 residents in West Virginia, including seniors. Four organizations — Alderson Broaddus University (ABU), Sodexo, The Campus Kitchens Project, and AARP Foundation — formed a taskforce to address food insecurity within West Virginia’s senior community, and today announced plans to launch a new initiative this fall to fight hunger with opportunities for student involvement. The program is made possible through a grant awarded by AARP Foundation to Alderson Broaddus University.

Alderson Broaddus will use the funds to launch its chapter of The Campus Kitchens Project, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization empowering young people to fight food waste and hunger. Campus Kitchens will place a Fellow at the university to launch the program and ensure its success over the first two years, including student volunteer opportunities.

“Alderson Broaddus University is delighted to collaborate with our dining partner, Sodexo, and the nationally recognized Campus Kitchens Project in addressing the issue of hunger for elderly people in Barbour County, West Virginia. Equally satisfying is the fact that AARP Foundation is supporting us in this ambitious and much-needed endeavor,” said Dr. James (Tim) Barry, president of Alderson Broaddus University. “Rural poverty — in particular, elderly rural poverty and hunger — is an issue that is endemic to West Virginia, particularly in Barbour County. The University has identified rural hunger as a critical need that must be addressed. In our discussions with Sodexo, we believe that we have the beginnings of not only a partnership but a collective way to address the issue of hunger in Barbour County with the support of our Campus Kitchens student volunteers. We look forward to critically examining the programmatic needs for this and developing a successful and engaged program.”

“Sodexo has a longstanding commitment to end hunger and believes in the power of young people in fighting this critical cause,” said Sodexo district manager Michael Greenfield. “For more than 10 years, our Stop Hunger Foundation has invested in young people to help them start and grow innovative solutions to hunger. In 2017, our foundation provided nearly 4.1 million meals for 2.3 million people in local communities around the world and supported the growth of programs like The Campus Kitchens Project. We are glad to extend our partnership with Alderson Broaddus University beyond campus dining halls to provide hunger relief for seniors in the local community.”

On more than 60 university and high school campuses across the country, student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets into meals for people experiencing hunger. In the last academic year, Campus Kitchens across the country recovered over 1.3 million pounds of wasted food and served 350,000 meals.

“We’re thrilled to expand our Campus Kitchens network to Alderson Broaddus and into West Virginia,” said Dan Abrams, director of The Campus Kitchens Project. “Young, eager student volunteers at Campus Kitchens across the country are developing sustainable solutions to hunger and food waste that have a real and lasting impact on those struggling with food insecurity. We look forward to seeing how the Alderson Broaddus team, along with supportive partners like Sodexo and AARP Foundation, will replicate this model in Barbour County to serve disadvantaged seniors and others in need.”

“Thousands of people over age 65 in West Virginia are living in poverty,” said Emily Allen, senior vice president of programs at AARP Foundation. “AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connectedness. This taskforce initiative in West Virginia will forge an intergenerational partnership — a win for student volunteers and a win for the senior community.”

The taskforce will hold meetings this spring to create an action plan for the fall launch. Other organizations will join the initiative and serve as feeding venues.

About Alderson Broaddus University

For more than 144 years, Alderson Broaddus University has been providing a quality education for its students. Overlooking the picturesque Tygart River Valley in Phillipi, West Virginia, Alderson Broaddus University students learn and grown in a faith-based learning community. Alderson Broaddus University is a health-related and professional education institution. Alderson Broaddus University is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA, and the West Virginia Baptist Convention.

About Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life of 15 million customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. The company employs 133,000 people at 13,000 sites in all 50 U.S. states and Canada and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses. In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $30 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger. To learn more about Sodexo, visit SodexoInsights.com and connect with us on Facebook and @SodexoUSA on Twitter.

About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connectedness. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Bolstered by vigorous legal advocacy, we spark bold, innovative solutions that foster resilience, strengthen communities and restore hope.

About The Campus Kitchens Project

Founded in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project is a national program of DC Central Kitchen that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger and food waste in their community. On over 60 university and high school campuses across the country, students transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets into meals for people experiencing hunger. By taking the initiative to run a community kitchen, students develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills, along with a commitment to serve their community, that they will carry with them into future careers. Each Campus Kitchen implements innovative Beyond the Meal programming that uses food as a tool to end systemic poverty. Across the country, local campus kitchens are building community gardens, organizing mobile food pantries, filling backpacks for after school children, and educating the public on SNAP benefits and nutrition. To learn more about our work or bring The Campus Kitchens Project to your school, visit www.campuskitchens.org.

Health Humor Life

An Urgent Need For Change

May 6, 2018

About a month ago I ended up in the emergency room. I have been having trouble with shortness of breath since January and despite an all clear from my doctor on my heart, lungs and everything else she tested I still was out of breath. Deciding that it must be asthma and planning on a long weekend trip to my sister’s where there are dogs, I had gone to Kaiser’s urgent care to see if I could get an inhaler.

Fifteen minutes later they were wheeling me over to the emergency room with me protesting and panicking the whole way. I couldn’t go to emergency, I had too much to do! I was upset, angry, frustrated and scared, with the words of the doctor who sent me over there ringing in my ears, “Oh sweetie, you have to go. You are a walking time bomb right now.” Well, hell! Who wants to hear that?

So there I was, hooked up to all kinds of monitors, with a bunch of very nice, calm doctors and nurses taking all kinds of tests, again. After about five hours of monitoring me, they finally let me go home with an ongoing diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and a “mild case of congestive heart failure” along with two new prescriptions! Not exactly how I wanted to start my long weekend.

Why am I telling you this rather depressing tale? Because in the weeks that followed I had to make hard choices about what I was going to do about my health and whether or not I was going to lay down and give up or kick ass and take no prisoners as I changed my life. I hope you know which choice I made.

I crawl my way up and down the hallways of my building with my trusty walking sticks trying to get my body to remember how to breathe and walk. I got back on my exercise bike and slowly started increasing my time on it again. I bought a stair step thingy so I could walk up and down in my own home without risking breaking my neck in the stairwells and I made a choice about the way I was going to start eating for hopefully the rest of my life. (More on that later!)

And then I had to work with my attitude. I was depressed about being unhealthy, about getting old, about choices that I made in my life that brought me to this place. Oh boy, me and Frankie were singing the blues, “Regrets, I’ve had a few….”

Finally, my brain kicked my butt enough that I remembered how many times in my life I have dearly, deeply wanted to make a change or do something different, that kind of wanting that comes from your core. I remembered how every single time that happened life kicked me in directions that I had no clue were even options.

It booted me into being a recruiter when I had no idea what I was doing. It kicked me uptown to Beverly Hills 90210 to manage an apartment building, again something that I had no experience doing. It sent me scrambling to Guatemala to live for six months, then gave me a strange and wonderful alternate family for ten years.

Life pushed me kicking and screaming into a publishing job in the entertainment industry, somewhere I never had aspirations to be. And it moved me where I am today, a place that gives me a chance to live my life in many ways on my own terms.

I remembered then that life has a sense of humor much like my own, sarcastic, sassy, hysterical, gut-busting and many times flat out inappropriate! It doesn’t really care if it puts you in situations that seem to be way out of your league. Moving you to where you want to go is the object. How you get there is a whole other story!

I was once again being kicked to the next level, the one that I had asked for in that deep place in my core. Holy cow! Who knows where I will end up next? But it’s guaranteed to be a wild and wonderful ride!

Health Life

MPTF’S Social Isolation Impact Summit Addresses Loneliness

May 6, 2018

Community leaders, policy experts, researchers and change agents gathered today for MPTFs (Motion Picture & Television Fund) 2nd Annual Social Isolation and Loneliness Impact Summit. The event took place at MPTF’s Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills.

The Summit featured presentations and workshops where experts shared key insights, best practices and conducted discussions about ways to effectively collaborate to create meaningful changes throughout Los Angeles. Paul Cann, co-founder of the U.K. Campaign to End Loneliness, delivered the keynote address with special presentations by Carla M. Perissinotto, M.D., associate professor of Geriatrics at University of California San Francisco and Lynda Flowers, J.D., M.S.N., R.N., senior policy advisor at AARP Public Policy Institute. Community leaders representing a variety of Los Angeles based organizations led conversations addressing loneliness and social isolation in the transportation, education, intergenerational services and housing arenas.

“Meaningful social connections are a critical component of good health and well-being,” said Scott Kaiser, M.D., chief innovation officer and practicing geriatrician at MPTF. “Chronic isolation and loneliness have profound negative impacts on health, quality of life, and even, mortality. With this summit, we’re bringing together key stakeholders to raise the profile of this issue and share ways we can intervene to mitigate these adverse effects.”

“AARP Foundation is committed to ending isolation in older adults,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president, AARP Foundation. “We are delighted to collaborate with MPTF to create a deeper understanding of isolation and loneliness, drawing much-needed attention to these issues, and to identify solutions that foster social connections older adults need to live well and thrive.”

Social isolation and loneliness are recognized as a growing epidemic and a critical health concern in the aging and disabled populations. Mounting evidence links social isolation and loneliness to poor health, depression, disability and increased risk of death. Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they are lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent. Approximately one-third of Americans over 65 live alone, as do half of those over age 85. Recent studies find that individuals with fewer social connections have disrupted sleep patterns, higher levels of stress hormones, altered immune systems and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Research shows that the negative health consequences of chronic isolation and loneliness, while harmful at any age, are especially so for older adults. One recent study (Holt-Lunstad, 2015) found that the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

Last year, MPTF launched the Daily Call Sheet – a volunteer-driven telephone outreach program to combat social isolation and loneliness among entertainment industry members and their families. Funded with the support of AARP Foundation, MPTF’s Daily Call Sheet is a scalable and replicable program that can be shared with other social services organizations throughout Los Angeles and beyond.

MPTF’s Annual Social Isolation and Loneliness Impact Summit is one of the many ways that the organization is committed to taking care of its own. Other activities and events include MPTF’s Deal With It: A Women’s Conference, an annual summit to empower women in entertainment, Annual Health & Fitness Day, an annual festival focused on living and aging well, and the Daily Call Sheet, a volunteer-driven telephone outreach program to combat social isolation and loneliness among entertainment industry members and their families.

About MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund)
MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund) supports the entertainment community in living and aging well, with dignity and purpose, and in helping each other in times of need. What began more than 96 years ago as the Motion Picture Relief Fund has flourished into MPTF, a comprehensive service organization that remains at the core of the entertainment industry.

MPTF belongs to everyone in the entertainment business and its successes are embodied in the spirit of stepping up and giving back. With the engagement and generosity of thousands of people from within the entertainment industry community, MPTF serves thousands in the entertainment community each year with financial assistance, social services, and retirement living.

The entertainment industry has a longtime history of taking care of its own like no other industry in the world. People are at the heart of what MPTF does each day, and it is the extraordinary generosity of countless donors, families, and volunteers that enables the organization to deliver services to industry members in need.

To learn more, visit www.mptf.com, www.Facebook.com/mptf, www.Twitter.com/mptf, Instagram: @MPTF

Health Humor Life

My 30 Year Plan

April 29, 2018

It has been a while since I posted here. Even the news stories that I normally post have been piling up in my to-do folder. And the reason you ask? I have not been having a very “indulgent aging” time in the last couple of months. As a matter of fact, I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment the other day and thinking about this site and told myself maybe I really needed to start one called gettingoldsucks.com! It is very hard to come up with cheerful, positive and encouraging stories about indulgent aging when you are doing nothing of the kind.

However, I think I have pretty much always been a “glass half full” kind of person and I am also a stubborn bitch when I put my mind to it and damn it I am going to have a happy old age if it kills me!

I have started feeling better and it did occur to me the other day that my current battle with my doctors and health has put my focus firmly on driving my doctors crazy and paying attention to what I eat and how to move my body on a long-term instead of start-something-and-quit basis. And I am making progress. I have read and Googled medical information and books until my eyes bleed but finally feel comfortable with the decisions that I am making. The fact that my blood pressure is lower along with my blood sugar makes me smile and that is an encouraging thing.

I also decided that the “getting old sucks” theme was the elephant in my room of indulgent aging and I might as well address it here instead of trying to pretend that all is hunky dory in the world of battered knees, weird, wrinkly places and as one of my male friends lamented “hair growing everywhere but where you want it”!

I live and work in a building populated by seniors 55 and older and I can tell you first hand that there is a wide range of aging styles in life. The most amazing thing to me when I started working here was that there seems to be this phenomenon where visible aging takes a timeout right around 60 and between the years of 60 to late 80’s there is very little change in the way people look and feel. And then in the 90’s the look and feel of aging seems to accelerate again. But the good news is that from 60 to late 80’s is close to 30 years! 30 years to learn new things, meet new people (or the man of your dreams), travel, volunteer, march in protests, work out every day and grow those muscles, all kinds of things can happen in 30 years.

I’ve decided that part of my job right now is focusing on my health, taking the time for me and for my body which I want to have around for my 30-year adventure. My biggest goal right now? Walking 30 minutes a day, with my kick-ass purple Nordic walking sticks, (I plan on starting a new trend!) and I promise I will share the good and bad with you along the way.