Essential Reads

Mental Fitness for Seniors

Isn't Mental Fitness as Important as Physical Fitness?

Are You in Cognitive Decline?

When do cognitive abilities peak?

Does Video Game-Playing Sharpen Mental Skills and Speed?

New research casts doubt on the supposed cognitive benefits of video gaming.

How Many People Take Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepine use increases with age

Recent Posts on Aging

Do Older Married People Live More Happily Than Single Peers?

When marriage is enjoyed by two people later in life, it can be more rewarding and fulfilling than expected. By keeping in mind just a few tips, committed couples can improve their quality of life by exercising choices that are within their control.

What's Wrong With Immortality?

Plan to live forever - or die trying?

Decision-Making 101

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on May 21, 2015 in Memory Medic
Good decision making depends on selective attention skills. Seniors are better at this than young people, whose culture and schools are making matters worse.

Can't Sit Still? You Are Not Alone

A friend laughed with relief when I told her how noisy my mind is when I step outside intending to sit and listen to birdsong. She thought she was the only one who could barely quiet her mind enough to sit still. I find that the fresh air, earth aromas, and the bird chorus are there for a moment or two and then all that I am trying to savor drops away.

Buyer Beware, Part 3

This is the story of a trusting senior couple who made a serious life decision on the basis of a friend's advice. We had not realized that retirement homes are prone to make big promises and deliver shoddy services—at a high cost.

Mental Fitness for Seniors

Baby boomers are one of the largest aging cohorts ever. Given that more seniors than ever will be driving, traveling, and working, there is an urgency to staying mentally fit.

Are You in Cognitive Decline?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
I speak to a lot of corporate audiences. Regardless of the topic I am speaking about, I get a lot of general psychology questions from the crowd. The most popular question is about cognitive performance and aging. People in their 50s and 60s begin to worry that they are not going to be able to keep up mentally with their younger colleagues.

Beliefs About Brain Training: Why They Could Be Hurting Us

Can brain training help or hurt? It may depend on your attitude about what you expect to get out of it.

Very Small Amounts of Exercise Can Reap Huge Benefits

If you are someone who hates to exercise, I have good news. Two different studies published in May 2015 report that small amounts of "light-intensity" physical activity can dramatically improve your health and longevity.

World War II Memories

A I was to young to remember much about it. But I've been so riveted to other people's dramatizations of the war in books, films or on the screen, that the war has felt like part of my psychic reality. You could say I've been just one step shy of suffering a Brian Williams type 'embellishment syndrome.'

Death With Dementia

By Robin Marantz Henig on May 15, 2015 in Cusp
Sandy Bem needed to choose a day to die, and it had to be just right. Too soon, and it might be a day when she still felt basically fine, still essentially herself even as her Alzheimer's disease implacably ate away at her intellect. Too late, and she might no longer have the resolve, or the understanding, or even the physical dexterity to end her life on her own.

Longevity Cookbook is Your Chance to Defeat Aging

One dashing 29-year-old scientist is helping to bring longevity research into people's houses—specifically into their kitchens. Maria Konovalenko is one of the lead organizers and authors of the Longevity Cookbook, full of recipes and ideas that will help you live far longer.

Compassion: Living, Loving, and Dying

Compassion, which we so often show towards strangers, can sometimes take a back seat with those we love. Yet in society today, we need compassion, for those in our homes, in nursing facilities, and in hospitals.

Buyer Beware Part 2

How two intelligent senior professionals were taken for a very expensive ride

Lessons in Speaking From The Heart

By Greg O'Brien on May 12, 2015 in On Pluto
Laughter can be a powerful antidote to dementia—the pain, conflict, and stress of it. A good laugh, doctors say, reduces tension and can leave muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, and triggers the release of endorphins—the natural drug of choice.

Hawaiian Luaus, Leis and... End-of-Life Care?

Can one of the smallest states show the rest of us how to transform health care?

Does Video Game-Playing Sharpen Mental Skills and Speed?

By David Myers on May 08, 2015 in Talk Psych
Although new research suggests that video-game playing and "brain training" have limited cognitive benefits, some simple interventions can increase academic achievement.

Buyer Beware

This is the story of how two healthy professionals in their senior years entered a retirement home - aka a "caring community" - and met with one bizarre surprise after another. We were actually in a poorly run nursing home, where the promises that had been made to us bore no resemblance to the services actually offered. (part of a series)

Mother's Day: Role Reversal

By Katherine Bouton on May 08, 2015 in What I Hear
My aging mother could hear, but I couldn't. My hearing and her dementia still created a nearly unbridgeable gap. The only way across it was with smiles and hugs and just being there — for her and for me.

Mother's Day and Alzheimer's Disease

How to celebrate Mother's Day with someone who has Alzheimer's disease

How Many People Take Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines can be helpful in treating anxiety and insomnia. These medications are used more often by elderly adults than by younger people even though there are increased safety concerns with use by older individuals.

Think Twice Before Getting Knee Surgery

Accumulating evidence now proves that much of arthroscopic (keyhole) knee surgery may be unnecessary because the results are no better than placebo. This is an especially startling finding because this is the second most common surgical procedure in the world (after cataract surgery).

Subverting the Trap of Perfection This Mother's Day

Just in time for the Mother of all holidays, a book that applauds the imperfections of getting older. Finally.

14 Tips from 14 Years Sick

#14: When all else fails, go to bed.

Importance of Positive Reframing and Attitude in Adulthood

You are in control of navigating your life. Older adulthood can come with challenges, but with the right outlook and goals you learn we are all resilient.

Geography of Aging and the Illusion of Self

By Mario D Garrett PhD on May 04, 2015 in iAge
There is no "me". My body is a fusion of the outside world and an internal reality. The distinction between me and them is purely a creation of my mind. The separation comes as an afterthought. My mind creates this dualism, but in reality my body is fused with the geography and behavior of others around. The sense of self is how the body placates me.

Music's Effects on Cognitive Function of the Elderly

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on April 30, 2015 in Memory Medic
Music can be therapy for old age.

An Ode to a Grandma

By Robin Marantz Henig on April 30, 2015 in Cusp
The decision to operate on a 93-year-old, against her wishes, has a happy ending: she recovers, and has 9 more years that turn out to be the best years of her life. It's debatable, though, whether it would have been wrong to let her die when she wanted to.

Lucky Man

By Susan Hooper on April 29, 2015 in Detours and Tangents
My grandfather died suddenly in his fifties from a heart attack, leaving behind a wife and four sons. But years earlier he had sidestepped death on the Titanic and possibly the Lusitania, too. Did he die prematurely or did he have the good fortune to live far beyond the number of years the Fates had originally allotted him?

Advance Directives 2.0

How video technology can disrupt health care and make it a saner system at the end of life.