You know you’re getting old when every meal starts and ends with an admonition about how food will kill you.
As my friends and I navigate our 60s and 70s, we notice — with amusement and consternation — how our conversations have changed. Instead of talking about our kids’ college applications and the best camping sites, we find ourselves discussing back pain and long-term care insurance. The bottom-line concern, of course, is how to create the best quality of life as we age.
An Israeli children's museum opened an exhibit to simulate the aging process.
Paul Auster is best known and often praised for his postmodernist novels and short stories, including "The New York Trilogy" and "Sunset Park," but his lifetime of literary achievement actually began with a 1982 memoir, "The Invention of Solitude," his first published work under his own name.
“Boomers [people born between 1946 and 1964] are the first generation in human history … to reasonably anticipate living well and wholesomely into their 80s and 90s, if not beyond,” sociologist Steven Cohen writes. “But not only are Jews (as others) living longer, they are living in an age of meaning-seeking, with the interest and wherewithal to make living a life of meaning an ultimate and reasonably obtainable objective for any point in their lives.”
One day last spring, Jill Schary-Robinson Shaw was walking through a quiet, darkened corridor in the long-term care unit at The Motion Picture Home, the iconic Woodland Hills nursing home for entertainment industry veterans and their families. Hardly anyone was around — lights were dim, residents alone in their rooms — as Schary-Robinson Shaw, the daughter of Isadore “Dore” Schary, who ran MGM in the 1950s, wheeled her husband, Stuart Shaw, a resident of the home, around his desolate indoor neighborhood.
As we age, creativity often peaks, and our need to create soars: Georgia O’Keeffe, for instance, did some of her best work in her later years, and Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was in her 70s. Likewise, Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her 60s when she began to write her “Little House on the Prairie” books.
The Jewish Home for the Aging has never had a Torah it could call its own. Since the home first opened in 1912, synagogues or individuals have donated Siferei Torah to the senior-living community, but the scrolls were often old and tarnished, with faded letters or finger smudges on the parchment. These Torahs are considered pasul, or unfit for public reading, but they were the only ones available to the home for religious services.
" . . . Older people can not only continue to have meaning, purpose and activity in their post-retirement years, they may even find a new purpose, unencumbered by work and parenting obligations . . . "
Nearly a dozen eldercare professionals and paraprofessionals spent three days in January on a whirlwind tour of Jerusalem, Beersheva and Dimona, visiting day-care centers, sheltered housing arrangements and full-service facilities; listening to lecturers addressing such topics as how different ethnic groups care for their elderly and innovations in Alzheimer's care, and learning about new developments in aging-related services.
Science is ringing in a new era in the world of the hearing-impaired, and the technologies to accommodate, treat and prevent hearing loss -- and even cure it -- are advancing at almost sonic speed. And that's welcome news, considering how doctors are wringing their hands over study after study predicting hearing loss for a generation that seems constantly connected, almost from birth, to MP3 players.
It took eight decades, but at last I know what is meant by "second childhood."
Even at 86 years old, Joe Weider gives you the sense he might have once been one of those Olympians. As he approaches the head of the table inside this wood-paneled room, Weider appears dapper and powerful, his muscular torso still filling out the gray pinstriped suit he wears with a starched white shirt and red power tie.
The Alter Kayakers stand out for their awesome endurance and robust bearing, and they cram their days with endless bicycling, hiking, tennis, martial arts and river rafting. But no one has to quit when his abilities falter.
Dobkin doesn't play bingo, and she doesn't own a television. She occasionally attends a lecture or musical event, but generally, when she isn't working, she is reading, usually The Forward in Yiddish or English or The Jewish Journal. She reads without glasses, except for very small print.
The Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Medical Center,which will be dedicated Oct. 29 as the newest facility at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda.
When sexy authors like Erica Jong and Jerry Stahl get together onstage, you expect fireworks. But when I drag my friend Kay up to Skirball for the Writers Bloc conversation, the room is too bright, and Kay tells me Jong's blue-framed eyeglasses and gold necklace make her come off more Carol Channing than "sex goddess."
Weight-loss prevention is one of the principal areas of investigation at the Borun Center, a joint venture between JHA and UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Housed on the JHA campus in Reseda, the center was established in 1989 to identify and test nonmedical measures that could improve daily care and quality of life for nursing home residents.
Some 10 million older Americans need some kind of assistance to get through every day. Family members (mostly grown children) provide about 80 percent of that help. Lots of those adult children welcome the opportunity to give back to their parents a portion of the love and care they received as a child.
But what happens when an abusive or absent parent, now well along in years, turns to his or her adult child for help? How in the world do you care for an elderly mother or father who showed you no love, compassion or understanding when you were young?
Amazingly, two-thirds of all the people who have ever lived past the age of 65 in the history of the world are alive today, according to Ken Dychtwald, author of "The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life." This suggests that our way-beyond octogenarians in the Bible were the exception, not the rule.
My mother and father are both in diapers. I wasn't at all prepared for this possibility. Dealing with the visual and olfactory aspect of my son's end products when he was a baby was an expected part of being a mom, but it's a completely different matter when it's my parents wearing the Pampers.
The paucity of Jews serving on front lines may explain the dwindling numbers of members belonging to Jewish war veteran organizations.
For 11 years. I begged my obstinate elderly father to allow a caregiver to help him with my ailing mother, but he adamantly insisted on taking care of her himself. Every caregiver I hired to help him said, "Jacqueline, I just can't work with your father -- his temper is impossible to handle. I don't think you'll be able to get him to accept help until he's on his knees himself."
At many nursing homes and other senior residences, a visit from some friendly canines during "pet therapy" is a welcome source of comfort and cheer. But while the furry companions bring smiles and laughter to the majority of residents, they can be a source of terror to aging Holocaust survivors who suffer from post-traumatic stress or Alzheimer's disease.
Recently, I came across a story about a man who made the "unforgivable" mistake of missing his wife's birthday. When the wife expressed her anger, the quick-witted husband responded, "Sweetheart, how do you expect me to remember your birthday when you never look any older?"
If only that were true, and we could find the secret elixir for everlasting youth, we would all be happier. Although some French winemakers would like us to believe that imbibing one glass of French wine each day will do the trick, most of us realize that, considering the alternative, aging is a blessing.
The Jewish population is aging and shrinking, its birthrate is falling, intermarriage is rising and most Jews do not engage in communal or religious pursuits.
Yet a majority attend a Passover seder and celebrate Chanukah, Jewish education is booming, and many Jews consider being Jewish important and feel strong ties to Israel.
These are not dueling headlines, but parallel portraits contained in the long-awaited National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) 2000-01. Federations and Jewish communal leaders use these studies every decade for policy and planning decisions.
With the number of Jewish elderly expected to soar over the coming decade, leaders at the national and local levels realize they must move beyond traditional methods of caring for the elderly to develop new plans and policies.
Imagine you are 90 years old and the world you once knew, even your own home, feels like a frightening and unfamiliar place. Sometimes you find it hard to recognize even your closest family members. You don't understand why people get angry when you wander away or when you cannot finish a sentence. You may be fit physically, but psychologically you are at a loss -- and so are your family and friends. Imagine you move to a small, lovely village. There are strangers there, but they are gentle and caring. There are places to walk, and no one gets angry if you get a little lost. They just calmly lead you back to where you need to be. When you are in the mood, there is plenty to do, but no one gets angry when you just want to sit. Best of all, your family doesn't seem so worried anymore. This scenario is the aim of the new Goldenberg-Ziman Special Care Center located at the Jewish Home for the Aging's Eisenberg Campus in Tarzana.
In 1927, William Wrigley Jr. prompted the Santa Catalina Island Company to invest in the creation of the Catalina Tile Factory after discovering clay deposits on the island. While the operation lasted only 10 years, it turned out tiles and decorative ware that were cherished by collectors.In 1997, 60 years after the factory closed its doors, Cynthia Seider brought back the art of tile painting to Avalon for a cause that she cherishes.