by Robert Weisman
“WOBURN — Scanning recent police reports from the Massachusetts communities under her jurisdiction, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan was alarmed to spot what she called a ‘tragic spike’ in suicides.
“Fifty-two county residents had taken their lives in the first half of this year, a toll up almost two-thirds from last year. She knew that plenty of young people battle anxiety but was surprised to learn the residents’ average age was 46. A quarter were over 60.
“‘The numbers are dramatically higher than we’ve seen in the past,’ Ryan said. Although it’s impossible to pinpoint one cause, ‘loneliness is definitely a factor,’ she said. ‘“Many older people are feeling disconnected from other folks in their communities.’”
“Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think: Here’s how to make the most of it.” – The Atlantic
“The data are shockingly clear that for most people, in most fields, professional decline starts earlier than almost anyone thinks.”
by Arthur C. Brooks
“‘It’s not true that no one needs you anymore.’
“These words came from an elderly woman sitting behind me on a late-night flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The plane was dark and quiet. A man I assumed to be her husband murmured almost inaudibly in response, something to the effect of ‘I wish I was dead.’
“Again, the woman: ‘Oh, stop saying that.’
“I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but couldn’t help it. I listened with morbid fascination, forming an image of the man in my head as they talked. I imagined someone who had worked hard all his life in relative obscurity, someone with unfulfilled dreams—perhaps of the degree he never attained, the career he never pursued, the company he never started.
“At the end of the flight, as the lights switched on, I finally got a look at the desolate man. I was shocked. I recognized him—he was, and still is, world-famous. Then in his mid‑80s, he was beloved as a hero for his courage, patriotism, and accomplishments many decades ago.”
This a “long read” — but maybe just right for a Sunday (or any other) morning. Click here to read this article at The Atlantic.
This inventory lists resources for health and social service professionals interested in enhancing their outreach and support for older Veterans and other older adults who have or are at risk for behavioral health conditions. It covers resources on topics including post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, long term services and supports, and more.
by Ginia Bellafante
“Last fall, a special investigator for the United Nations presented a report to the General Assembly on the global housing crisis, pointing out that a quarter of the world’s urban population now live in ‘informal settlements’ or encampments, increasingly in the most affluent countries. The fact-finding mission took the investigator to cities like Mumbai, Belgrade and Mexico City, where she found rodent infestations, children playing on garbage heaps ‘as if they were trampolines’ and people living in shacks or in damp abandoned buildings full of exposed wires.
“At the invitation of academics and advocates, she also went to to San Francisco, where the median home price is $1.6 million.
“There she witnessed equally deplorable conditions. Crucial to the report’s assessment was the finding that the city’s resistance to providing help and basic necessities in the encampments there qualified as ‘cruel and inhuman treatment,’ which was in line with violations of international standards of human rights.”
by Sharon Jayson
“AUSTIN, Texas — Connor Wilton moved here for the music scene. The 24-year-old singer-guitarist “knew zero people in Austin” and felt pretty lonely at first.
While this capital city is one of the nation’s buzziest places and ranks at the top of many ‘best’ lists, Wilton wasn’t feeling it. He lived near the University of Texas at Austin but wasn’t a student; he said walking through ‘the social megaplex that’s UT-Austin’ was intimidating, with its almost 52,000 students all seemingly having fun.
“‘You definitely feel like you’re on the outside, and it’s hard to penetrate that bubble,’ Wilton said.
Read this article at California Healthline in its entirety — click here.
by Andy Puddicombe
“‘Be present, be patient, be gentle, be kind . . . and everything else will take care of itself’ were the words of my teacher as I left behind my life as a Buddhist monk, some 15 years ago, to set out on a very different kind of adventure, one that would eventually lead to me getting married, having children, starting the Headspace meditation app, and moving to America.
“People often ask which I prefer: the simplicity of a monastic life, or the chaos of a working, family life? But life is not like that. Outside of extraordinary or unfortunate circumstances, our happiness is not typically defined by where we live, what we do, or what we possess.
“But instead of looking inward — recognizing that our experience of life is defined by our perception — we chase or hold on to things that we think make us happy, while running away from anything we believe makes us unhappy. This creates a never-ending cycle of hope and fear, leaving us exhausted, stressed, and no closer to the peace of mind we seek. So it’s worth considering how to step out of that cycle.”
One-quarter of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 feel isolated from others, and 1 in 3 report a lack of companionship, according to a new national poll from the University of Michigan. Previous research has found that feeling socially isolated can negatively impact health, including increased stress and an elevated risk of dementia or suicide. In the survey of nearly 2,000 adults, more than a quarter of those who reported feeling isolated also reported being in fair or poor health. The poll’s authors say encouraging and supporting meaningful social connections and more frequent interactions is one way to combat isolation and subsequent health effects.
What does “successful aging” look like? Will boomers continue to be interested in senior centers and “villages?”
Two recent articles weigh in on topics that will have profound impact on services that may have to be modified as persons age. These aging persons are not “their father’s” peers. It is a very different time and will continue to be.
“Salem residents, including baby boomers, exercised at the advanced fitness class at the Salem Community Life Center.” – SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF
“What Is Successful Aging?” – (This nextavenue article is excerpted from the new book Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging by Alan D. Castel PhD. Copyright © 2019 by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.)
“The phrase ‘successful aging’ has grown in popularity over the past few decades. At some point in life, people become concerned about aging and want to know what to expect, what to avoid and ways to adapt. New research has shown that important paradoxes exist regarding how we think about old age and how we actually age.
T”he term successful aging was made popular in 1987, when the scientists John Wallis Rowe and Robert Kahn published an influential book entitled Successful Aging. Rowe and Kahn stated that successful aging involved three main factors: (1) being free of disability or disease, (2) having high cognitive and physical abilities, and (3) interacting with others in meaningful ways.
“Extrinsic and Intrinsic Factors of Successful Aging
“Importantly, Rowe and Kahn acknowledged that successful aging involved both intrinsic genetic factors and extrinsic lifestyle factors. Extrinsic factors such as diet, exercise, personal habits and psychosocial aspects of aging are often underestimated if one takes the simplistic view that aging is guided by genetics.” – Click here to continue reading this article.
This Boston Globe article, “Senior groups struggle to attract ‘forever young’ baby boomers” sheds new light on what the “boomers” think about traditional senior centers and “villages.”
“I have no interest,” responded one person in the article when asked to visit the local senior center.”
Lebanon VA Medical Center announces the first “Building the Bridge” event | other dates and venues announced, too.
The first session of the Building the Bridge Series is scheduled for March 8, 2019. Enrollment will be available and onsite throughout the event. This event will be held at the U.S. Army Heritage Education Center (Carlisle PA), where we look forward to collaborating with key stakeholders from the Veteran community pertaining to supports and resources in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry Counties.
This year’s topics include:
- Transition from Uniformed Services to Civilian Life: The common challenges in the transition process for both the Veteran and the family.
- Substance Use & Abuse: Identifying when someone is using drugs &/or alcohol to cope, how to respond and where to turn for help.
- Suicide Prevention: When warning signs of suicide begin to emerge & how family can help. Discussion pertaining to supports & local initiatives.
- Serving the Whole Veteran from a Wrap Around Perspective: Connecting Veterans before, during and after VA care with community partnerships.
Please join us for education, collaborative discussion and round-table sessions to further develop, strengthen and sustain working relationships.