65 Is The New 55: Prominent Baby Boomers at Stanford Alumni Weekend discuss impacts on society of aging and longevity.

This article is a MUST READ! It is SO refreshing to hear new ideas for the Baby Boomer generation from the Baby Boomer generation! This is a certainly though provoking conversation, so I’ll post the whole article and the link! -SP

An all-star lineup of Baby Boomers, including Tom Brokaw and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, explored Saturday how matters of death, education, disease and family intersect with the aging of their generation.

The panel of leaders—from academia, business and law—said at a Maples Pavilion Stanford Roundtable that the confluence of these factors could lead to a crisis in our society.

The former Stanford students in the audience, here for Alumni Weekend, resonated with the questions posed by moderator Tom Brokaw of NBC News and the responses from the panel of six experts in “Generation Ageless: Longevity and the Boomers.”

With France in the news for legislating a controversial increase in the minimum retirement age, it was natural for Brokaw to bring up the issue of raising the age for initiation of Social Security benefits in the United States.

Barry Rand, CEO of AARP, pointed out that Social Security is self-funded, so it’s not a deficit issue. But, he said, “The issue is solvency. Seniors care about their children and grandchildren.” He and other panelists agreed that if we want to raise the minimum age for eligibility, we need to create jobs for seniors.

O’Connor said that at age 80, she is fully capable and eager to work, but she resigned from the high court to spend more time at home with her husband of 57 years, who suffers with Alzheimer’s Disease. She strongly urged a national campaign to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, just as we have done for polio and TB.

Stanford President John Hennessey commented that in addition to more research on Alzheimer’s, we need to think about the multi-generational problems associated with obesity and diabetes. Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford professor who focuses on stress, neuronal degeneration and aging, asked, “Why is it that when people are unhappy they eat more starch?”

Laura Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, received a healthy round of applause for saying, “The only stage in life that’s gotten longer is old age. Why can’t we stretch out adolescence?” She said, “We need a world where people arrive at old age mentally sharp, physically fit and financially secure.”

The way to accomplish that, she said, is through education. “High school dropouts decline from age 30. We need to change to allow everyone to have access to education.”

Carstensen pointed out that there are now families with as many as five, sometimes even six, living generations.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, said that as we grow older, it’s more and more important to connect with others, especially with people of other generations than our own. She credits her parents with being role models to talk with and hopes that her own young children will call her when they get older.

“The best people around are your family,” she said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Brokaw asked the panelists if there were any societies that could be regarded as role models for dealing with their aging populations. Rand said that AARP with its international focus has found no role model to follow.

Carstensen agreed, and Sapolsky stated that most societies have undergone shifts that result in their not valuing aged people. China will have problems stemming from their one-child-per-family policy and their gender bias for boys, he said.

Brokaw’s closing question was, “How shall we think about death?” Stanford’s Sapolsky told of a palliative care specialist he knows who once told him, “I had three good deaths this week.” What he meant by “good” was that the patients were referred to hospice early and died peacefully.

Original article here at the Palo Alto Patch website.

Choosing to learn slows Alzheimer’s

WALTHAM, Mass., Jan. 14 (UPI) — Attending lectures, reading, doing word games and working mental puzzles may help slow Alzheimer’s disease, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Brandeis University
, in Waltham, Mass., say doing these activities may provide the protection from memory decline and dementia associated with having a college degree.

“The lifelong benefits of higher education for memory in later life are quite impressive, but we do not clearly understand how and why these effects last so long,” lead author Margie Lachman said in a statement.

“Among individuals with low education, those who engaged in reading, writing, attending lectures, doing word games or puzzles once or week or more had memory scores similar to people with more education.”

Read more at UPI.com

Learn about Alzheimer’s for FREE in Central Texas

THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION CAPITAL OF TEXAS CHAPTER ANNOUNCES FREE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR CENTRAL TEXAS RESIDENTS

1st Tuesday of the month – Georgetown Public Library 402 W. 8th St. Georgetown. 6 – 7:15 p.m.

2nd Tuesday of the month
-Alzheimer’s Association Office 3429 Executive Center Dr., Ste 100 Austin 6 – 7:15 p.m.

3rd Tuesday of the month
– The Bridgemoor at Killeen 2710 Cunningham Rd. Killeen. 6 – 7:15 p.m.

4th Tuesday of the month – City of San Marcos Old Community Fish Hatchery, 204 CM Allen Parkway San Marcos Noon – 1:15 p.m.

The class titled An Introduction to Alzheimer’s Disease: ALZ 101 is designed for anyone who suspects memory loss and/or is interested in learning about the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, what Alzheimer’s disease is, how it progresses, the importance of diagnosis, current treatment options, and available community resources.

At the end of the presentation, there will be time for questions and answers. The program is facilitated by Alzheimer’s Association staff and educational materials will be available. There is no charge to attend, however to reserve a space or for additional information please call the Alzheimer’s Association at (512) 241-0420 ext. 16 or e-mail TXPrograms@TXAlz.org.

Today, approximately 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, including 280,000 Texans. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Concurrently, every 70 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease and by mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds. With numbers climbing at such drastic rates, ALZ 101 is an excellent way to become enlightened about Alzheimer’s disease

Check out the Central Texas Alzheimer’s Association website for more information!

Eldercare Advocate, Jacqueline Marcell, to Speak in Houston

HOUSTON, TX — Jacqueline Marcell, author of the best-selling book “Elder Rage” will speak for the Senior Guidance Directory at their first annual luncheon and also at an evening program. Whether you are a caregiver (or worried you may become one or even need one!) or a seasoned healthcare professional, you will enjoy being enlightened and entertained by this sought-after international speaker.

LUNCHEON KEYNOTE: “Overcoming Professional Caregiving Challenges” at Briar Club, 2603 Timmons Lane, Houston 77027, 11:00 am-2:00 pm. TWO FREE Continuing Education Units/Contact Hours for RNs and Social Workers available. The 2009 Pacesetter Award, “Most Innovative Caregiving Practitioner”, will also be presented. Patricia Gras of Houston’s PBS “Living Smart” program will be the Mistress of Ceremonies.

EVENING LECTURE: “Laughter & Tears in the Caregiving Years” at HBU Morris Cultural Arts Center, 7502 Fondren Road, Houston 77074, 6:30-8:30 pm. The 2009 “Outstanding Family Caregiver of the Year Award” will be also presented–nominations due by October 15.

Mixing practical advice with laugh-out-loud humor, Marcell presents creative caregiving solutions based on her experience of caring for two parents fulltime with undiagnosed early stage dementia, namely Alzheimer’s. After a year of enduring her father’s rages and fighting through an unsympathetic medical system, her loving persistence turned around the seemingly impossible situation and made it all manageable. The experience compelled her to give up her stalled career as a television executive to become an advocate for eldercare awareness and reform.

For more, check out: Senior Guidance