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Ageless Aging - New studies, indeas
January 08, 2014
First, I wish you all the best in this New Year. (I planned to send out this newsletter last week but between sleet, snow and really cold weather I have been preoccupied with other things.)
1. Last month I spoke of keeping a gratitude journal or at least taking time to think of 3 things for which you are grateful each day. I just posted that newsletter when I read reference to a new study showing that people who are grateful, are happier than most. Neat timing!
2. An Anti-Aging action for retaining, improving memory. The journal of Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine recently published a study by UCLA researchers that showed 8 ounces of Pomegranate juice improved memory. I found this interesting since Pomegranate juice has also been show to clear plaque from arteries. Here is part of the ABSTRACT of the memory study:
"We performed a preliminary, placebo-controlled randomized trial of pomegranate juice in older subjects with age-associated memory complaints using memory testing and functional brain activation (fMRI) as outcome measures. Thirty-two subjects (28 completers) were randomly assigned to drink 8 ounces of either pomegranate juice or a flavor-matched placebo drink for 4 weeks. Subjects received memory testing, fMRI scans during cognitive tasks, and blood draws for peripheral biomarkers before and after the intervention. Investigators and subjects were all blind to group membership. After 4 weeks, only the pomegranate group showed a significant improvement in the Buschke selective reminding test of verbal memory and a significant increase in plasma trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and urolithin A-glucuronide. Furthermore, compared to the placebo group, the pomegranate group had increased fMRI activity during verbal and visual memory tasks. While preliminary, these results suggest a role for pomegranate juice in augmenting memory function through task-related increases in functional brain activity."
NOW If you plan to add pomegranate juice to your diet, and you do not have access to the fruit itself, do consider buying one of the organic brands AND remember is that Pomegranate juice, like other fruit juices contains sugar so if you are diabetic you need to plan accordingly.
Change in your social placement.One of the biggest changes as we age is our changing placement in society. At 40, 50 and even 60 there are a lot of people 'ahead of us' - people who are 15 or 20 years older. Their presence in the population is something that gives a certain psychological security to the adult years. (Most adults do not recognize this until it begins to disappear.)
And it does disappear. As we move through our 60s and into our 70s, things change. For most of us, our grandparents and their peers are gone. Old Mr. Noto is no longe in his shop. Nor is the old Sweedish couple who worked the large garden when you were a child. Many from your parents generation - Aunts, Uncles, older persons at work are dead and for many in your seventies a number of your peers, your friends are no longer living.
One day, you suddenly realize that you are now in the 'oldest generation'. There is NO one or almost no one 'ahead of you'. There is no one around you who shares the same memories. No one who rode in a Model T Ford. No one who lived through WWI or even WWII. No one who remembers when the first atomic bomb was dropped. And as the years pass you realize that none of your acquaintances ever used a dial up telephone or a Tandy computer. It is this that can make for lonlieness in old age. No one shares your memories...... AND if no one really cares to hear your memories, you feel left with only part of your persona.
This is a major challenge as we age. But there are solutions. In some families, in some businesses there is an interest and attempt to hear 'lived history'. Adult children will ask their parents, 'What as it like for you when I as 10...or 15...or when I first started work?' An out of work son might ask a parent, "Were you ever out of work?" "What was it like?". In some businesses, there are meeting times for keeping 'our history' alive. Managers ask their oldest employees to share stories about events AND especially about people who were there when they first came on board.
Of course to be able to ask such questions, you need a certain amount of self confidence. If you do not have that, you can not bear to hear such story because you will be making comparisons.... and that never feels good. But to hear the stories, to 'receive' them is life giving - both for the story teller and for those who really listen. Stories give us a 'sense of place'.
So do it yourself....Yes, this idea of reviewing your story and making it visible is something I spoke of last month. But last month was oriented towards getting good care from others. This month, it is about the personal integration that is part of the second stage of Elderhood. (And if you are not there yet, just tuck the idea into your memory bank so you can pull it forward when you are ready for it.)
If you have no one wanting to hear your stories, write them! After my mother died, I found a few pages. In her cramped script was an event from her childhood that I had never heard of. Simple, authentic narration. I treasure those pages. And now I realize just how inventive she was. Writing those experiences provided a way for her to integrate her WHOLE self. .
Those memories resurrected parts of herself that no one else could see. I was impressed. Those pages acted as a way to 'keep herself whole' when those around her acted as though she was only the part they could see now.
If you are near your eighties or nineties, I hope that you will find ways to rescue and express your early memories. Write, put together a collage of pictures, put the stories on tape, a video or blog. It will do YOU the world of good. It will make it possible for you to undergo the integration that is typical in Elderhood. And that is an accomplishment. Then, too,someday someone coming after will realize what a treasure you left. Because in leaving your story.... your story from your point of view, you will have given your very self.
Final noteIf there is a particular topic you would like me to research and/or cover in a future newsletter, do let me know. Just hit 'reply'. Type your message and send it. I really want this newsletter to address YOUR interests.
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