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Ageless Aging - June 2013 comes early
May 25, 2013

This June newsletter is coming in May because I am heading off to a meeting of the APA (American Philosophical Association) where I am giving a paper arguing for greater inclusion of professors emertia in the work of the association. .

My argument goes like this. When I started out in philosophy, there was an exclusion of women. Then in the 1980s I experience the exclusion of those labeled 'disabled'. Both of those have moderated over the years. But now at age 77, I am experiencing the greatest exclusion of all - that of professors emerita.....and this from an organization dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom an attribute that the neurosciences claim increases with age. .

It should be great fun - a bit of academic 'rabble rousing'. My hope is that the paper will make a difference. We shall see. Of course I am lucky. The Institute of Aging and Policy at Mt. St. Mary College offers me a place to work and some practical support But not all older philosophers have such and I want the APA to be more welcoming.


Because of this meeting, I may not be answering email in early June - so this newsletter goes out a bit early.

Age appropriate?

Maybe I could take off from that paper and offer a few thoughts . Is there anything you do not do because you feel maybe you should not 'at your age'? If so, I hope you will reconsider. We are never too old.


I note that one of our area motels has started Saturday night dances. An 'older man' I met some months ago when we were both dealing with cancer told me that he goes all the time - wears a cap to cover his chemo bald head. He dances and enjoys himself immensely. Age has nothing to do with having fun. Hope you will remember that the next time your child or grandchild rolls his or her eyes when you announce you are going to do something usually reserved for the young.

Food, robins and olive leaf

Food - food prices are rising far faster than the rate of inflation. If you live in the northen hemisphere (coming into summer) I hope you will consider a small garden - even if it is lettuce or arugala in a flower pot on the windowsill. I'm serious. You will have some organic food and plants have been shown to reduce stress and improve the air quality of a room. Think about it. I usually put some dirt in cardboard boxes and do greens and tomatoes on the deck. No, I do not fuss and I use no pesticides. Picking fresh basil and just enough greens for my dinner feels very good.

Robins. This year a robin built her nest in my rhodendrum - just before I trimmed the top (so her nest is now visible). What amazes me is how much time she spends away from her brood. (I was never around enough to notice this before) They sit there - all beak and head. I keep waiting for the first flight. Must be going to be soon - they are getting so large that they barely fit in the nest. We had heavy cold rain yesterday and back mother came, sitting on top of the whole brood -covering then all. It is wonderful to have the time to notice this family. I read somewhere that bird watching is a common pursuit of the old - maybe because we have enough time.

. An update on olive leaf. I have written about olive leaf as being an anti-viral. It was even used in a study of those with HIV infection. (It reduced their viral count.) Some people use olive leaf during flu season. It has also been shown to stimulate bone density so some with osteopenia or osteoporosis now take olive leaf. BUT what many people do not know is that olive leaf can reduce blood pressure so if you take medication for high blood pressure AND are using olive leaf for any reason, do keep track of your blood pressure readings. It could be that your medication dosage would need to be changed.

Thank goodness

Has anyone in your town or city noticed that if all the people age 60 and over were to disappear, most of the service organizations would collapse? Meals on wheels, Cancer volunteers, Habitat for humanity, those working in homeless shelter, charitable thrift shops....the list goes on. Never ever question the value of old people in a community. Besides the volunteering, they are often the persons who smile and say, thank you to clerks. And without the old much of the economy would collapse - half the cardiologists in my town would go out of business - to say nothing of the taxi companies.

Thank goodness for seniors. Our needs provide jobs. Our volunteering keeps many organizations going. And our presence in the life of grandchildren and other young folks offers the gift of attention - something that working parents often can not give. .

So if you are getting old or are already old, remember that your attention, your words of kindness or praise help make it a better place to live. And don't forget to give yourself some of that kindness and praise.

Until next month -


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