Can one man change our perception of what old age looks like? If that man is Ari Seth Cohen, the answer is a spirited YES.
He is the creative genius behind the successful Advanced Style franchise, which includes a blog, book and documentary film. For those not familiar with Advanced Style, Mr. Cohen photographs older women (and a few men) on the streets of New York who have a wildly creative and highly personalized sense of style. These older adults elevate the daily act of getting dressed to an art form.
I highly recommend watching the documentary film. It adds a depth to the lives of these women as they celebrate their love of fashion, their newfound fame, and the realities of aging. Advanced Style is #6 on my list of what will be 100 Reasons Why Now is the Best Time to Grow Old. Mr. Cohen is changing the world’s perception of what old age can look like.
Photo Credit: Advanced Style
The Artist-in-Residence program at Judson Manor retirement community in Cleveland Ohio is #5 on what will be my list of “100 Reasons Why Now is The Best Time to Grow Old.” It’s a brilliant idea! Three college students from the Cleveland Institute of Music live rent-free at Judson Manor and in exchange the students provide concerts for the residents. But, as you’ll see in this 2-minute video, the residents and students gain much more from their multi-generational living situation. Talk about a win-win situation.
Alzheimer’s, millennials, comedy and Seth Rogen…words you don’t expect to read in the same sentence.
That is unless you are reading about Hilarity for Charity founded by Seth Rogen, and his wife Laura Miller Rogen. Both of Ms. Rogen’s maternal grandparents died from Alzheimer’s and her mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at 55.
Hilarity for Charity educates millennials about Alzheimer’s and generates funds for research, support and care of people with the disease. Educating millennials is brilliant. Today’s millennials comprise the future researchers, scientist, innovators, political leaders and doctors entrusted to fight this disease.
#3 on my list of “100 Reasons Why Now is the Best Time to Grow Old” is The Caregiver’s Guide from O, The Oprah Magazine.
It’s a running joke between my husband and I that Oprah has to say something before I believe it to be true. My husband swears that he tells me something enlightening, only to be met by my blank stare. Then weeks or months pass, and I hear Oprah say the same enlightening thing, and I swear by her life-changing words.
So it’s no surprise that I was overjoyed to see The Caregiver’s Guide in the November issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. This 17-page guide is a great starter kit for anyone entering the confusing world of caregiving. It’s a mix of facts, resources, and stories from caregivers, and experts in the field. And in true Oprah fashion, the guide has moments of humor and humanity making it as welcoming as the subject of caregiving can be.
I hope Oprah continues to address the critical role of caregiving. Because if Oprah acknowledges something, it deserves your undivided attention, just ask my husband.
Stanford Center on Longevity is #2 on my list of “100 Reasons Why Now is the Best Time to Grow Old.”
The brightest entrepreneurs have attended Stanford University. From the founders of Google, Yahoo!, and Charles Schwab, to Bradford Parkinson (driving force behind the global position system known as GPS), Stanford fosters visionary thinkers.
Invention doesn’t stop with these famous names. This prestigious institution is home to the Stanford Center on Longevity whose mission is to “redesign long life” in order to live the best life physically, mentally, and financially. The Center works with university scientist, professors, and postdoctoral scholars to bring their discoveries to the public. This short six-minute video provides a glimpse at some of the work being done at the Center.
The center also hosts a Design Challenge, asking college students from around the world to design products addressing issues faced by older adults. Last year’s inaugural Design Challenge sought ways to maximize independence for people with cognitive impairments. Read about the winners in my post, Young Minds Tackle Challenges of Alzheimer’s.
The 2014-2015 Design Challenge just kicked off and is themed, “Enabling personal mobility across the lifespan.” Submissions are due by December 5, 2014. I can’t wait to see what ideas arise from this year’s Design Challenge and what other innovations come from the Stanford Center on Longevity.
What better way to understand the future than to take a lesson from the poet William Wordsworth who was born in 1770 and lived until the age of 80, this at a time when the average life expectancy was closer to 40. Wordsworth wisely proclaimed:
Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.”
Nobody understands the future of old age better than caregivers — the unpaid daughters, sons, spouses, relatives and friends — who help care for someone in need. And there are a lot of us caregivers out there. According to a 2013 Pew Research study, 4 in 10 adults (39% of the U.S. adult population) are caring for a loved one with significant health issues. The knowledge caregivers’ gain prepares us for our journey to old age, in a way that no book, lecture or advisor could ever do.
And, many caregivers are seeking a public forum to improve issues related to old age by sharing their stories via books, blogs and documentary films. They are inventing products to solve problems encountered with aging. They are participating in fundraisers to fight disease such as Alzheimer’s. And, most importantly, they are bringing old age to the public consciousness to improve this stage of life.
In upcoming posts, I will feature many of these caregivers and their contributions in this series “100 Reasons Why Now Is The Best Time To Grow Old.”
When I wrote my last blog post on July 4th, I honestly wasn’t sure if I would return. I was disillusioned and wondered if my words, ideas and tips were really helping anyone. Or, was I championing a cause whose time had not yet arrived? Or, worse yet, was I passionate about a subject whose time may never arrive.
And, to share my very private feelings, I was also growing weary of seeing story, after story, of young bloggers — one as young as eleven and another as old as eighteen (heaven forbid) — who reached the highest peak of blogger fame with hundreds of thousands of followers, book deals, and brand partnerships. I know writing about fashion, food or anything considered fun, will attract a wider audience than writing about a topic most people prefer not to think about or face with trepidation at best.
Then I saw the above quote from Cyril Connolly on Susan Cain’s Twitter feed: “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than write for the public and have no self.” I care about what I care about. It hasn’t changed since I started this blog. It’s so simple; I want to make life better for older adults. I can’t cure the ills that afflict us age we age or bring back memories that have faded. But, I can highlight what’s good about growing old today: from technological innovations, to research, emotional connections and amazing role models. There are a lot of great reasons why now is the best time to be an older adult.
So I’m making a commitment to myself and those who follow my blog. I’m going to post the “100 Reasons Why Now is the Best Time to Grow Old!” I believe there are at least 100 reasons. Hope you follow along and feel free to share your ideas with me.
I’m so excited to be back!