Something to keep you up at night….

The NYT ran a piece in their New Old Age blog citing the correlation between anxiety medication, sleep aids and Alzheimer’s. (Read it before you panic.) But here’s the thing, anxiety and insomnia are also correlated to dementia. So, damned if you, damned if you don’t…

On the upside, even more research (see More Magazine, which mysteriously appears at my house, I have no idea who subscribed me, but I love it!) points to the positive effects of aerobic exercise and spending time with those you love on brain health.

And guess what? Exercise and social support also reduce anxiety and decrease sleeplessness!

Or, you could take a page out of A. E. Hotchner’s book, O.J. in the morning, G&T at night. Hotchner, bon vivant tennis player whose loved ones included Hemingway and Paul Newman amongst others, offers lots of fun tips for living well into old age.

He is 98.

Separated at birth?

There was a fun and interesting piece in the Times the other day about Leonard Cohen’s taking up smoking again upon his 80th birthday.  It posed a good question: when can we stop worrying about the future to just enjoy the present — and indulge is some poor health choices?  It’s really about the freedom we are accorded by a certain age.

And here’s another good question: were Al Pacino and Leonard Cohen separated at birth?




From a reader

Here’s a nice post from an Aging Review regular. It’s about sisters, and moms, and books — some of my favorite topics.

“I was thinking about you in Germantown this weekend. I was reading a book by Nora Ephron ‘I Feel Bad About my Neck’. Nina bought this for our mom a couple of years ago and I’m not even sure if she ever read it – I hope she did. It’s a wonderful series of short essays on being a woman and aging and life. Have you read it? Everyone should – love Nora Ephron. She was amazing.

The book made me think of your blog and the people you write about and pay tribute to. I love Nora Ephron’s open, non-sugar coated way of looking at life.

I was inspired to read it when I heard Delia Ephron on the radio – seems to run in the family!!”

As a matter of fact, Amy, I have read, and so has Alexandra, my sister.

"Love, Loss, And What I Wore"  500th Performance CelebrationA cute picture of the Ephron sisters, no?  And for anyone interested in hearing more about Nora, there was a lovely tribute piece in the New Yorker.



“Le ciel rit aux larmes….

…. c’est pour ca qu’il pleut. Les comiques, messieurs dames, sont pres du bon Dieu.” (Nicole Croisille circa 1969-1972??? If anyone can find an exact date, they will win a trip to Paris. Sacrebleu!) The quote is from a popular French song that was lamenting the loss of the great comics — Fernandel, Bourville, etc.

On a related note, for a little something less-well documented on Joan Rivers, please click here:

Joan_Rivers_-_1967 Cute, right?

And now, for a little pick-me up, move on to Leonard Lopate’s interview of John Waters, who is alive and well and  enjoying a moment of glory at Lincoln Center, which is celebrating his 50-year oeuvre.

John Waters

Golden oldies

I saw Steely Dan last night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center – such a treat! I am not a die-hard fan but I sure was surrounded by them.  Despite an average age of about 62, every single person there (but me) knew every single lyric, and then some.

My boyfriend and I saw Donald Fagen on Madison Avenue last year. He looked like a bum; not so on stage. So charming! And the band was just great.


(An ode to resilience…?)


The dog days

dog daysThe dog days of summer are here. In more ways than one, it turns out.

The guest blogger of The Dish has a lovely piece on the crucial role dogs can play in nurturing the essential self of persons affected by dementia. It’s a very touching article with a wonderful video link.

I know Minnie brings out my best self.

On a related note, I recommend Dog Day Afternoon, the Al Pacino classic that was filmed in my old neighborhood of Windsor Terrace, in Brooklyn.

The first reader to name three other films shot in Windsor Terrace wins a beagle!

(Don’t you wish that were true?)

Going postal

As much as it pains me to acknowledge it, it’s late summer. Thankfully, we have Alex Katz to help us through.late summer flowersThis is from the catalog of an exhibit I had the pleasure to visit at the Colby College Museum of Art, which houses a great collection of his work

And, we have E-bikes to keep us moving. Apparently, they are all the rage in Europe, especially in Germany where the postal service has instituted their use to support its aging employees.

The other M word

“How old do you have to be to be one of your clients?’

“Why do you ask, Steve?”

“Well, I’m only fifty but I’m not sleeping well, I forget things, I’m worried about stuff…”

The women in the room chimed in: MANOPAUSE!

I guess andropause is the actual term, but whatever you call it, it seems to be a time of life, usually between the ages of 40 and 65, wherein men experience their own version of The Change. There are physical symptoms (i.e. loss of energy, weight gain, sleeplessness) and psycho-emotional ramifications, like re-thinking the big issues. Manopause seems to be a time when men take pause – to think about values, mortality, how they want to spend the rest of their days, and other weighty subjects, most often between 2 and 5 am, unfortunately. The lack of sleep may explain the forgetfulness, but as any menopausal woman will tell you, being a little vague on the details may not just be a result of fatigue.

Anyhoo, the topic is receiving a lot of attention, notably in Time Magazine and the Huffington Post. The Time article highlights the gazillion-dollar testosterone industry (nothing new to the readers of this blog, thank you very much) but both also include real-life stories of men experiencing age-induced hormonal changes, with consequences to relationships, sense of self and productivity. And apparently, manopause is more common than previously acknowledged.

Anyone who is interested in a more traditional perspective might want to check out Henry Jaglom’s, The M Word. Based on Jaglom’s personal experiences of the women in his life, the film mixes fiction with real-life. Reviews have singled out non-actor Jane Van Voorhis for her naturalistic and intellectual contributions.

Jane Van Voorhis


Road trip!!

I’m heading out momentarily with my daughter on what we figure will be an eight-to-ten hour drive down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.scion It’s a mother-daughter adventure! But, I already know how how sore my knees will be when we finally get there. That’s a sign of my own aging: sore knees. And tired eyes. Oh, and the inability to straighten up. And… oh, never mind.

That being said, I’m not quite ready for a nursing home, the topic of today’s post. Jane Brody recently wrote a helpful piece about nursing homes in the NY Times. For once, there was no guilt attached to the subject, which happens to be one of my pet peeves. As research shows, most of us – worldwide – would prefer to keep our older adults home until the end. It just so happens, however, that we don’t all have the resources, emotional, physical, and financial, much less the space, needed for such an arrangement. So why make us feel guilty when we can’t make it a reality?

There are good, caring, nursing homes out there. Brody’s piece cites a resource, of which there are many, that can help you find the right one. The article itself provides manageable tips, such as tour them often and at different times of day, it’s a good place to start.

Probably most importantly, don’t wait until the last minute to get the process started.

We’re all packed up and ready to go. subaru