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



Come on, Eileen

Some of my friends and I were just lamenting the fact that Eileen Fisher seems to be attempting to change her demographic.  We can tell because that gorgeous model with the long gray hair is no longer featured — at least not as prominently.  We miss her!Eileen-FisherEileen, are you listening…?

Sad news… but also a contest!

I was saddened to hear of Nadine Gordimer’s passing. My sister introduced me to her writing. I think Nadine would have liked that. Her obituary points out what a really exceptional person she was, in addition to being a wonderful writer.

And while I’m on sad news, how about the loss of Elaine Stritch? Another person it would have been fun to know. Actually, I’m not sure “fun” is the first thing that comes to mind where Nadine is concerned.

Viewer contest! Can you identify which is Nadine and which is Elaine? Maybe you’ll win a trip to a beachfront library!

Did somebody say beachfront library…? (This from the ladies of my Maine community library — thank you, ladies!)

Nadine GordimerElaine Stritch

For the meh list

Land Ho! I saw it, and aside from some beautiful swimming, it was a dud. In my modest opinion.

RedHookPoolOk, admit it, you thought that was Iceland. Actually, I’ve been enjoying swimming laps in the Red Hook pool in Brooklyn so much that I went in search of an outdoor pool in the Cold Spring area. And I found one. Except it has special activities and hours for the 50+ crowd. Ok, I’m 50. I guess I’m just not ready for special treatment. Which makes me wonder, how, really, do we define Old?

Comments welcome!

And while I’m on the subject of comments, if you received an email alert about this post, please send me a quick email at I know this is hard to believe, but I’m still facing some tech challenges…..


No, no, not that kind of wrinkles. I went to see the movie Wrinkles last night at the IFC in NYC. It’s an animated film from Galicia, Spain about a man whose son places him in a senior home as he starts to show signs of Alzheimer’s. OK, it’s not the cheeriest film, but there are a few chuckles to be had here and there. And, the recurring visual metaphor of the fog rolling in and rolling out — apt for both Galicia and Alzheimer’s — is lovely.

But here’s what really surprised me. The theater was full!

It’s a good summer for feature films about aging. I’m looking forward now to catching Land Ho! the buddy film about two older men traveling through Iceland. I had my own buddy adventure in Iceland last summer when a colleague and I went there together for a conference. The review mentions how the film makes you think that any number of exciting things can happen in Iceland – the hot springs, geysers, and celebrity sightings can make for quite a trip. And it’s all true! On our first day, we made the de rigueur Blue Lagoon stop, and who did we meet? Katie Couric and her then-fiance (now husband), John! What’s more, they befriended us! And, the conference was interesting and all, but it was hard to keep us from hanging out with the entire Game of Thrones cast and crew who were in residence at the Hilton with us. The Hilton! Celebrities aside, things really are different up there and it’s a trip worth making. The lament of the glacier as chunks of it break off and float away is haunting. The light is crazy. And the rain, which only fell once while we were there, is shockingly icy. Rent a car, bring some good shoes, and get ready for an altering experience. Trust me, once you’ve been there, the whole troll thing starts to make sense.

Anyhoo, back to the topic at hand: Alzheimer’s. There was yet another article in the paper today about exercise and Alzheimer’s. This one states that moderate aerobic exercise can delay the onset of symptoms and slow their progress. The research confirms what the Alzheimer’s Association and other related institutions have been saying for years: get out and move – it’s good for your brain!

I suggest you run to the IFC.


Allez France!!!

It’s officially summer! Jane Brody wrote yesterday about the risks of extreme heat to older adults, which is serious business.

Where less serious business is concerned, I have been catching up on some of my favorite summery movies, and I recommend them all! That is, of course, if you can squeeze them in what with the World Cup, Wimbledon, the US Open, and, oh yes, work, family, and other sundries…

And speaking of competition, here’s one for my readers: match the movie with the image!! The first one to get it right wins a trip to the Riviera!!!!!!  Except not.

To Catch a Thief

Rear Window

Summer of Sam

Annie Hall

American Graffiti

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


The Great Gatsby

Annie-Hall1Summer of SamF-CTR56770Rear Window - James Stewart and Grace KellyjawsGreat GatsbyGrace-Kelly-in-To-Catch-a-Thief-grace-kelly-30064076-1280-720american-graffiti-08-g1


No, no, I don’t have one, I just signed up to follow my first one, Leanne Shapton’s.

Leanne Shapton — you know, the Canadian Olympic swimmer-artist-writer? I already have her Native Trees of Canada, a beautiful and meditative collection of watercolors, and just ordered Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry, which, despite being basically a fictional auction catalog was apparently optioned to be a movie starring Brad Pitt and Nathalie Portman.

Now I can’t wait for her Women in Clothes, due out next year, which, if the NY Times Mother’s Day piece she contributed is any indication, should be really good, too. The NYT piece, Mom Genes, had women picking out items of clothing they now wear, which had belonged to their mothers, and writing about it.

Anyway, Leanne looks like she’s much too young, for a blog on aging, but I think she’s neat. An expression, which, of course, ages me.

And for all my followers who are dads – Tom, Dad, you know who you are – happy father’s day.

Leanna Shapton