The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it.[more inside]
“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
The Cherry Cordial Revolution Do I help Grandma? Or do I follow the (eavesdropped) rules and refuse to buy Grandma her cherries?
The 1998 hit "The Way" by Fastball was based on the real-life disappearance of an elderly couple in Texas: The song’s lyrics -- about an elderly couple who disappears from their home, finding immortality on the road -- seem sweet. That is, until "shadows" on the highway are referenced. The promises that the unnamed couple will never go home, grow old, or be hungry again seem a great deal less reassuring. Perhaps, the listener thinks, the "immortality" they found on the open road is purely allegorical.
Post-operative Check: "It's okay that you don't remember me. My name is Shara, and I'm part of the surgical team. I'm checking to see how you're doing after your surgery. Do you know where you are right now?" [more inside]
John Banvard, 95, Gerard Nadeau, 67, were married Thursday at a Chula Vista, CA Veterans' senior living facility. Mr. Banvard, a World War II vet, and Mr. Nadeau, a Vietnam vet, have been together for 20 years, and were married at the facility despite the opposition of some residents. In response to the opposition, Mr. Nadeau said, "Oh, that's their problem not mine, but you know what this will do, open the door for other people." [more inside]
Oh Sweet Lorraine After his wife of 73 years died in April, Fred Stobaugh was heartbroken. But the Peoria, Ill., widower was still able to speak to her – in song.
Of the 10,000 therapy animals currently in use in the United States, only 14 are llamas. Jen Osborne tells the story llama therapy in photos for Colors: Beat Your Intimacy Issues. (via @pourmecoffee)
Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People (pdf, 574 kb) - "By 2050, one-fifth of the total U.S. population will be elderly (that is, 65 or older), up from 12 percent in 2000 and 8 percent in 1950. The number of people age 85 or older will grow the fastest over the next few decades, constituting 4 percent of the population by 2050, or 10 times its share in 1950. That growth in the elderly population will bring a corresponding surge in the number of elderly people with functional and cognitive limitations."
‘People Think It’s Over’ Spared Death, Aging People With H.I.V. Struggle to Live
The Washington Spirit are a professional soccer team in the National Women's Soccer League. Like many of the lower earning professional sports, they have to be creative about costs, and often arrange host families for their players. Instead of host parents, Diana Matheson and Robyn Gayle got host grandparents. Several hundred of them.
Your parent's nursing home bill may soon be your responsibility. In response to the US recession and aging population, long-dormant state filial responsibility laws are being upheld. Use this handy chart to find your state laws. [more inside]
In Korea, Changes in Society and Family Dynamics Drive Rise in Elderly Suicides - "The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation's runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries." [more inside]
What will your last ten years look like? A powerful PSA that will get you off your couch. Another health-related PSA that will make you cry.
Beautiful Georgia, my adopted state as I finish life’s journey ... my last year ever to vote in a presidential election. I wanted to feel part of this great privilege, wanted to again walk out of my precinct tapping my Georgia Peach voter sticker. Even if the day were dark, gloomy and cold, the sun would be shining. One Georgia nonagenarian's quest for voter ID
I am 75, so we share a camaraderie of sorts as we compare notes on our aches and pains and medication regimens. They know I understand what it's like to be getting old and facing illness and death. They also know I have no idea what it's like to deal with these things behind bars. Their letters tell of lives filled with daily indignities—trying to heave an aging body into the top bunk, struggling to move fast enough to get a food tray filled or get a book at the library, fighting off younger troublemakers. But worst of all is the pervasive nothingness and isolation. photos.
“Old age isn’t a battle, it’s a massacre.” A son’s plea to let his mother go.
At the age of 49 years and 4 months, Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies is the oldest baseball player to ever earn a regular roster spot on a Major League Baseball team (Satchel Paige pitched 3 innings in a 1965 game at age 59 as a publicity stunt). There are many current players, including some of the game's best, who weren't even born when Moyer made his MLB debut, making Moyer's feat all the more impressive.
"I draw with a Biro pen, i paint with anything. I often run into the sea." Mark Powell draws old people on old envelopes with a plain old ballpoint pen. [more inside]
"One thing about life in New York: wherever you are, the neighborhood is always changing. An Italian enclave becomes Senegalese; a historically African-American corridor becomes a magnet for white professionals. The accents and rhythms shift; the aromas become spicy or vegetal. The transition is sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy. But there is a sense of loss among the people left behind, wondering what happened to the neighborhood they once thought of as their own." For Sophia Goldberg (98), Holocaust survivor, change has meant the end of a way of life.
"'The dog lives in the present,' Ms. LeVine said. 'We don’t. Our body is fragile. We’re thinking about the past and what we could have done differently; we’re thinking about the future and what is going to happen to us.'" Senior Dogs Across America by Nancy LeVine (via) [more inside]
Not just the young: Photographer Isa Leshko shows us elderly animals (and a few more on her own site).
Marlow and Fran Cowan, an elderly couple who'd been married for 62 years, wandered through the atrium of the Mayo Clinic in 2008 and became accidental YouTube celebrities. Early this year they returned to the clinic for an encore performance (6 parts). The Cowans tell their story here.
The Grand Generation (1993 - 27 min.) is a warm and inspiring portrait of six elderly Americans whose vigor belies their age. The film is a cogent reminder that most of us probably don't hear nearly enough of what the very oldest among us have to say. [more inside]
Once-revered S.C. lawmaker freezes to death alone. Maybe it's OK to get in someone's business and force them to get help? A terrible way to go out.
The Teenager Audio Test "Clicking the play button below will produce a tone that is generally only heard by people under the age of 25. It has been used as a deterrent device to keep teenagers from loitering in malls and shops, and sounds similar to a buzzing mosquito. The elderly and people with hearing damage often cannot hear the sound." SLTO (Single Link The Oatmeal post) [more inside]
The Wolffs At The Door An interesting story about a couple of elderly grifters in Massachusetts. The Boston Sunday Globe published a follow-up article today. [more inside]
The lives of transplanted elders are largely untracked, unknown outside their ethnic or religious communities. “They never win spelling bees,” said Judith Treas, a sociology professor and demographer at the University of California, Irvine. “They do not join criminal gangs. And nobody worries about Americans losing jobs to Korean grandmothers.”Older Immigrants, Invisible and With ‘Nobody to Talk To’ in the New York Times. Elderly immigrants, the US's fastest growing immigrant population [pdf], have been hit hard by the rough economic climate. Changes in welfare law in the mid-90s made it harder for immigrants to receive benefits. Long resisting the trend towards nursing homes, elderly immigrants have enrolled in greater numbers in recent years.
Young@Heart. What started as a 2006 British television documentary and became an audience favorite at the Los Angeles and Sundance film festivals in 2007 and 2008 opens across the United States this weekand will soon open in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Australia. The opening sequence showing Eileen Hall , then 92 , singing the 1982 hit from punk-rock group The Clash provided the inspiration for director Stephen Walker when he first saw the group on stage in London in 2005. Besides giving new meaning to lyrics from popular hits, the film is comedic and poignant as it explores friendship, old age and death.
"There's a place that sells these motorhomes on the road to Newton Abbot, and one day we were going past and James said: 'Let's buy one of those. Then we can go wherever we like, whenever we like, and no one will be able to stop us.' "
Britain's oldest honeymooners (combined age 178) hit the road - with a love story that'll warm your heart.
Britain's oldest honeymooners (combined age 178) hit the road - with a love story that'll warm your heart.
"We all leave something behind, but it looked like Olive had left nothing." Olive Archer passed away after five years in a care home, five years that passed without a visitor. Concerned that Olive was an Eleanor Rigby the minister prepared for her service by making an appeal to the public to find if anyone remembered Olive. Friends were found. Sadly, she is not alone. Maybe she needed SagaZone.
Almost 100 audio segments of David Greenberger's The Duplex Planet are available on PRX (site requires registration -- Bugmenot). More about The Duplex Planet and a lengthy audio clip are available here. Interviews with David Greenberger here (transcript only), here (second one down, click the headphones) and here (~10 MB mp3 file, 45 minutes long). The infrequently updated Duplex Planet blog is here. Previous Metafilter post on Duplex Planet here.
This series of photographs, Iconic Moments of the 20th Century, was enacted by pensioners in a home for the elderly in Glasgow. Aged volunteers pose in their everyday outfits and in the vicinity of their Home to re-create scenes from well-known historic photographs
Salvador and Mabel Mangano, the owners of St. Rita’s nursing home in St. Bernard Parish, where 35 patients drowned in Hurricane Katrina’s flood waters, were found not guilty of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm charges tonight by a six-member jury. Read their story and decide for yourself if they're guilty.
The elderly are staying sexually active [WaPo], and this is a good thing. Although there is a sex-education gap among America's seniors. Play it safe, old folks!
It's All Because. Have you ever had those days where you're wondering just why everything about your life is feeling like it's going down the toilet bowl? Oded Gross knows, and he will tell you all about it. In a song.
More companion robots! Another in a series (see PARO, previously) of healing toys for Japan's rapidly greying population, Yumel the Healing Partner from Tomy. Like some kind of unholy cross between a Cabbage Patch Kid and Teddy Ruxpin, you can see a promotional clip of the doll here, or read a list of translated stock phrases (thank you Harper's). Also, an interesting article from the Economist about WHY the Japanese love robots so. (Hint: it's Shinto)
There are about 250,000 centenarians alive today, including several hundred "supercentarians" aged 110+ years. Jerry Friedman, founder of Earth's Elders Foundation, has spent the past four years on a landmark project to introduce the world to the oldest people on earth. And in a similar endeavor, photographer Mark Story has been capturing portraits and stories of people from around the globe who are Living in Three Centuries.
Old lady versus bobcat. Old lady wins. Don't mess with Maine's rural elderly-- Mildred's a badass.
I saw Assisted Living and asked, what if it was my grandmother on screen? It's funny, but troubling. Old people think they are talking to heaven on the telephone, and then there's the monkey scene. The director says, "if I made a porn movie and inserted images from the Alzheimer's ward into the film, it would be morally terrible." Some critics liked it, some didn't. Maybe bodily decrepitude isn't wisdom.
An Octogenarian's Journal Here's what we have to look forward to, if we're lucky.
World's most stubborn man dies. Fell in yard, insisted he was fine.
Would you like fries with that? Saturday's Washington Post has a touching story about a 58-year-old grandmother who thought she'd be retired by now, but instead finds herself popping four different prescription medications at 4 in the morning while beginning her shift at Hardee's. As a journalist, I found this incredibly detailed story an example of newspaper writing at its rare best.
California senior driver pressed the accelerator instead of the brakes ? For 2nd time in 2 months a 85-something driver hits accelerator instead of breaks, this time there where no deaths only 4 serious injuries ? What can be done about this ? Are you scared to walk down the street, afraid a senior driver might kill you ?
Lock 'im up. For a long time. That's what I say you do with anyone who commits multiple counts of vehicular manslaughter (in this case, ten). But will this driver even be charged, or will we just let him be? After all, he's 86. We, as a society, can't make this nice old man spend the rest of his days in prison, if convicted? Sure, the public discussion regarding his age in this horrible tragedy centers around the right of older people to continue driving without testing their ability and senses, but I want to focus on this: What's the unwritten age limit on convicting and sentencing someone like Russell Weller?
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