May 7th, 2014:


We’re all getting older—surprise, surprise! I’m on the fringe of the Baby Boomers generation, and we definitely don’t welcome wrinkles and loss of mobility. Advertising proves my point, especially in LA, the entertainment capital of the world where everyone is “supposed to be” young. There are constant new beauty tricks and products on TV or in books and magazines. Plastic surgeons get very wealthy here, not to mention those specializing in surgery to take off the fat.

I think I’ve made my peace with extra pounds and the knowledge that I’ll never run a marathon and may never play tennis again. I won’t give up swimming, the easiest way to stay in some sort of shape. I have some vanity left—-Eyebrows must be enhanced first thing in the morning (one of the first beauty tricks I learned as a teenager for my very light and sparse eyebrows—an Irish trait?). If I’m going out, I also apply lipstick: I don’t have Scarlett Johansson’s plump colorful lips.

On Sunday evenings, probably the best night on TV, I always make sure to watch “60 Minutes,” the long-running news-oriented CBS show. This past Sunday, reporter Lesley Stahl told me all about what to expect in old age. It was a positive report for the most part, with some revelations I wasn’t expecting.

In Southern California scientists/doctors have been doing studies of folks who are now in their 90s and still healthy. They are also compiling figures and facts about the negatives in growing old. First, the bad news. The risk of dementia doubles every year from the age of 65 on. There’s no accurate test to determine Alzheimer’s or dementia, although they can more accurately test for it after death. Many seniors are donating their brains for research, so maybe there will eventually be a test. In the meantime, those whose memory is failing are well aware of their challenges.

There’s plenty of good news. The moderate use of alcohol, for instance, is good for you, and it doesn’t have to be only red or only white wine, for instance. I know I enjoy my “attitude adjustment” hour in the evening. Exercise is good, but it shouldn’t be strenuous. Apparently 45 minutes total during various times of the day is just fine.

Sex, as many may imagine, is good for you, as well as other friendly human interactions. Socialize to keep your spirits up! Vitamins make no difference, according to the study. What a savings that will be! And coffee is good for you. What surprised me the most was that extra weight was a plus as you get closer to 90; it wasn’t advantageous to be skinny. When you’re younger, low blood pressure is best, according to doctors. As you age, higher blood pressure is more desirable, and it gives you a lower risk of dementia!

Although they didn’t say it specifically, I gathered that health had a great deal to do with being happy. That’s what I firmly believe. And not having to agonize over what to eat or drink makes things so much more pleasant. Here’s to wine and chocolate!

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