National Coming of Age Newsletter
July 2019
Inspiring People 50+ to Live With
Passion and Purpose
Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, is tireless in her consciousness-raising. At a recent event in Minneapolis, co-presented by Next Avenue and Ecumen, a nonprofit specializing in senior housing services, Applewhite talked about how her view of aging has evolved over the past 15 years. Read more...

Paula Usrey of says: "As is often said, aging isn’t the problem. It’s ageism -- or stereotyping and discrimination based on age. The World Health Organization reported that ageism is the most socially ‘normalized’ of any prejudice and is not widely countered—like racism or sexism. Individuals may experience being stigmatized because of age by the time they are fifty or even earlier." And it's Applewhite's mission to tackle this discriminatory practice head on!
The geriatrician and 'Elderhood' author calls for society to embrace and honor aging. Dr. Louise Aronson brings vast experience and compassion as a geriatrician, writer and educator to the pages of her new book, Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life. Aronson is Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she directs UCSF Health Humanities. She says:
  • "People age differently — in different ways and at different rates. Sometimes people skip stages. Or they move from an earlier stage to a later stage but then move back again.” And...
  • "Medicine pretends that this part of life isn’t really different from young adulthood or middle age. But it is. And that needs a lot more recognition than it currently gets.”
Read an interview of Dr. Aronson with Judith Graham, a journalist writing on Kaiser Health News, in an article entitled: "A Doctor Speaks Out About Ageism and Medicine."

Second Act Stories is one of the "Top Career Podcasts of 2019." Andy Levine shares stories of people who have made major career changes to pursue more rewarding lives in a second act. The stories are in their own words and the words of friends and family that helped them find a new path.

Tune in every two weeks to hear a new story. Each episode examines the "before" and "after" phases of a life/career change and offers lessons learned.

Marlene Cimons wrote an enlightening article in the Washington Post called: "Laughter Really is the best medicine? In many ways, that’s no joke." She cites research on the psychological and physical benefits of laughter, particularly in older adults and also among the ill. Also mentioned is a 2017 HBO documentary hosted by comedian Carl Reiner: “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” featuring a number of still-active nonagenarians, including Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Norman Lear and Betty White. He believes their good health — and his — is why they still enjoy humor and stay funny.

“A friendly sense of humor will bless you with better social relations as well as coping skills, and the reduced risk of dying early,” says Sven Svebak, professor emeritus at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He has studied the health impact of humor for more than 50 years...

It also "acts like shock absorbers in a car, a mental shock absorber in everyday life to help us cope better with a range of frustrations, hassles and irritations.” The studies indicated that "humor can delay or prevent certain life-threatening diseases" and that "a higher than average cognitive sense of humor is no vaccine to protect you against death in the end, although it will increase your probability of getting old, Svebak says." Read more...

Coming of Age encourages an engaged and active lifestyle for people 50 and over. We talk a lot about volunteering, taking a class, giving back to the community, getting involved in activities that rekindle your passion, and finding meaning in retirement.

But there are benefits to just doing nothing. And, there's an art to it. A recent article in Money magazine says, "sometimes it’s nice to just relax and do absolutely nothing." Read more about the following guidelines in full
  • Let go of the guilt
  • There's a period of adjustment
  • Welcome the lower stress levels
  • You're the master of your own life
  • You don't need a lot of money
  • Do what you want
  • Just enjoy being alive
And If you’ve been so focused on work and family all these years that you haven’t had a chance to tap into your creative side, or perhaps you’ve always been imaginative but you’d like to try a new outlet, here are some fun ideas to spark your creativity. A little inspiration could go a long way!
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