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Welcome to the new ChangingAging.org weekly blog roundup for Nov. 1 to Nov. 6, 2010.

Announcing the Picker Report on Aging in America with Dr. Bill Thomas! Vist www.PickerReport.org to join the conversation. Do you know anyone interested in ChangingAging? Please forward this email!

Picker Report on Aging

Dr. Bill Thomas
Refresh and Transform Nursing Homes

The Eden Alternative has signed up to compete for a $250,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project and we can help them win. The Refresh Project awards grants for ideas that have a positive impact and the winners are decided by social networking. Anyone can enter an idea, anyone can vote for an idea, and the idea with the most votes wins. The Eden Alternative idea is to transform five nursing homes. Share this link with your friends and ask them to vote: http://www.refresheverything.com/transform5nursinghomes


Kavan Peterson

Inside the Green House - Want To Take a Look?

Now you can and with Dr. Thomas and Robert Jenkens as your guides: Tell us what you think - share your comment here.


Dr. Bill Thomas

A Word that Can Explain Much

I was reading an article about global economics and came across the following sentence.

In particular, the unconventional nature of our situation is making it clear how many people rely not on any model of how the economy works but rather on what the late Paul Samuelson called shibboleths — by which he meant slogans that take the place of hard thinking.

Bang. That really hit me. I am interested in this word because I find that all sides of the aging question are quick to employ shibboleths to support their favored views when what we really need is a stiff dose of careful and open minded thought. This effort lies at the heart of my work and this blog. Continue reading here.

Dr. Bill Thomas

Confucius Says

As a fifty-year old I find that my mind is able to embrace a much higher degree of non-linear thinking. This is especially useful in writing fiction. Rick Moody reminds us of this enduring bit of wisdom:


The Master said, “At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I had planted my feet upon firm ground. At forty, I no�longer suffered from perplexities. At fifty, I knew what were the�biddings of Heaven. At sixty, I heard them with a docile ear. At�seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I�desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.”

-Confucius: Dictates of the Heart

Cult of Adulthood

Dr. Bill Thomas

Long Time Gone --- Remarkable Historical Video of Woodstock Contains Powerful, Rarely Expressed Narrative

What I find most interesting is the way the youth culture aggressively deploys machines to despoil nature and advance their own (peculiar) desires. Take a few minutes and watch it until the end: What do you think? Share your comment here.

Culture Change

Dr. Bill Thomas

The Story Continues: Broken Bones, Broken Hearts -- A Readers Difficult Parent Caregiving Journey

The background on this situation is here.

Hello. This is installment #2 about our Pop. Somehow I missed responses to my first reply and now that things continue to be pretty difficult and confusing I am writing hoping to hear ideas, suggestions, anything to help me help him, and hopefully think/feel/be better around what is happening with him.

86 years in 10 days. Mid stage alzheimers with critical stage aortic stenosis and very minor symptoms of this. Living in wonderful enhanced assisted living home in LA. No Eden Cert but recommended by the only known Eden facility in LA. Scurrying to bathroom wearing crocks, one foot stuck as he changed from rug to linoleum floor surface and without a fall fractured his hip right next to ball joint late August. Having little time to think, my brother and I reacted in fear based on post surgical horror stories and refused repair. He returned to his home with a indwelling catheter as it was discovered that he had a VERY (1300 cc) distended bladder on arrival at the hospital – thus his frequent urgent trips to bathroom. He prostate was totally blocking the out flow despite years of flomax.

After arranging 24 hour bedside care and transitioning him into hospice program I realized that not having surgery put him and his unrelenting desire to get up, out of bed, get going- cause that’s the kind of guy he is- in a horrible dilemma. All day/night long he and a care partner are dealing with varying levels of intensity and insistence about wanting to get up. Because of the dementia he can’t remember that his hip is broken

Thoughts? Comment here?


Dr. Bill Thomas

Mis-Managing Money -- Dementia Edition: B�atrice de G�a, writing for The New York Times has an excellent article on the problem:

Renee Packel used to have a typical suburban life. Her husband, Arthur, was a lawyer and also sold insurance. They lived in a town house just outside Philadelphia, and Mrs. Packel took care of their home and family. One day, it all came crashing down. The homeowners’ association called asking for their fees. To Mrs. Packel’s surprise, her husband had simply stopped paying them. Then she learned he had stopped writing checks to his creditors, too. It turned out that Mr. Packel was developing Alzheimer’s disease and had forgotten how to handle money. When she tried to pay their bills, Mrs. Packel, who enlisted the help of a forensic accountant, could not find most of the couple’s money.

One little quibble. I know that the shorthand way of referring to dementia is to equate it with “memory loss.” A more accurate description would be that he was “losing the cognitive skills needed to manage money.” Continue reading here.


Dr. Bill Thomas

The CRON Diary: Pro-Aging vs. Anti-Aging

Mary Robinson is a 57 year old woman who has been practicing Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition (CRON) for over 10 years. She belongs to the CR Society and is participating in 2 different medical studies related to diet and calorie restriction. The idea is that severely reducing your caloric input will add years to your life. Read about her experience here. As for me, I prefer this kind of Crone. If there are any Crones reading this, please share your story.

Dr. Bill Thomas

Seeing What's Not There -- Anti-Aging = Magical Thinking And Fierce Devotion To Profit

The key attribute of any successful ideology is that people don’t recognize it as an ideology. Anti-Aging is an aggressive ideology based on magical thinking and a fierce devotion to the profit motive. People don’t see it as an unhealthy and unhelpful ideology that is damaging peoples’ lives. They see it as something that might, someday, help them. So what’s not too like? In mild doses it is fine. Taken to its logical conclusion it represents a deeply narcissistic, destructive and life defying cult.

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