Learning a Second Language at Any Age Can Slow Brain Aging

I lived in Stockholm for two years after college and doggedly learned Swedish, even though most Swedes speak beautiful English. Not only could I communicate better with then-tiny (now giant) Swedish nephews, turns out it was a good move for my brain. Learning a second language – even as an adult – helps protect the brain from aging,  says a new study published in the Annals of Neurology. “Learning a language later in life is a challenge but is very, very good for …

How to Keep Peace at Family Gatherings

We’re all familiar with the scene, especially after the Passover and Easter holidays. The extended family sits down to dinner and a grandchild starts whining that he’s not hungry or eats the mashed potatoes with her hands or takes a dive under the table. As grandparents, we’re tempted to take charge and correct the behavior, but the wisest among us won’t say a word. Still, we don’t have to feel relegated to watching the gathering descend into chaos, says Melinda Blau, …

The New Face of Friendship: Has Facebook Replaced the Backyard Fence?

I grew up in Brooklyn at a time when there were many sets of parental eyes watching over us. Riding bikes, playing stoopball or jumping rope on the sidewalk, we knew, without having to think about it, that we were safe. We also knew that if any of us did or said something deemed less than civil, it would get back to our mothers (or whoever was waiting at home, and there was always someone waiting at home) before we set …

Communication Gap: To Text or to Call

You may not be surprised to hear this, but while 18- to 29-year-olds are split about 50-50 on texting their parents (versus calling), three-quarters of their parents would rather talk on the phone than send texts back and forth. You may be surprised, though, to hear this: Parents and adult children are finding comfortable ways to communicate across the generations, leading to strong and satisfying relationships. Those are some of the newest findings reported by psychology professor Jeffrey Arnett, the …

The Art of Care

Balancing care for a loved one with medical professionals, residential staff or home health employees can get complicated quickly.  Defining your role as a care partner can be difficult. How do you let go and trust “those professionals”? How do you know who should take the lead and when? I’ve cared for my mother with dementia over 30 years and my father with brain cancer for 4 ½ years. During this period, I found myself standing at a crossroads several …

Are You Even Listening to Me?

Q: Why is it that when a couple is trying to communicate, the conversation can get lost when one spouse gets upset before the problem is resolved? The conversation then becomes about arguing and isn’t productive. How does one fix this? Dr. Pepper Schwartz: It’s a great question. Not everyone says what they mean or means what they say – and it costs a lot of extra heartache.  There is a style of communicating that you may want to look …