Watching These Video ‘Pen Pals’ Will Make Your Day

Here’s a sweet, uplifting video that’s guaranteed to brighten your day. It features some Chicago-area seniors and young Brazilian students of English, and the long-distance friendships kindled by learning a language. CNA, a Brazilian language school that emphasizes online learning, matches up its young students with older adults in U.S. senior residences in a program called Speaking Exchange. Watching the video, you can see how eagerly the residents of Windsor Park Retirement Community outside Chicago await their turns to talk. …

‘Day of Service’ Kicks Off AARP’s National Event in Boston

The tables were stacked high with groceries: pasta, peanut butter, cans of peaches and beans. In front, an assembly line of volunteer workers packed them in brown paper bags and passed them along to be loaded into cartons for delivery to a food bank. “It’s fun,” said 66-year-old Ronna Davis of Stoughton, Mass., “and it’s a way to help people in need.” Davis, who had heard about the project on the radio, showed up with her lifelong friend, Esther Kaplan, …

Apartment Smokers: Would You Rather Switch Than Fight?

Imagine that you’ve been living for a decade in an apartment building for seniors. You’ve settled in, made friends and think of it as home. Now imagine that the building suddenly adopts a no-smoking rule and says that if you can’t or won’t comply with it, you’ll have to find someplace else to live. Like it or lump it. As the Cincinnati Enquirer tells the story, that’s what happened to Beulah Toombs, a resident of  the AHEPA 127 Apartments in …

Grandma Betty: Why ‘Cute’ Can’t Capture It

Let me first say I love what’s going on with Grandma Betty, the Indiana octogenarian turned Instagram star. When Betty was diagnosed with terminal cancer, her great-grandson Zach opened an account (@grandmabetty33) to chronicle her journey. More than 309,000 followers later, what started as a project for friends and family has turned into a worldwide sensation. I just love that the bond between a great-grandmother and her teenage great-grandson, more than 60 years her junior, has inspired an outpouring of …

The Power of Pause: Taking Time to Visit Seniors

I’ll admit it: I love a good to-do list. When I’ve got a lot on my plate, or even when I don’t, there’s something so satisfying about crossing things off as I go. But my latest project has been a lesson in letting go of the list. As part of my grad school assistantship, I’m administering cognitive tests to older adults at a care facility near campus. When my adviser, Kate, told me about it, I was excited to jump …

Goodbye Ageism! Shifting an Old Stereotype

I’m positive: You couldn’t pick a better place to have an International Conference on Positive Aging this week (or any week). It isn’t just because it’s in Florida, but also because it’s specifically in Sarasota County, which happens to have the highest percentage of people age 85-plus in the nation. The event’s host, the Sarasota  non-profit foundation Institute for the Ages, recruits and engages older people and organizations to conduct research on aging issues, connecting companies with their target audience, Sarasota …