I hope you are all doing well.
This week I wanted to spend some time thinking about the lives of seniors and the role we might play in being mentors or facilitators in their learning.
Perhaps one of the most important things for us to learn, or to be aware of, is the vibrancy that so many elderly individuals bring to their lives. Over the last 30 years, the perception of what it means to be a senior has changed enormously. The perception that seniors did little after retirement has shifted to a recognition that we can all live full and interesting lives well after retirement (if we do choose that path).
Now, I will leave it up to you to decide how much time you would like to devote to this topic. You might want to spend your time working on your own “Work in Progress.” However, whether you are going to be teaching seniors, or you have parents or grandparents who are seniors, I think there is much here that might change the way you think about the elderly, and think about what you can do for yourself to prepare yourself for a full and active life in the future.
I have included a few ‘motivational’ clips to begin with. Then I move on to two different series that are from two to three hours in length. Then a few individual videos that I thought were informative. And finally, a few articles that might be of value to you if you are planning on working in the area of senior education and training.
I won’t be asking you any questions on this topic. I trust you are studying what is most beneficial for you at this moment.
So . . .
Let me begin with a few clips that might help us realize that our biological bodies are adaptable.
Elderly Adults and Activity
Auriens – Meet Charles Eugster, The 97-Year-Old Athlete
101 Year-Old Skier – George Jedenoff – The Optimist
Look at grandma’s guns: At 97, she flexes her muscle at Tampa Bay competition
84 Year Old Weightlifting Champion – Age Is Just A Number
Ping Pong – Official Trailer
What if age is just a state of mind? | Bruce Grierson | TEDxPSU
The Cycle of Life Series
What follows is a three-part series telling the story of Anna.
Anna has built a successful business from the ground up—and upon retirement, leaves the company to her employees, not to her son. What does that decision tell us about Anna’s psychology, and about the development of the human brain over a lifetime? This program explores the emotional and neurological side of learning, explaining how the brain processes and stores experiences and prepares for future decision-making. Employing superb dramatizations, the film depicts Anna’s journey from innocent teenager to philosophical retiree—and the changes that take place in her cortex, hippocampus, and neural synapses as she faces and overcomes challenges. In addition, several influential brain experiments from the past decade are described. (52 minutes)
At the twilight of an active life, Anna is now bedridden due to a serious fall. What makes the elderly—even those who are in full possession of their mental and physical faculties—more prone to falling than younger people? As this program demonstrates, the answer lies not in the body or the brain alone, but in their interconnection. Exploring Anna’s past dreams of becoming a ballerina, the film shows how complex physical motion such as dancing or even typing requires sophisticated coordination between the body’s neural, muscular, and skeletal systems. How aging affects such coordination, and how new artificial limb technology enables movement, are important themes in the program. (52 minutes)
Anna was born with a sweet tooth—and as a young woman, created a successful business using it. Her delicious jams and jellies gave pleasure to many, but did they also cause harm? This program explores the way the human body processes food and how its long-term growth and development are shaped by eating habits. Illustrating cellular aging and its relationship to AGEs, or advanced glycation end products, the film also draws a connection between the bacteria an infant must consume to build a healthy immune system and the bacteria that consume the body at death. As Anna’s life draws to a close, viewers will understand that “dust to dust” is a cycle in which we take an active part—every time we sit down to a meal. (52 minutes)
How To Stay Young Series
In this two-part series, Angela Rippon and Dr. Chris van Tulleken travel the world in search of the latest science that could help us all stay young and healthy for longer. They investigate the best ways to help both our bodies and brains age better. Up first is the body, and Angela travels to Germany to join a groundbreaking study which reveals the exercise that holds off aging the most. Chris visits America to find out about the unexpected diet that can add years to our lives. And in Ecuador we meet a seventeen-year-old who looks like a child to discover how scientists hope he may hold the key to preventing the diseases of aging.
This episode explores what can give brains a boost. In America, Angela tries out a new treatment that’s proven to help memory and concentration. In Japan, a remarkable 100-year-old reveals the colorful foods that keep minds more active. Plus Chris discovers the best exercise we can do for our brains. At the cutting-edge of science, discover how injections of young people’s blood may help beat dementia.
A BBC Production.
The following videos and articles are from the Elderly Theme that I provided in lecture two.
How well do we understand the neurology of learning? Why does the brain’s ability to learn diminish as we age? Can science find a way to extend brain “fitness,” even for the very old? This program addresses those questions as it describes important medical experiments and studies. Topics include the central role of nerve cell connections in learning and cognitive development; cerebral plasticity, or the breakdown of unused connections; and growing evidence that plaque, diet, and poor blood circulation all “age” the brain. Tests at Germany’s Max Planck Institute and the University of Zurich highlight comparisons between healthy and Alzheimer-afflicted brains while assessing the potential for an Alzheimer’s vaccine.
There we have it. I hope you enjoyed considering our topic of the day.
As always, I hope you continue to enjoy your own “Work in progress.” I should rename this. It should be called, “learning for enjoyment — toward a richer life.” That’s much better. So, I hope you are enjoying your “Learning for Enjoyment — toward a richer life” project 🙂
Until next time, have a great week!