aging


Going South

I was 68 and long since retired when I had the pleasure of being an “accompanying spouse” on a junket to a Caribbean island where my wife was attending a business conference. During her meetings I whiled away the time on the beach and simply fell in love with the climate. It was reliably sunny […]

On Aging and Writing a Hard Book

I recently finished a biography of Bertrand Russell, a major 20th century British philosopher who, as his career moved along, shifted heavily toward personal involvement in international political and cultural affairs, most notably arms control and nuclear weapon reduction—but meanwhile, as a kind of relaxation, continuing to turn out a stream of philosophy books. He […]

Aging Well

My mother will turn 88 in a few weeks. According to the definition of successful aging put forward by Rowe and Kahn nearly 16 years ago, she is aging quite well. Her kidneys, lungs, and heart work fine. She is still very active—she teaches a French class once a week at the local senior center, […]

Aging in Place in a Bleak Landscape

Somewhere near the middle of Alexander Payne’s new movie Nebraska, a young boy rides up on a bicycle to take a photo of Woody Grant for the local newspaper.  Woody has, or so he believes, won a million dollars in a merchandising sweepstakes. He has become a celebrity in Hawthorne, the small fictional Nebraska town […]

Proust on Treating Chronic Illness

The need to control health care cost is a central challenge for health and economic policy. Other than the high prices we pay in the U.S., chronic illness is a main driver of cost escalation, especially for Medicare.  Seventy-six percent of Medicare spending is on patients with five or more chronic diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, […]

Don’t Hide Behind HIPAA to Avoid Communicating with Caregivers!

 In May, Carol Levine posted about how HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) interferes with caregiving for the elderly by leading many health professionals to refuse to communicate with families and others involved in care of the elderly. Carol subsequently interviewed Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department […]

Coming Out about Age

When I was growing up, every 12 months I got one year older. But my mother, who turned 39 three months after my 7th birthday, remained 39. That puzzled me. My mother explained that for women, by magic, their age never clicked past 40! The French have long dealt with my mother’s reluctance to come […]

Too Old to Drive?

On February 25, 1983, my mother drove out of the parking area behind the apartment building in Florida where she and my father lived. She suffered from gradual cognitive decline and should not have been driving. She didn’t notice an oncoming car and pulled in front of it. There was no initial sign of injury, […]

Learning from Our Elders

A recent phone call led me to reflect on how over 65ers can help younger folks learn about aging. Three months ago I received a call from Langley Danowitz, daughter of Emily Lublin, a long time patient of mine, who had died in 2000 at age 84. (Langley had seen me quoted in a New York […]