Good News for Friday!

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 34 – 3/20/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

Don’t know about you, but Bea gets tired of seeing bad news on television or on the Internet.  She has a tendency to yell at politicians when she sees them on the tv screen, causing her blood pressure to rise dangerously. She gets angry when she sees people being victimized by thugs and scammers.  She cries when she sees children getting killed by bullets being shot into their homes. 

So this week, in honor of spring springing, she decided to look for some good news – and guess what?  She found it.  

From the AARP Bulletin (March 2015) – Great news relating to Bea’s previous post about protecting your vision

  • New technologies, such as telescopic implants, for macular degeneration.  Contact lenses containing eye medication for glaucoma sufferers.  Injection therapy to help those of us with the wet form of macular degeneration.  

From the Good News Network:

Inspiration from the Philly.com website:

  • Centenarian Frieda Lefeber has her first solo art exhibition at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania.  She started taking art courses there in her 70s, and published her autobiography at age 88!  Read more about Ms. Lefeber and her philosophy about life in this article

And hey, the official start to spring is simply great news!  Life is good today.  

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

 

5 Cool Websites for Lifelong Learners

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 25 – 2/27/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

How did we ever live without the Internet?  It’s a giant treasure trove of fun, cool, and interesting stuff! 

Recently, Bea was stumbling around on the StumbleUpon website, a place that collects this information, pages, websites, etc. from the Internet and puts it all in one place. When you sign up (free) you can pick categories of topics and stumble through them, picking out stuff that you like.  She found a list that included a variety of educational websites. Since she’s on a lifelong learning journey, so she explored some of these sites to see if they were worth sharing with you. 

Check ‘em out!

Open Culture – The Open Culture editorial staff finds educational content on the Internet and brings it all to one website.  At the Open Culture website, you can find:  630 audiobooks, 1100 online courses from leading worldwide universities, 300 language courses, 150 business courses, and tons more. All free.   There’s even educational resources for your kids!  Bea was amazed at the variety of awesome learning options.  

Want to learn a new language?  Check out the LiveMocha websiteThis site’s goal is to teach lifelong learners conversational fluency in the language they are learning.  LiveMocha explains the method it uses here.  The site offers offer 35 language options.

Unplug the TV – This site suggests that Instead of TV you should watch, and introduces a topic you can immediately click on to watch (such as, Why is the heart associated with love? or An Astronaut’s View of Earth).  If you don’t want to watch the one that’s being shown on the screen, you just click “I want to watch something else.”  Bea loves this concept, so she bookmarked this site.

If you can’t get to your local library, check out:

Bartleby – This site offers reference books, poetry, fiction and non-fiction, by classic authors.  Love quotes?  Bartleby offers a collection of books and dictionaries of quotations. 

Read Any Book  Bea registered (free) and started reading Catcher in the Rye online.  (She hasn’t read that one in years!) The home page of this website included “Top books” and “New books.”  When you scroll down to the bottom of the home page, each genre is listed, with the number of books included in each one. 

There’s so many more options out there – the sites listed above are just the tip of the iceberg.  You can learn about almost anything you imagine!  

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. (Henry Ford)

 

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. (Gandhi)

 

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect. (Samuel Johnson)

 

 

 

Training your Brain for Vital Longevity

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 12– 1/30/15

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In their book, Brain Fit for Life, authors (and neuroscientists) Simon Evans and Paul Burghardt point out that our brain is always active and changing, even as we age.  Our brain’s ability to change is known as neuroplasticity. What’s great about this is that we can continue to help our brain develop, even as we get older. 

In their book, Evans and Burghardt talk about the four cornerstones of brain fitness. Mental activity is one of these cornerstones. 

After doing some googling, Bea found some interesting ways to boost our brain cells:

50 Ways to Boost your Brain Power 

Bea’s also a promoter of lifelong learning – learn something new that challenges those brain cells: a musical instrument, an online class (Ed2go has some fun, reasonably priced options); listen to virtual lectures at websites such as Coursera.  You can also foster your creative juices by taking a drawing, painting, pottery or writing course.  

Bea listed some fun choices in her post, 7 Free Online Learning Resources

Source:

Evans, S., PhD, and Burghardt, P., Phd. Brain Fit for Life. Riverpointe Publications: Milan, MI. 2008. 

 

Bea’s Wellness Beat: Trivia Day – May 8th Birthdays

For your intellectual wellness pleasure, here are some famous people born on May 8th:

1884: Harry Truman, 33rd U.S. President, died: 1972

Quote:  A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.

1895:  James H. “Dutch” Kindelberger, American aerospace pioneer, died: 1962 Inducted in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1972.  Read his biography at the National Aviation Hall of Fame website.

1911: Robert Johnson, blues singer, died in 1938 at age 27.  Visit the Blues Foundation to read about the singer, whose work influenced the Stones, Allman Brothers, and more.

1916: Swami Chinmayananda, Indian Spiritualist, died 1993.

Quote: See Positive, Seek Positive, Stay Positive….. Every day may not be good…   but there’s something good in every day….   Every person may not be good…   but there is something good in every person.

1940: Peter Benchley, author of Jaws and The Deep, died 2006.

Quote: “If man doesn’t learn to treat the oceans and the rain forest with respect, man will become extinct.

1947: Phil Sawyer, rock singer, Spencer Davis Group:

I’m a Man:  http://youtu.be/POCUgBSVENQ

Last but not least:

1969: Akebono Taro, retired sumo wrestler: 6’8″ tall, 514 pounds (well, what other career could he have chosen?) He has a Facebook page, in case you want to “Like” him. Read more about Akebono at Wikipedia.

 

Over 50? Discover the Coming of Age Website

The Coming of Age website defines itself as “all about what people 50+ can do.” 

For individuals, Coming of Age lets you:
  • Explore your future
  • Connect and Contribute

For communities or non-profit organizations, Coming of Age is there to help them connect with those of us over 50 who truly want to make a difference in our communities.
You can read more about its goals here.

Have you been forced to retire, and don’t know what to do with the rest of your life?  Coming of Age can help you discover your options.  Nowadays, we have opportunities our parents and grandparents could never have imagined! 

In the Explore your Future section, under the “Do Good” link, I found articles about:
(1) Finding a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you.

(2) How helping others can help you if you’re suffering from a chronic illness.
Do you want to make a difference in your community, using the personal skills and talents you’ve sharpened over the years?  Coming of Age can connect you with opportunities.

Under the Health link of the Connect and Contribute section, I found resources such as: The Alliance for Aging Research, Medscape, Medline Plus, and more. Under the Volunteer link of the same section, I found these resources with volunteer opportunities: Civic Ventures, Idealist, Network for Good, just to name a few.

People who make a difference:
Were you a Grateful Dead follower? Well, check out the “Grateful Alive” band, a group of older Americans who are using their musical talents and having fun by entertaining others in nursing homes and VA hospitals.

And then there’s the story of William Baker, who turned his life around in his fifties, working as a peer counselor and art instructor for people in recovery.

A selection of articles from the Coming of Age website:

The Coming of Age website offers a free e-book titled: The Age for Change: An E-Book for People 50+

You can also sign up for a free newsletter, or check out the site’s blog, “Coming of Age Around the Country,”  here

I really believe that we CAN make a difference, no matter what our age, if we just make the choice to do something and then take that first step. 

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Creative Aging – A Pro-Aging Resource

What is getting old all about? Is it something to be feared? Many of us seem to think so. We try to hide our faces’ character and life lines (aka, wrinkles) with Botox® and face lifts. We worship youth, and fail to appreciate the wisdom that comes with age.

Aging does have its pitfalls, of course. There are age-related illnesses and conditions, memory lapses, failing hearing and eyesight . . . But some of these things can be prevented, or at least delayed, by taking active charge of our physical and mental health. And by concentrating on the negative, we simply blind ourselves to the beauty and possibilities of pro-active aging – aging with grace and dignity.

So I’m not buying into the “aging is awful” myth. And the Creative Aging website, one of many pro-aging sites out there on the Web, isn’t buying into it either!

The National Center for Creative Aging has a mission: Helping people gain an understanding of how creativity and healthy aging work together.

To do this, Creative Aging developed three initiatives that bring arts programs to older people:

  • Civic Engagement, involving volunteering and other social wellness activities
  • Health and Wellness, using creativity to develop the mind and body
  • Lifelong Learning, to engage the mind and keep it active

Being involved in our communities, and developing our minds through creative expression and lifelong learning helps us be pro-active and lead purposeful lives.  A recent study indicates that having a purpose may lead to a longer life; even if it doesn’t, I’m willing to bet that it leads to a more enjoyable and meaningful life. 

The Capture your Creativity link, found under NCCA’s Resource section, is a guide for those of us who want to find a program to develop our creativity.  This resource also includes a “Best Practice Programs,” organizations that  focus on NCCA’s three initiatives. 

NCCA has partnered with Martek Biosciences (a company involved in brain health research) in the “Beautiful Minds” campaign – which is simply about older adults who are keeping their minds beautiful and healthy through positive action. 

You can meet some awesome people at the Beautiful Minds website – people who are embracing age, not living in fear of it.  I’d like to follow in their footsteps as I continue on my life’s journey. 

How about you?  What are you doing in your life to age with vigor and purpose?  Do you have a creative outlet that keeps your mind in gear? 

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Aging Well, or Not?

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, at the age of 40 (over 13 years ago, yikes!!) Bea came to a turning point in her life.  At that time, she had a sense of pessimism about the aging thing. She thought that life would now be a downhill slide into aches, pains, chronic illness, turkey neck, wrinkles, brain farts, and the like.

But then she asked herself: “Do ya want to get old, or do ya want to stay youthful and young at heart?” And by young at heart, Bea didn’t mean dressing like a teenager or sporting tattoos on various body parts. There’s nothing more aging than a woman at 40 + trying to look like 17. 

At 40, Bea simply decided she wanted to age well, and at the ripe old age of 53 bearing down on 54, (oh yea, Bea does not lie about her age), she still feels the same way.

So in honor of Healthy Aging™ month, Bea wants to point out some ways that we boomers can ease our way into our golden years

You can read more about Healthy Aging™ month here.

How about you? What are your insights and ideas about how to age in the best way possible?

The Academy of Achievement – Get Inspired!

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.Image via Wikipedia

Do you want to be inspired to make a difference in your own life and in the lives of others?  Do you want your children or grandchildren to find a mentor?

The Academy of Achievement is an amazing site for lifelong learners of all ages. Here, you can learn about people who took those steps needed to change the world in some awesome ways.

Many of these people beat great odds in their lives to become successful political leaders, business people, writers, athletes, entertainers, songwriters, movie directors, scientists, religious leaders . . .

Some grew up in poverty; others fought against racism and discrimination. Still others faced religious persecution, illnesses, disabilities.

This site includes profiles, biographies, and interviews of achievers and visionaries such as:

The Keys to Success section links to famous people who talk about the 7 factors leading to success in life.

The people inducted into the Academy of Achievement reached great heights. They changed their own lives, and the lives of others on our planet, for the better. Many of us have it in ourselves to do the same. We can reach for the stars by taking that first step, thinking outside the box, and breaking away from our fears to accomplish great things.

After all, if not in this lifetime, when?

Quote for the Day:

There is one elementary truth –

The ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans.
The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that never otherwise would have occurred.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Begin it now. (Goethe)

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Don’t Lose Your Mind – It’s The Only One You’ve Got!

Obviously, Bea’s been on a “brain kick” this past week. Hopefully, she’s given you some ideas about how to put your brain into high gear.

Here are a few resources for further reading:

50 Ways to Boost your Brain Power

Most of these 50 suggestions would be easy to implement (such as meditating, engaging in debate, setting goals, listening to music, and so on). However, the 4th suggestion on the list is “brainwave entrainment.” Bea had no idea what this means, so she found the definition at Wikipedia.

Information about the brain and brain function from the Franklin Institute, Resources for Science Learning.

For information about e-learning and, check out my post here.

Bea Boomer’s Quotes of the Day:

Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open. (Thomas Dewar)

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. (Mark Twain)

Keep those Brain Cells Alive! Learning for Life . . .

When I was a little kid, school was my haven. At home, things were sometimes not so fun. I won’t go into any details about my good old dysfunctional childhood, because heck, so many of us had them. Do you know anyone who lived a “Leave It To Beaver” or other TV land childhood? I don’t.

At my elementary school, I found the structure I longed for. And I discovered (with the help of my lovely teachers – all women, of course; this WAS the sixties) that most wonderful world of all: The world of reading.

Ah, the written word. Books have it all: humor, poetry, drama, tragedy. . . . you can lose yourself in them and escape from reality.

My love of reading and writing comforted me when I was a child, and led me to a lifelong love of learning.

After high school, though I dreamed of going to a 4-year college, (specifically, Michigan State University). However, family circumstances led me to a community college. I dragged that college career out for several years (hey, I had to work for a living too!) and finally got my Associate’s Degree in 1981.

In the back of my mind, I dreamed of getting that Bachelor’s Degree, someday.  But as life slipped by, I never seemed to find the time, or the money, to reach my goal.

Then one day, it happened!! I began working for an employer who would give me (gasp!!) TUITION REIMBURSEMENT! (Obviously, this was when times were good)

I worked in a library, my daughter was starting high school ( and didn’t seem to need me as much, *sob*), my husband was supportive. I was 47 years old. Time to sh** or get off the pot.

I applied at Baker College Online, and through the magic of the Internet, obtained my BBA without ever stepping outside of my house. I got my degree the same day my daughter got her high school diploma: June 7, 2008. Commencement was, along with my wedding day and the birth of my daughter, one of the greatest days of my life.

Why, you may be asking yourself, is this woman rambling on about reading and education and blah blah blah?  Simply this: I never want to stop learning. I think that lifelong learning is one of the most important things we can do for our brain and our mental/intellectual wellness as we age.

It’s not really about getting a degree, though that’s always an option. Just don’t be afraid to stretch your mind. If you have a talent, explore it.

  • Learn a new skill.
  • Learn how to blog.
  • Learn how to create a website.
  • Learn photography.
  • Read a book from classic literature.
  • Learn a language. (Have you heard of the Rosetta Stone language library? This electronic resource for learning languages can be obtained through your local library).

The possibilities are truly endless.

Lifelong learning can even help you in the workplace.

Hey, you don’t even have to spend money to stretch your mind. Check out these websites:

  • Open Culture is home to “the best free cultural & educational media on the web.”
  • YouTube Edu has a variety of content from top universities.

A little googling will help you find even more options! 

I’m always in awe at what the Internet has to offer us! We live in an amazing world, truly.

Bea Boomer’s Quotes of the Day:

Live as though you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. (Chinese Proverb)