I don’t buy books. I borrow them. From public libraries. Mostly new to me and to the library. I like before>later>after documentaries. Somebody, usually an expert, studies a group of individuals who have something in common and follows up on each.
In 42 Up, Michael Apted interviewed a group of seven-year old girls and boys from diverse backgrounds and all over England. Starting in 1964, they were asked about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, Apted went back to talk to the same subjects.
In Survivor M.D.: Second Opinions, Michael Barnes followed a disparate group of Harvard Medical School students and then through the first ten years of their careers in several medical specialties. Barnes focused on how hands-on medicine differed from their expectations of what a physician's life would be like.
Genetic Studies of Genius, known as The Terman Study of the Gifted,was a longitudinal study to examine the development and characteristics of gifted children into adulthood. In 1921, Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman (1877-1956) selected and began to study 1,500 “bright boys and girls” born around 1910.
A pioneer in educational psychology, Terman is known as a prominent eugenicist and inventor of the Stanford-Binet IQ test. Through studies of gifted children, he hoped to learn how to educate a gifted child in the best way possible and to dispel negative stereotypes that gifted children were conceited, freakish, and socially eccentric.
The children called themselves Termites. A 35 year follow-up (volume 5) looked at them during mid-life. The results showed that gifted and genius children were actually in good health and had normal personalities. Most did well socially and academically and had lower divorce rates. They were generally successful in their careers and had received awards recognizing their achievements. Few demonstrated the previously held negative stereotype.
Though many Termites reached their potential in adulthood, some did not, perhaps because of personal obstacles, insufficient education, or lack of opportunity. In the 1930’s, opportunities for women were much more limited to gender roles than they are today. (Yes, I’m suggesting that they are still limited.) Terman had included girls in his original study, while minority children apparently were not. He advocated early identification of gifted children so that appropriate encouragement could be provided. The study continued after his death, as he wished. A colleague completed and published the fifth volume of Genetic Studies of Genius.
Prior to enactment into United States law in 1972 of Title IXof the Education Amendments, little or no formal guidance counseling had been provided in most schools. I graduated from a Northern, relatively progressive, suburban public school system in 1944. The Stanford-Binet IQ test was administered when we completed grade school. While helping out in the high school office, I peeked in the kardex, but my I Q number meant nothing to me. C. Overton Tremper taught intermediate algebra, coached baseball, and functioned as dean of boys. When I achieved a high score in the Regents’ intermediate algebra exam, I wouldn’t even consider continuing with trigonometry. COT, as he signed himself on slips of paper he dashed off excusing us from things, assumed that I could do whatever I wanted to do and that I was going to go to college. And I began to think about it. About that time, my mother began with the “Grades aren’t everything” and “Dopey is the popular dwarf.” C. Overton, as we referred to him when he wasn’t around, had his hands full. He died at age ninety.
Common beliefs and claims related to health and long life are often false, contend Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, two California educational psychologists interested in long-term “happiness and health.” Their examples of falsity include: Get married and you will live longer. Take it easy and don’t work so hard and you will stay healthier. Thinking happy thoughts reduces stress and leads to long life. Religious people live longer. Retire as soon as you can and play more golf to stay health and live longer. Encourage your very serious child to be more spontaneous and have more fun. Give your children a big head start in school and they will thrive for life. All myths, they maintain.
The latest book to utilize Terman’s work is Friedman and Martin’s The Longevity Project; Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study, they considered the 720 (of the original 1,500) Termites who were still alive in the 1980s. Most were age 70+. Friedman and Martin “compared those who were highly productive in old age to those who were taking it easy and were not so concerned with racking up accomplishments.” Based on these comparisons, they explain how social connections, personality, and marriage can affect long-term health and can prevent aging. Here’s what they conclude.
About disposition: Cheerful and optimistic children are less likely to live long lives. However, genetic factors offer only about one third of the explanation for why.
About stress: Some stress is not a bad thing. "The most cheerful, optimistic kids grew up to take more risks."
About optimism: "By virtue of expecting good things to happen and feeling like nothing bad ever would, they predisposed themselves to be heavier drinkers, they tended to be smokers, and their hobbies were riskier." So, they conclude, some degree of worrying actually is good, and, in fact, is the strongest individual difference or personality predictor.
About conscientiousness: Their study of this subpopulation found that conscientious people developed better social relationships and accomplished more at work.
About skipping a grade: Parents should not enroll their kids at age five in an attempt to give them an advantage. (The authors are presumably referring to initial enrollment in first grade, rather than kindergarten or pre-school.) Getting an early start—jumping ahead of one’s peers—is a no no. Children’s age at entering school predicted the subjects’ longevity. The children who started first grade at age five were at higher risk of dying early, and those who started school “on schedule” at age six lived longer.
Longevity books sell. The Longevity Project… is loaded with dropped names of celebrities who were not Termites—Lucille Ball, George Burns, Dale Carnegie, Woody Guthrie, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, etc. “Self-Assessment” quizzes and measures “that you can use to assess yourself” include Do you have a sociable personality? Are you a good emotional communicator? Are you a gloomy Chicken Little? How masculine or feminine are you?
“The better-educated Terman participants did tend to live longer than their equally bright peers. But …level of education was not a strong predictor of health and longevity, especially as compared to other social and career predictors.” If there's a secret to old age, these authors found, it is living conscientiously and bringing forethought, planning, and perseverance to one's professional and personal life. Prudence, dependability, and perseverance make the difference in aging, productivity and health. Well, surprise surprise.
Japan may soon lose its top longevity ranking. Suicides, obesity, smoking and poor quality health coverage all contribute, according to Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. In recent years, Japan has fallen behind Sweden, Italy, and Australia for men, and behind Sweden for women.
Senior citizen Jane Fonda is in the news again. Her latest motion pictures (Monster-in-Law and Georgia Rule) demonstrate how difficult it is for old[er] women to get parts worthy of their talents. Reference to Klute (1971) usually appears in reviews of her and her recent books (Prime Time: Creating a great third act and My Life So Far). But don’t overlook Iris Estelle King (Stanley & Iris), Judy Bernly (Nine to five), Chelsea Thayer Wayne (On Golden Pond), Sally Hyde (Coming home), andLillian (Julia). As The Dollmaker, she played the mother of five from the Kentucky hills, forced to uproot her children to follow her husband to Detroit when he finds work during World War II. Her hopes and creative spirit represented by her wood-carving are systematically destroyed by social forces that are too big for her. One setback follows another and tragedy strikes the family. It is up to Gertie Nevels to find new strength and courage to keep her family together and strong. Harriette Arnow’s 1954 novel was an honest glimse into the lives of the urban poor as they were exploited by landlords, schools, unions, anti-communism, and each other. Fonda’s 1984 Gertie Nevels was a magnificent hero, strong, capable, and wise.
On August 26, 2011, Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee announced two new grants totaling $761,000 for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). $561,000 for the NCEA Information Clearinghouse was awarded to the University of California, Irvine (UCI). The NCEA Clearinghouse will provide a national source of practical information to support federal, state and local efforts to prevent, identify, and effectively respond to elder abuse. The Clearinghouse will provide information and technical support, translate the latest research in the field, and disseminate best practices for state, local, and Tribal practitioners. The NCEA will also provide technical assistance on developing effective prevention, intervention, and response efforts to address elder abuse. In addition, a $200,000 award to the University of North Dakota (UND) for the NCEA Native American Elder Justice Initiativetobegin to address the lack of culturally appropriate information and community education materials on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in Indian Country.
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) has called on Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) before it expires this year. The OAA was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson and it was the first federal program that provided services for older adults, such as legal services, ombudsmen in nursing homes, home-delivered meals, senior centers, jobs and training for low-income older adults, health services, and more. Specifically, the reauthorized OAA should include more funding and better delivery of Title III-B legal services, which provides legal assistance for older adults on issues related to housing, fraud, elder abuse, Social Security, and other matters.
Reminder: It is necessary to input your wishes more than once to the National Do not Call Registry! 1 888 382-222. TTY 1 866 290-4236. www.donotcall.gov.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: September and October 2011. Call to confirm.
Readers are welcome to share news of events that may interest boomers and seniors. Daytime, free, and Bay Area events preferred. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, Sept. 7. 9 A.M.-1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center. AARP Driver Safety Program refresher course designed for motorists age 50+. Preregistration required. $12 per person for AARP members, $14 per person for non-AARP members. Also Sept. 14.
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 10 A.M. -Noon North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst. Advisory Council meeting. Public invited. 510-981-5190.
Wednesday. Sept. 7. - 10:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center. Balance Your Walk with the Alexander Technique. Lenka Fejt, certified teacher, will begin a six-part workshop on the Alexander Technique. Prepaid registration fee of $60. required. Also Sept. 14, 21, 28.
Wednesday, Sept. 7. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Resumes. UC,B Music Dept., Hertz Concert Hall. Joe Neeman, violin. Miles Graber, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. A full list of concert programs, colloquia, and other events are
available at the calendar link: ttp://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/music.html
Wednesday, Sept. 7 through Nov. 3, 2 P.M.– 4 P.M. Alameda Adult School instructors provide computer instruction at Mastick Senior Center. Register at the Adult School, 2250 Central Avenue, Room 160 or on-line at www.alameda-adult-school.org.
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6-8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call 510-526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours.
Thursday, Sept. 8, 6-7:45 P.M. Berkeley Public Library, South branch. 1901 Russell St. Lawyer in the Library. Free legal advice and help with questions. In-person sign-ups only; sign-ups begin at 5pm. Names pulled by lottery at 6 P.M.
Friday, Sept. 9, 1 P.M. – 3 P.M. Mid-Autumn Festival. At the North Berkeley Senior Center. 510-981-5190.
Fridays, beginning Sept. 9 Impariamo L’Italiano at Mastick Senior Center. Beginning Italian, 10 A.M. - 11 A.M. Intermedia Italian,11 A.M. – 12 Noon. 1155 Santa Clara Av., Alameda. Donatella Zepplin, Instructor. Sign up in the Mastick Office or call 510-747-7506.
Saturday, Sept. 10. 12 Noon. Beef Bowl Anime Club meeting for adults. Albany branch, Alameda County Library. 1247 Marin Ave. 510-526-3720 x 16 .
Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. 8 A.M.-12 Noon Berkeley Lions Club 30th Annual Pancake Breakfast. Albany Veteran's Building, 1325 Portland Ave.. Learn about local resources for persons with low vision. Recycle no longer useful eyeglasses by bringing them for donation. Local non-profits, including Berkeley Women's Drop-In Center and Berkeley Seniors’ Holiday Meals, are supported through this event. Linda Wiggins and her Band. Suggested Donation: $7.00 adults, $3.00 children. Free to seniors, firefighters, police, and active military members. Jay Touriel 510-843-7044 or email@example.com
Monday, Sept. 12. 6 P.M. Evening Computer Class. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Sept. 19 and 26.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 9:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Mastick Senior Center. 1155 Santa
Clara Avenue, Alameda. Jewelry Making with Rose O’Neill. Beads and tools will be
supplied. Class is limited to 10 students. Cost is $15 per person. Sign up in the Mastick
Office or call 510-747-7506.
Saturday, Sept. 13, 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. 34th Annual Health Fair. Allen Temple Baptist
Church, 8501 International Blvd., Oakland. Free health screenings. 510-544-8910.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2 P.M. Job Search Resources. Central Berkeley Public Library.
Wednesday. Sept. 14. 12 Noon. Playreaders. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. Also Sept. 21 and 28.
Wednesday, Sept. 14. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Music Dept., Hertz Concert Hall. John Kapusta, voice; Nicholas Mathew, piano.
Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 14 - 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center Cultural Events class includes 2 Berkeley Repertory Theatre performances. Minimum enrollment of 15 required. To reserve a seat, visit the Office or call 510-747-7506.
Wednesdy, Sept. 14 . 6:30 P.M. – 8 P.M. Drop-In Poetry Writing Workshops. Free. Albany branch of the Alameda County library, 1247 Marin Av. 510-526-3720.
Thursdays, beginning Sept. 15, 10 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center 1155
Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Computer Basic Skills class. Nancy D’Amico, Volunteer
Instructor. Sign up in advance.
Thursday, Sept. 15. 7 P.M. El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Av. Join award-winning, local cookbook author, Marie Simmons for a talk and tasting. Her latest book is Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes that Make a Meal. 510-526-7512.
Thursday, Sept. 15. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library, West branch. 1125 University. 510-981-6270. Also Sept. 22.
Friday, Sept. 16, 10 A.M. – 1 P.M. 14th Annual Senior Resource Fair. Presented by San Leandro Senior Services. San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14 St. 510-577-3462.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 11 A.M. Landlord /Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 1:30 P.M. music; 2 P.M. show. SF Mime Troupe's 2010: The Musical. Willard Park, Berkeley, CA. Outdoors. Free. 415-285-1717. Also Sept 18.
Wednesday, Sept. 21. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Music Dept., Hertz Concert Hall. Faculty Recital: Michael Orland, piano.
Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Aging meets in a senior center, probably North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst, corner MLK. #25 AC bus stops at the NBSC. Phone to confirm location. 510-981-5190. 510-981-5200.
Thursday, Sept. 22. 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. Albany Senior Center Open House. Food, entertainment. 846 Masonic Av. 510-524-9122.
Sunday, Sept. 25. 1:30 P.M. Book Into Film: The Last Station. Central Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge. Registration required: 510-981-6236.
Monday, Sept. 26. 7 P.M. Kensington Library, 61 ArlingtonAve. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member with brief discussion following. New members welcome. 510-524-3043.
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Av., Alameda. “Getting the Most From Your Doctor’s Visit.” Lecture by Patient Advocate Linda Garvin, RN, MSN. Register in the Mastick Office or call 510-747-7506.
Tuesday, Sept 27, 3 P.M. Tea & Cookies Book Club. Central Berkeley Public Library.
Tea and Cookies. A book club for people who want to share the books they have read.
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7 – 8 P.M. El Cerrito Library book discussion group. 6510 Stockton. Come to one or all discussions. Let the Great World Spin, novel by Colum McMcCann. 510-526-7512.
Wednesday, Sept. 28. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. University Symphony Orchestra - David Milnes, conductor. Ligeti: Lontano. Korngold: Violin Concerto, Ernest Yen, soloist. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Av. Great Books Discussion Group. Morrison's Song of Solomon. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! 510-526-3720 x 16.
Monday, Oct. 3. 6 P.M. Evening Computer Class. Central Berkeley Public Library. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 17 and 24.
Wednesday, Oct. 5. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Felicia Chen, soprano; Daniel Alley, piano. Jason Yu, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Oct. 5. 10:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center. 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Balance Your Walk with the Alexander Technique. Lenka Fejt, certified teacher. This six-part workshop on the Alexander Technique has begun. Prepaid registration fee of $60. required. 510-747-7506. Also Oct. 12.
Wednesday, Oct. 5 - 12 Noon. Playreaders. Central Berkeley Public Library. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.. Also Oct. 12 and 19.
Wednesday, Oct. 5. 6 P.M. – 8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call 510-526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours.
Thursday, Oct. 6. 10 A.M. – 1 P.M. Lavender Seniors of the East Bay’s 5th Annual Aging in Place, Symposium and Resource Fair for Older Adults. Marina Community Center, 15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro. Refreshments, entertainment by Stagebridge Senior Theater Company. Free. Dan Ashbrook at 510-667-9655 Ext 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Oct. 6. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library South branch. 1901 Russell. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 13.
Wednesday, Oct. 12. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Andrea Wu, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Oct. 12. 6:30 P.M. – 8 P.M. Drop-In Poetry Writing Workshops. Free. Albany branch of the Alameda County library, 1247 Marin Av. 510-526-3720.
Thursday, Oct. 13. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 20 and 27.
Saturday, Oct. 15. 11 A.M. Landlord/Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510- 981-6100.
Wednesday, Oct. 19. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. University Gospel Chorus - Another Day's Journey. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Thursday, Oct. 20. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library West branch. 1125 University. 510-981-6270. Also Oct. 27.
Tuesday, Oct. 25. 3 - 4 P.M. Tea and Cookies. Central Berkeley Public Library. A book club for people who want to share the books they have read. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.
Wednesday, Oct. 26. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Tony Lin, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Oct. 26. 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Av. Great Books Discussion Group. Roman Fever, Edith Wharton’s short story. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! 510-526-3720 x 16.
Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 26/Sacramentoand 27/South San Francisco, 2011 . "Dementia Care Without Drugs - A Better Approach for Long-term Care Facilities" symposia re misuse of psychotropic drugs as treatment for dementia; difficulty in managing dementia treatment; non-pharmacological approaches to care. CANHR staff attorney Tony Chicotel presentation, "Stop Drugging Our Elders!" California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform http://www.canhr.org. 415-974-5171. Fax 415-777-2904.