Aging & Caregiving in the News

Information, updates and interesting tidbits

  • Anger can harm our health.
  • Are we suffering from a laughter deficit?
  • New dietary guidelines for older adults

angry older man annoying his spouse

"You Kids Get Off My Lawn!"

How accurate is the stereotype of an angry senior yelling at the neighbors or at a TV news program? A recent study published by the American Psychological Association suggests that for some older adults, this picture can be pretty accurate—and these frequent feelings of anger could increase levels of harmful inflammation, raising the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

The Concordia University research team clarified that anger isn't all bad; it can motivate elders to act and face challenges. But especially for people older than 80, anger can be damaging and harm an older adult's quality of life. Study author Meaghan Barlow said that education and therapy can help older adults reduce anger. "If we better understand which negative emotions are harmful, not harmful or even beneficial to older people, we can teach them how to cope with loss in a healthy way," Barlow said. "This may help them let go of their anger." Read more about the study here.

Are We Suffering from a Laughter Deficit?

Laughing senior man

April 1 is April Fool's Day—a time when many people do silly things to evoke a good laugh. But these days, it can seem like there's not much to laugh about! With the pandemic, political turmoil and uncertainty about what's to come, a lot of us are spending more time fretting than we used to. Opportunities for a hearty chuckle might be hard to find.

This is actually bad for our health, say experts. Laughter benefits our heart, our brain, our social connections and even our immune system. It's just about the best stress reducer there is! So go for the laugh. Check out humorous movies, comedy specials, or silly cat videos on YouTube. Of course, the greatest benefit comes from laughing with someone else. Call friends and family and reminisce about humorous events of the week and of the past. Give yourself permission to find the humor in situations. Even if we can't do much to change the world, we can change our outlook.

Check Out the Latest Dietary Guidelines for Older Adults

USDA Guidelines cover

March is National Nutrition Month, a great time to educate ourselves about healthy eating—and just in time, here's a helpful new resource. Every five years, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services join to provide the latest science-based recommendations for healthy eating, including information for people older than 65. The theme of the 2020-2025 guidelines is "Make Every Bite Count." Older adults are urged to:

  • Follow a healthy dietary pattern.
  • Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.
  • Focus on selecting foods and beverages from five food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, and proteins—and stay within calorie limits.
  • Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.

You can download the new guidelines booklet here (PDF format); detailed senior-specific information begins on page 121 of the publication.

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2021 IlluminAge