Exercise Alters Brain Chemistry – May Protect Aging Synapses

When elderly people stay active, their brains have more of a class of proteins that enhances the connections between neurons to maintain healthy cognition.

University of California – San Francisco. “Exercise alters brain chemistry to protect aging synapses: Enhanced nerve transmission seen in older adults who remained active.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220107100955.htm (accessed January 8, 2022).

I was about to write a snarky comment but I forgot what it was.

Journal Reference – Kaitlin Casaletto, Alfredo Ramos‐Miguel, Anna VandeBunte, Molly Memel, Aron Buchman, David Bennett, William Honer. Late‐life physical activity relates to brain tissue synaptic integrity markers in older adults. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2022; DOI: 10.1002/alz.12530

Trends in Binge Drinking

The study included 18,794 adults aged 65 years and older who participated in the 2015-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Binge drinking was defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on the same occasion for men and 4 or more drinks for women. Binge drinking among older men increased from 12.8% in 2015 to 15.7% in 2019 but remained stable among older women (7.6% to 7.3%). Having a college degree was associated with a higher risk of binge drinking among women but a lower risk among men. Men who were separated or divorced were also at higher risk, but women were not. Both men and women who reported use of tobacco or cannabis in the past month were at higher risks of binge drinking.

Wiley. “Trends in binge drinking among older men and women in the United States.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211208090023.htm (accessed December 8, 2021).

MIND Your Diet

MIND diet is associated with better cognitive functioning independently of brain pathology, suggesting that the MIND diet may contribute to cognitive resilience in older adults.

Dhana, Klodian et al. ‘MIND Diet, Common Brain Pathologies, and Cognition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults’. 1 Jan. 2021 : 683 – 692. — https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad210107

So, what is the MIND diet?

The traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern includes mainly whole, minimally processed plant foods including cereal grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and fish with small amounts of meat, milk, and dairy products and a regular modest amount of alcohol.4 The DASH diet emphasizes fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and is reduced in fats, red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.4 Combining the two diets, the MIND diet emphasizes natural, plant-based foods, specifically promoting an increase in the consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables, with limited intakes of animal-based and high saturated fat foods.

What Are the Components to the MIND Diet? — https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01251-4/fulltext

I became aware of the MIND diet earlier this year. It’s nice to know my dietary pattern has a name.

Internet Use in Retirement and Cognitive Function

Focusing on a sample of 2,105 older people from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland who have been retired since 2004, researchers examined retirees’ cognitive function in both 2013 and 2015. They specifically focused on a word recall test, where individuals were asked to recall a list of 10 words immediately, and then again five minutes later.

Results found that, on average, people who used the internet after they retired were able to recall 1.22 extra words in the recall test compared to non-internet users. However, retirees who used the internet were also more likely to be male, younger, better educated, and have been retired for a shorter period. They also appear to be in better health — even though they drink and smoke more.

Lancaster University. “Using internet in retirement boosts cognitive function.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210920100910.htm (accessed September 20, 2021).

Biden fires head of Social Security Administration

President Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a holdover from the Trump administration, after Saul refused a request to resign from his position.

Biden fires head of Social Security Administration — https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/562342-biden-fires-head-of-social-security-administration

There will be more changes coming to social security.

Higher taxes, no doubt. But also improved benefits for those in need if I’m reading the Tarot cards correctly.

It’s Time to Revisit Social Security’s Early and Delayed Claiming Formulas

A study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that the delayed credit is still about right, with the exception of the highest earners, who tend to outlive actuarial averages and reap the highest extra benefit. Conversely, the group hurt the most are low-income filers, who tend to claim earlier and effectively are overcharged for doing so. Moreover, the increase in FRA from 65 to 67, enacted in the reforms of 1983, effectively increased the penalty for earlier files. Claimers with an FRA of 67 will receive five years of early filing reductions rather than three.

It’s Time to Revisit Social Security’s Early and Delayed Claiming Formulas — https://www.morningstar.com/articles/1029357/its-time-to-revisit-social-securitys-early-and-delayed-claiming-formulas

The first sentence from the above paragraph caught my eye. So I went on to the BC website.

People can claim Social Security from 62 to 70, with adjustments to keep lifetime benefits the same, on average, regardless of claiming age. The question is whether the adjustments, set decades ago, are still correct, given the decline in interest rates and increase in life expectancy. For the average worker, the analysis shows that the reduction for claiming early is currently too large while the increase for claiming late is about right.

Higher earners – who live longer and claim later – get a really good deal under the current system.

Are Social Security’s Actuarial Adjustments Still Correct? — https://crr.bc.edu/briefs/are-social-securitys-actuarial-adjustments-still-correct/

People with more money tend to live longer. People who defer claiming social security benefits until beyond FRA (full retirement age) are generally healthier, expect to live longer, and are financially secure enough to delay claiming. If the SSA decides to enhance benefits for early retirees it would be a good thing for a lot of people, especially those who have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Wait Till 70 for Social Security? Nope

Schroders surveyed pre- and post-retirees 45 and older and found that only 10% planned to wait until 70 to claim benefits.

Wait Till 70 for Social Security? No Way, Say Most Americans: Survey — https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2021/06/24/wait-till-70-for-social-security-no-way-say-most-americans-survey/

It is painfully obvious to me that the majority of Americans are claiming benefits at both early and full retirement ages because they need the money and can’t afford to wait until age 70. Only healthy elders on financially sound footings will be deferring social security payments until their later years.

Yikes!

How the Lives of Older Citizens Changed in 2020

We all know that Baby Boomers and seniors have had an incredibly challenging time during this pandemic. Older generations have shown particular resilience through this time, with many not being able to see friends and family for months. All in the name of rightly protecting their health. With Government and media messaging telling seniors they are the most vulnerable group, their determination to power through this challenge has been apparent across the world.

A representative group of 1,409 Baby Boomers and seniors from the USA and Canada were polled on behalf of Amica Senior Lifestyles, using Amazon’s online survey platform, Mechanical Turk. Survey responses were fielded in September and October 2020. They were asked a variety of questions relating to their lifestyle changes during and after the global pandemic. The age breakdown of our survey sample was as follows: 
55-64 (24.6%)
65-74 (70.8%)
75-84 (3.8%)
85+ (0.9%)
https://www.amica.ca/conversations/baby-boomers-seniors-coronavirus-statistics#lockdown

The source article is fairly long so I’ve provided the Table of Contents clickable links. I hope they work. Technology adaptation is tougher for the older ones. Did you know my smartphone has a CAMERA?