July 2012

Gardens as Medicine: 5 Things You Need to Know

courtesy of Massachusetts General Hospital

Want to feel better? Think nature. Healing gardens are a growing trend. Many major medical centers, including the 6,300-square-foot rooftop garden at the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care, part of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the NIH Clinical Center, and long-term care facilities, are adding them. And so are homeowners.

The basic elements of a healing or therapeutic garden include:

  • Plants and wildlife
  • Walkways
  • Private sitting areas
  • Shade
  • A water feature

Most are outdoors. Some have raised planters so patients and family members can plant, weed, and work the garden. Sometimes they have medicinal herbs, such as primrose or foxglove.

Posted in Housing |

Three Ways to Make Your Town Dementia-Friendly

I always knew I lived in a cool, progressive place, but Brookline, Mass, the closest town to Boston, just went up another notch for me.

It not only attracts an international community (world-class hospitals and brainy universities everywhere), but now has the distinction of being the first dementia-friendly community in the country.

The initiative “It Takes A Village” finds ways for those with dementia and their caregivers to enjoy cultural offerings around town, include other residents who want to attend, change people’s attitudes towardAlzheimer’s, and trigger memories of long ago.

Posted in Housing |

Eldercare Finally Recognized by Feds


Wahoo, eldercare has arrived! The latest federal survey, which tracks how much time people spent per day working, performing household tasks, engaging in leisure activities, and taking care of children in 2011, has a new category: Eldercare.

This entry into the annual American Time Use Survey (ATUS), put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reflects the deepening responsibilities Americans age 15+ have for providing unpaid care to someone over age 65–perhaps a parent, spouse, relative or friend.

And just wait: Nearly 10,000 people a day in the United States will turn 65 in the U.S. for the next 20 years. As the 78 million baby boomers age, those number of hours are going to escalate big time.

Posted in Caregiving |

July 2012

Do You Mind? Meditation for Caregivers

Grand Velas Riviera Maya via CreativeCommons.org

It’s time to take up meditation. A new UCLA study shows it’s a great stress-buster for caregivers–better, in fact, than a relaxation CD. Participants were taking care of family members with dementia, but it could really apply to any group–and not just caregivers. Who wouldn’t want to feel less depressed and have a sharp brain?

Here are the details from one of my weekly AARP blogs:

For dementia caregivers, it seems that daily meditation can lower depression, improve cognitive functioning—yes, we’re talking about the caregiver here—and even reduce cellular aging caused by stress.

Posted in Caregiving |
Areas of Expertise:
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Award-winning writer specializing in aging and baby boomers for national and custom magazines, the web, companies, and organizations.

Print and Internet: features, news, Q & A’s, profiles, and ghostwriting. Author of two books, including a national book tour.

Corporate Communications: web content, brochures, newsletters, media kits, reports, executive profiles, marketing materials, advertorials, and features.

Check out my latest work for AARP, inspiring people age 50+ for TIME, and my MetLife report on purpose in later life.

Recipient of two fellowships on aging from the New York Times Foundation and the MetLife Foundation.

Blogger for the Huffington Post's new Huff/Post 50 section.


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