09 Aug Senior swimmer leads the way in personal challenges

"Life teaches us that youthful success is easy. Success is incredibly accessible if you define it conveniently, as those second-rate compromises we settle for every day or as choosing safety over challenging yourself. Diana looked us in the eye and said with love but without equivocation, No, you can do better. You know you can. Get up, wake up, you can do whatever you set your mind to, or at least you can try. Diana wouldn’t let us get away with using age as a rationalization for being tentative about challenging ourselves. This swim was about setting the bar low for an entire generation. It was about the importance of reaching beyond our grasp, whatever the day, whatever the outcome, about the courage to risk engaging in life with our best selves." (Source: Diana Nyad Extreme Dream, "Lessons from the Swim").


Talk about setting the bar high.

Since yesterday, 61 year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad has been making headlines over her attempt to swim across the shark-infested waters between Cuba and the Florida Keys. Ms. Nyad first attempted to traverse these waters in 1978, but was forced to end the swim after 41 hours. Hailed by CNN as “a hero”, winds from 5-10 knots an hour again forced Nyad to end this latest swim after an astounding 29 hours in the water.

Nyad’s swim garnered heavy coverage from newspaper and networks around the world. Conventional newspapers provide readers with lengthier articles chronicling and analyzing events while, or after they happen. Social media sites like Twitter provide readers with a new way to follow current events: Minute-by-minute, as every detail unfolds.

Reading a longer article is rewarding and wrought with interesting detail and facts. But following along on sites like Twitter give the same events a fresh sense of what sometimes seems like breathless excitement. Ms. Nyad’s Twitter feed is a perfect example. 

Ms. Nyad’s companion boat was there to keep an eye out for her health and safety. Fortunately it was also filled with dedicated “tweeters”, who posted short, up-to-the minute updates as they rolled in. (Click here to her account) . For those new to Twitter, it’s important to note that updates are posted in reverse-chronological order. So, the postings (a.k.a., “tweets”) you read first are the most recent. Scroll to the bottom to look farther back into the details from the start.

A senior citizen, Ms. Nyad has said that she hoped her swim would inspire others her age to live an active lifestyle. Nyad’s challenge was clearly a physical one, but just as rewarding can be learning new tasks or exploring new ideas.

Read your favourite papers online, but perhaps try following along with events on twitter. Many newspapers have their own accounts and often “live blog” the events. See how simple and easy it can be to email these links to friends and family so they can follow along too. Maybe even start your own social media account (like Facebook) to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the lives of your loved ones.

Challenges come in all shapes and sizes. What will yours be?

22 Jul And now for something completely different…

If it’s true that imitation really is the highest form of flattery, then Michael Bublé should be feeling very proud of himself right now. Click here to watch this YouTube video produced by the Film & Video Production students and department at Grand Valley State and staring the residents of Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Together these teams have created what could be the next YouTube sensation.

Hopefully this jump into the digital world will encourage many of these seniors to hop on their computer and email their work of art to family and friends.  Though many older adults can be intimidated by the fact they have little to no computer experience, InTouchLink’s easy email for seniors keeps things simple. Our specially-designed, senior-friendly system guides users through emailing, surfing the web and updating their own calendars and personalized photo albums – perfect for sharing great videos like this one!

18 Jul Feeling the Heat

A major heatwave is currently hovering over the United States and Canada, prompting the issuance of heat alerts and warnings targeted to elderly and vulnerable populations. These warnings are raising awareness of the health implications extreme heat can have on an older body, but they're also drawing attention to the fact that the definiton of "senior" can often depend on the perceptions of the individual.

In her article "Elderly ignore heat warnings – because they're not old" MSNBC contributor Linda Carroll highlights that while the United States Older American's act is targeted towards those 60+, there are few 60 year-olds who consider themselves to fit the bill as "elderly". Semantics aside, age may be a state of mind, but the internal workings of the body can't be ignored.

Click here to read more.

13 Jul New York shows it’s the little things that count

Demographers have been saying it for years: The silver tsunami is going to hit.

In addition to social programming, healthcare and accessible housing, major cities out of the States are now focusing on making their communities more age-friendly. Atlanta, Philadelphia and Portland have all launched research and initiatives. Never one to be left behind, one of New York's ideas is also the simplest. In East Brooklyn, a row of shops now place folding chairs outside their stores for anyone who may need a quick rest.

Click here to read more.

12 Jul Retirement: Making the jump

Some have spent their lives dreaming of the "Freedom 55" club. The chance to travel, spend more time with the grandkids and explore hobbies and passions. Others may have a harder time transitioning from a full-time working life to one of relaxation and open possibilities. When you spend so many years focused on growing your career, how do you let go?

Bill Roiter as written a great article exploring this topic and the common feelings and challenges associated with this time. For those who can't tear themselves away from the desk (or the blackberry) Roiter provides some thoughtful strategies to help you have the best of both worlds.

Click here to read more.

11 Jul Online dating sites see spike in users age 55+

The silver wave that’s sweeping the digital world is showing no signs of letting up. Dating sites – from match.com to Plenty of Fish and eharmony.com – are all reporting increased enrollment in users age 55+. A recent article in USA Today tells the story of Lynn Eckert and Richard Stelter, newlyweds who met on the dating site www.plentyoffish.com. Apparently their success isn’t so unusual: Research out of Iowa State University has found that older adults who head online in their quest for love tend to have high success rates and shorter courtships to boot. With InTouchLink, getting online is easier than ever. It could just be the first step to finding Mr. or Mrs. Right!

Click here to read more.


08 Jul What’s old is new again

Did you have a favourite pastime in your younger days that gradually slipped away with time and the demands of adulthood? With the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, ballet instructor Barbara Owen (now 75) began offering ballet classes 17 years ago to what she terms as “middle adults”. Since 1995 Owen's classes have attracted students ranging from ages 45-60+, offering a fun, challenging experience that is great for building physical strength and social connections. Since that first class, Owen has helped countless adults re-kindle their passion for ballet.

Click here to read more.

07 Jul There’s room to spare

A new study published by the Canadian Mortgage Housing shows that in the last year, the availability of senior’s rental housing has been on an upswing. There’s more good news for anyone considering moving in: In an ongoing trend, homes have been increasing the number of services offered to residents. Services range from healthcare (on-site nurse service, on-site pharmacies) to recreation (movie theatres and swimming pools). And of course don't forget that more and more communities are offering easy-to-use internet and email services together with enhanced communication courtesy of InTouchLink.

Click here to read more.

06 Jul Stay fit to stay young

We’ve all heard the connection between physical and mental fitness. St. Louis-based personal trainer Bret Stanwich is helping to make that goal even easier for local seniors. With a focus on functional fitness, Stanwich provides in-home personal training  featuring exercises designed to be both preventative, and to make day-to-day tasks a little easier. Click here to read more about Bret and some reviews from his happy clients.

05 Jul Seniors: The fastest growing demographic on Facebook

In the last year, social media has really started catching on among the 50+ crowd.

According to this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune, seniors make up the quickest growing demographic on the social media giant Facebook. The PEW Research Center backs up these findings: their research indicates that the number of senior’s enjoying some social networking time has jumped from 22 to 42 per cent since last year.

Keeping up with the grandkids has now gone digital.

Click here to learn more.