Old Age: The Doddery vs The Dazzling

by Kerry Cue

sibylesque Iris Apfel quote

The doddery Old Age stereotype versus dynamic new old Agers was dramatically apparent in The Australian Weekend Review, (22 Aug 2015. There is a paywall but you can see the cartoon here.) Deidre Macken wrote a thoughtful and lively article about older women, which left anyone over the age of 60 feeling foot-tappin’ good about getting old.
Iris Apfel Fashion Icon 93

Primarily, Macken paid homage to Iris Apfel a New York fashion icon at 93, who is the star of a documentary titled simply Iris (below).

Macken also captured the dynamic zeitgeist of aging for a new generation of women.

‘Finally relieved of kids, parents’ stuff, jobs and sometimes partners, women of the first youth generation are in the mood for breaking out again.’ Too true.

But the cartoon accompanying Macken’s intelligent piece dished up the same old shriveled-cold-tripe imagery we mature age readers are fed daily namely a sketch of three doddery oldies on walking frames. The cartoon had nothing to do with the article theme. Even if we see old women bush walking, riding bikes and pumping more iron than that cartoonist (Jon Kudelka. Google him), we are still surrounded with these negative stereotypes. But as Macken noted:

‘You’re only old once.’ And we are not about to beige up and fade away.

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 We, THE SIBYLS, declare Deidre Macken an Honorary Sibyl for her insightful writing, her independent thinking and her intelligent reporting on the lives of vibrant older women.

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Deirdre Macken

Deirdre Macken

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Best known as a journalist and columnist, Deirdre Macken wrote on business and marketing for The Australian 1975-1979, worked for The Age 1979-1987 and was a senior writer on The Sydney Morning Herald and its Good Weekend from 1987-1999. She is currently a columnist and senior writer for The Australian.

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Photo source: Film Website

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The One-Size-Fits-All Life

by Penny Cook

Sibylesque One size fits all quoteOne Size Fits All! 

In this world of litigation … how useful is that term? Can I assume that I am included in ‘all’? So … what if the ‘one size fits all’ garment doesn’t fit me? Can I go to the sales person and say …’hello. I’m ‘all’ and this doesn’t fit?’ I haven’t had this experience yet but as I’m ageing I’m thinking it might happen soon’… In fact, I know it will. Would it not be better to say ..’might fit all’.

Sibylesque Mannequin Joke 1

As a consumer and shopper of garments … I don’t want to be misled. Don’t tell me this will fit everyone, without saying ‘yes..,it might fit you but it will look awful’. It’s hard enough to live with my changing shape, but don’t mislead me. If you say ‘one size fits all’, shouldn’t there be some social accountability?

Ditto life. As we age, should ‘One Size Fit All?’ More significantly, are we then pressured into fitting the bland and limiting one size mold?

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Penny CookPenny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. Penny is a mother and ‘Nan Pen’, who is continuously fascinated and amazed by her two young grandchildren.  She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!!…….

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Photo source: Little Robin Photography (links unsourced)

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Please Squeeze: Why Pelvic Floor Exercises Count at your age!

by Annie James

Sibylesque Pelvic Floor Joke quote

A bit of essential leg-crossing when there’s no loo nearby? Not too keen on star jumps or sneezing bouts? The resorting to panty-liners to blot the odd leak? These are all signs that your pelvic floor muscles would like some attention, some action.

With age and especially following a vaginal delivery, the cradle of muscles around urethra (urine outlet) become less effective in contracting well and exercises may be all that’s required to make them effective again. The results can be seen quickly and the problem resolved. If you don’t know whether you’re using the correct muscles you can try stopping your urine flow mid-stream. This is not recommended as an exercise but will give you the correct sensation of ‘drawing up’ your pelvic floor and you’ll then be able to do it whenever you want.

Sibylesque  Pelvic Floor Joke

Ideally do it at least 6 times, 2-3 times a day, and try and vary length of hold, and how high you feel you’re lifting. It shouldn’t be obvious to anyone that you’re doing the exercises so make sure you breath normally! I know it seems a lot of exercise for one lot of muscles but if you do them say, once at traffic lights, once lying in bed and once when cleaning teeth or waiting for a coffee, it’s a breeze.

Please note, if you don’t have an idea of how to do the exercise or the problems continue, do see your GP or a specialist Physiotherapist for advice and other treatment.

Believe me, you’ll enjoy a much happier older age if you keep these muscles active; improves enjoyment of sex too!

You will find everything you could ever want to know about incontinence and more if you download this brochure from the Continence Foundation of Australia.

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Babylonian Sibyl

Babylonian Sibyl

Annie James is an adventurous spirit, who is passionate about women’s health. She has worked as a physiotherapist and also hikes and plays tennis.

Photo source: Social History Archives

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Why you should avoid geriatric talk

Roman border  dark red

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I’m not senile… If I burn the house down it will be on purpose.dark red quote 2

…………………………………..Margaret Attwood, The Blind Assassin

Sibylesque Signature dark redRoman border  dark red …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Age makes weary, but words condemn.

senior hippies wrinkleOld age creeps up on us all, but we can stay lively all our lives. Old Age, however, has had a long history of bad press. As a consequence, it is very easy to develop a ‘geriatric’ mindset and start using geriatric language. This is how it works. One day, without realising it, you say ‘I had a fall’ rather than ‘I fell over’, ‘I had a funny turn’ instead of ‘I felt dizzy’ and ‘My mind is going’ or ‘I can’t remember a thing’ in stead of ‘I forgot’.

This is important. Research shows that immersing yourself in ‘debilitating’ language slows you  down. Scientists have actually measured the walking pace of subjects. Young and old. The reverse is also true. Using ‘energetic’ language will speed you up.

What more can I say? Go wild. It’ll do you some good.

Reference: How to Age, Anne Karpf,  The School of Life (2014), p48

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