To Beat Alzheimer’s Beef Up Your Brain

by Kerry Cue

I’m trying to remember the name of a pioneering neuroscientist. ALOIS … What’s his name? You know. ALOIS  … Alzheimer. Alois Alzheimer first observed the  amyloid  plaques in the brain of an otherwise healthy patient in 1906. ALOIS. I think it’s a start if I can remember that name.

The article BANKING AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S written by Professor David Bennet, director of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, was published in  The Scientific American last year. I was expecting to find news of an  imminent  cure, but I  was  sadly disappointed. According to Prof Bennet, who is in charge of  100  scientists working on the project, ‘drug development for treating Alzheimer’s has been slow and marked  mostly by  disappointment.’

Moreover, ’as researchers continue to untangle the intricate web of disease mechanisms, it makes sense to focus on preventing Alzheimer’s in the  first place—to apply what we know about strengthening our brain to withstand the hits that come with aging.’ And  here  is the  big  news.  Subjects  who  faired  better  regarding  Alzheimer’s had  more  neurons, that is heavier brains. So beef up that brain of yours for successful aging.

Dali’s surreal paintings inadvertantly capture the disjointed memory of Alzheimer’s.I added the cloud border to push the imagery even further back into the memory.

11 ways to stave off Alzheimer’s*:

1. Pick your parents well! Then you’ll get good genes, a good education and avoid emotional neglect.

2. Keep physically and mentally active.

3. Be social.

4. Do new things.

5. Relax. Be happy.

6. Avoid negative types including family members.

7. Work hard.

8. Set goals. Find a purpose in life.

9. Healthy heart, healthy mind. Diet and exercise matter.

10. Eat that green leafy stuff and other vegetables.

11. Be lucky!

*As suggested by Professor Bennet according to current reseach.

Weight Loss vs Age: The Winner is …….

by The Sibyls

Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older?

This was the title to an article in the New York Times last week. The answer, according to the medical experts interviewed, is ‘Yes’ for three reasons:

1. We start losing muscle mass at 30 years of age, often replacing it with fat. Muscles use more energy that fat.

2. As we age our declining hormone levels compound this muscle loss.

3. Early weight loss can train our bodies to be more efficient with calorie use. In other words, your metabolism is more efficient.

How Do You Slow Down Aging? Move Fast

The Sibyls

An  encouraging  article  for mature-age  readers  was pubished  in  the New York Times this week.  The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles  (Gretchen Reynolds,  23 March,  2017) reported  on   research   showed   that   ‘decline   in  the   cellular   health   of   muscles   associated  with  aging  was  “corrected”  with  exercise,  especially  if  it  was  intense’  according  to  Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic.

This research highlights one simple message for those in the mature years. GET MOVING.

Erica Jong: Fear of Landing

 

by Renata Singer

Quote Erica Jong

Erica Jong has made it a trifecta.

There was Fear of Flying in 1973. Remember the zipless fuck, a phrase that liberated many young women from the idea that sex had to be tied to a meaningful RELATIONSHIP. Everyone I knew read Fear of Flying.   It was well written, laugh out loud funny and HOT. What’s not to like?

Sibylesque Strong Wind

Fear of Fifty, a memoir, came out in 1994. I didn’t read it because of the lukewarm reviews and not being that interested in Erica Jong’s life. I remember interviews where Jong talked about turning 50 and no longer “feeling a babe” and how men’s eyes didn’t swivel her way any more when she entered the room. The mean-spirited Renata thought, “well darls, join the club.”

Hot off the press is Jong’s Fear of Dying – a novel about an aging actress – she’s 60 – Vanessa Wonderman, with dying parents, a husband who can’t get an erection and a daughter about to have her first baby. Vanessa goes to the website zipless.com looking for sexual partners.

In an interview with Linda Wertheimer on NPR, Jong says she wanted to write about sex and old age. “I thought it was essential to do it, because sex follows us throughout our lives. The need for touch, the need for connection, that never goes away. But the forms of it change. As people age, touch is more important, erections are less important. And I think somebody needs to write about that.”

Jong has not lost her sense of mission and that’s a good thing. But what’s the next title going to be: Fear of Purgatory?

……………………………………………………………………………………. Renata SingerRenata Singer is a writer, community activist and educator who divides her time between Melbourne and New York. She co-founded Fitted for Work after working with Bottomless Closet in New York. Among Renata’s publications are The Front of the Family, True Stories from the Land of Divorce and Goodbye and Hello. Her most recent book “Older and Bolder” is reviewed on this blog here.

Photo Source: pinterest, MUP Website.

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Book Review: Older and Bolder

Sibylesque Renata Quote

REVIEW by Lorna Ebringer

older and bolder cover

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“Old age is not for the faint hearted” a friend told me. She should know. At 93, distressed by both her appearance and not wanting anyone to see her having to use a walking frame, she now refuses to leave her apartment.But perhaps old age is what you make of it. Renata Singer interviewed 28 women aged between 85 and 100 living in Australia and New York and their stories plus research into the way people choose to live in the last three decades of their lives is the subject matter of her new book.

As a baby boomer and therefore heading for 70 I am well and truly in the zone and thinking about all the issues related to growing old.  When is a good time to retire? How much money do we need to live comfortably possibly for many years? How do we remain well? Where are we to live, should we stay in our home or downsize or move into purpose built accommodation for the elderly? How will we cope with the loss of our loved ones? Sibylesque Terrify Kids All these issues are covered in Renata’s book, informed by research and enlivened by the experiences of the wonderful women that contributed to the project, containing “hot tips” covering each matter, it is a must read for those of us who are thinking about how it will be for us and how we are best to cope. Above all it is an optimistic book, those women who have come before us show us that it is possible to live well and joyfully for all of our lives.

 We, THE SIBYLS, declare Renata Singer an Honorary Sibyl for her dogged research, penetrating insight and spirited presentation of older women today. We also commend her for her efforts in establishing Fitted for Work to help unemployed women get back into the workforce.

Publisher’s link here.

Sibylesque Sibyl Approved Maroon

LORNA EBRINGER

LORNA EBRINGER

Lorna Ebringer’s passions include trekking  in remote areas of Georgia, China and Japan, opera appreciation and rock ‘n roll dancing. Her previous posts were Notable Women: Christine de Pizan and When god had a wife.

Photo Source: Publisher’s Website,pinterest…………….

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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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Your memory is a building site you wander around in work clothes constantly repairing, retrieving, and rebuilding.

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque  Billy collins quote

The poem ‘Forgetfulness’ by Billy Collins is one of my all time favourite poems. I first heard it in the car and had to stop the car to listen. I found it hilarious and gloriously lyrical and true to the human condition all at once. You will find the full poem – it’s very short – here.

As I had to lead a workshop on poetry at a recent conference, I started the workshop by reading this poem. The workshop participants, all in the forties and fifties, had one answer.

‘It’s about Alzheimer’s’ they said.

Only one other participant saw the poem as I saw it.

“I thought it was about me’ she said.

Sibylesque Joan Didion Memory quote

And this had me thinking about our perceptions of memory and aging. We protect ourselves from the ‘horrors’ of aging by seeing the OLD as THEM and, naturally, we are US. This keeps us safe. We aren’t like them. Our memories are fine. Maybe, the odd ‘senior’s moment’.

Memory is, has always been, something of a major building project. We collect bric-a-brac and build memories. Then we rebuild these memories, often shoddily, every time we think of them. We neglect some memories. How many of us over 60 can remember how to do a cartwheel, say, or sing Psalm 23, the Psalm you sang in the church you used to go to as a child. Hint: Sheep are involved. Now it is irrelevant to many Australians. Only 8% of us are regular churchgoers.

So memory is not something that is all there or all gone. It is a building site you wander around in work clothes constantly repairing, retrieving, and completely rebuilding when necessary. Some areas are difficult to access. There is a pathway, but where? Often you are peering into the dark. Some memories fade, decay because they never have the light of thought shone upon them. Other memories seem so new, so sparkling, so complete; you stand back and watch them in awe. Other memories are both hidden and dangerous. There should be warning lights, but there are none. Suddenly you are there and the pain is real.

I wrote three books about my childhood when I was in my thirties. Exercising my memory everyday for months, I could recall every cupboard in our kitchen and every object in those cupboards. I could hear my parents speak. How accurate were those memories? Who knows? But they were vivid. Brilliantly vibrant memories.

It is not just the old or demented who forget. We all remember. We all forget.

Or as Billy Collins wrote:

‘and even now as you memorise the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,

the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

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Turning 50? Should it be a Rite of Passage?

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Croning Quote 1Listening to some wonderful stories while attending a Celebrants’ Conference in Sydney the other week, I was flabbergasted to discover there was such a thing as a Croning Ceremony. I was delighted to meet Jacqueline Hope, a Celebrant from WA, who has conducted such a ceremony. See here and here.

Who would want to be called a crone? No one. Yet there are two conflicting meanings of this word: (Free Dictionary)

  1. An old woman considered to be ugly; a hag.
  2. A woman who is venerated for experience, judgment, and wisdom.

Can we reclaim the word crone as a positive force? I doubt it, but many women today treat their 50th birthday as a rite of Passage. This is a New Age take on the pagan/Wicca belief that there are three stages of womanhood: Virgin, Mother, Crone. Of course, others might consider their 60th birthday as their entry into their wise years. Or, perhaps, your 70th birthday has special meaning for you.

The Fabulous Stage is represented by Beatrix Ost, Advanced Style, NY.

The Fabulous Stage is represented by Beatrix Ost, Advanced Style, NY.

The respected mythologist Jospeh Campbell referred to crones appearing to help the child of destiny in a time of danger and obscurity.

Others call this ritual a Wise Woman Ceremony, either way it is claiming the mature years as a positive stage. From Barbara Hannah Grufferman in The Huffingtonpost to The Women at Woodstock, who run weekends for women over 50, women are gathering together to celebrate the joy and wisdom of this their ‘FABULOUS’ stage.

Photo source: Unsourced.

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If we are wise, why don’t we celebrate?

By Jacqueline Hope
Sibylesque Jacqueline Hope Quote

Wise Woman Ceremony for Nicky

These are the words I read as celebrant at the ceremony.

The Reading:

“To each and every one of us here we hold special memories, of this remarkable person who has stepped ever so gently into our hearts and lives and left an indelible footprint, and we honour her for that.

She has many titles daughter, sister, auntie, cousin, friend colleague, neighbour. However she is also a wife, extraordinaire and awesome mother to the joy of her life her beloved sons ….

In these aspects of her persona she has often shone brightly and ever so occasionally there has been some lack lustre. But nothing a fag and a cup of coffee couldn’t sort out! Eh boys?”

Sibylesque  Wise Women Ceremony” It is in her persona of Midwife, she has dedicated the majority of her energy, expertise, joy, love, and wisdom. She has been practicing her ‘wise woman’ skills for more years than she cares to remember.

These hands have been privileged to welcome many, many souls into this world, with tears of joy, and relief!!”

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The Ritual:

The circle of woman join hands and circle to the left and the right of Nicky as the drum is beaten they chanting or singing

“I am the maiden, the Mother, The Crone. (Which ever applies) and we honor and love you Nicky.

One by one the woman jump into the circle and spin around with Nicky until all are within the circle.

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Picture 2

Jacqueline Hope is a very young gorgeous 64-year-old divorcee and forcibly retired midwife, who has worked in England, Dubai, Australia, and Peru. She is a marriage celebrant from WA and has a practice in intuitive counseling whose motto is H.O.P.E  – Hold on pain ends. She is the mother of two grown adult-children a son, who, it seems, are rarely are dazzled by their mother’s, brilliance.   (No prophet is recognized in their own land sigh!) She is saving the ‘pennies’ in the hope of swanning off for another adventure.

Dancing photo source: Unsourced.

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Celebrate Wisdom. It is earned, not given!

By Jacqueline Hope

Sibylesque Wise Woman quote

These are the words read out by Nicky as part of her

Wise Woman Ceremony.

AS A CIRCLE OF WOMEN,
LET US TAKE A MOMENT TO HONOR OUR ANCESTORS,
OUR GRANDMOTHERS & THEIR GRANDMOTHERS
~ THE UNTOLD GENERATIONS OF WOMEN WHO HAVE SAT IN CIRCLE,
SUPPORTING, COMFORTING, GUIDING, TEACHING, LEARNING.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE AIDED & GUIDED BY THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE.
IT IS TO THESE CIRCLES OF WOMEN THAT WE OWE OUR CRONE WISDOM,
THE WISDOM OF CYCLES,   THE WISDOM OF CARING,
THE WISDOM OF EMBRACING LIFE  ~  IN ALL ITS CHANGES & MESSY EXUBERANCE.

Sibylesque 3 muses

WHEN YOU AWAKEN, & ARE FILLED WITH THE DESIRE TO SEE THE HOLINESS IN EVERYDAY LIFE,
SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENS:
ORDINARY LIFE BECOMES EXTRAORDINARY.
AND, THE LITTLE THINGS;   THE  CHALLENGES,    THE DAILY KNOWINGS,
THE VERY PROCESS OF LIFE ITSELF,
BEGINS TO NOURISH YOUR SOUL.

AS YOU MOVE THRU YOUR LIFE,   DARE TO BE FILLED WITH LOVE.
ALLOW LOVE’S GRACE & WISDOM TO FLOURISH IN YOUR HEART.

MAY YOUR LIFE  BE GRACED WITH A DEEP & QUIET RENEWAL.
MAY EACH DAY BRING YOU PEACE, CLARITY, GUIDANCE,  JOY.

MAY BEAUTY SURROUND YOU IN THE JOURNEY AHEAD.
MAY HAPPINESS BE YOUR COMPANION.

MAY YOU SEE YOUR PATH, GLORIOUS & GOLDEN ~
GOODNESS UNFOLDING BEFORE YOU.

MAY WE ALL GO INTO THE WORLD IN PEACE & IN JOY.

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Each person is given a glass of alcohol and with one voice shout out

To THE WISE WOMAN NICKY WELCOME.

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Picture 2

Jacqueline Hope is a very young gorgeous 64-year-old divorcee and forcibly retired midwife, who has worked in England, Dubai, Australia, and Peru. She is a marriage celebrant from WA and has a practice in intuitive counseling whose motto is H.O.P.E  – Hold on pain ends. She is the mother of two grown adult-children a son, who, it seems, are rarely are dazzled by their mother’s, brilliance.   (No prophet is recognized in their own land sigh!) She is saving the ‘pennies’ in the hope of swanning off for another adventure.

Photo source: Unsourced.

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