Co-housing, revival of the village sentiment

Co-housing in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam there are at least 20 co-housing projects. Most of these projects are established by older people. But what is co-housing and how do you start and maintain a co-housing project? 

From the outset any co-housing project involves a community of people. These people deliberately choose to invest in each other. Moreover, most co-housing projects contribute to the local community, education, and the environment.

To live up to these ideals they organize all sorts of activities, for those that live in the project as well as for outsiders. 

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A great way to beat depression

Walking even when it's difficult

Depression is a huge problem in nowadays society. Both young and old can suffer an overwhelming sense of helplessness and anxiety. 

If you are a cynic you could say people just have too much time to worry. A remark that doesn’t help anybody, nor is it true in my opinion.

This article explains why exercise is a great way to beat depression. Other articles like Why you have to allow yourself to experience your emotions and Being grateful everyday pays off approach the subject from a different angle.

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My mother enjoyed her Life Album immensely

Life Album

My mother was on a closed ward in a nursing home. She suffered from Vascular Dementia. In 2011 the Home asked me to make her a Life Album, a biography of my mother’s life with pictures and text. 

I had made several scrapbooks in the past so the idea appealed to me. And they made the task easy for me by giving me a printed binder, so it was basically a ‘fill in the blanks’ exercise.

I took good care of my mum from the time my father died. But there is one thing I deeply regret: that I didn’t make her a Life Album when she was still okay. I could have asked her so much more details. 

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Strength training to prevent falls in 60-plussers

Unfortunately, aging people believe they are going to hurt themselves if they start lifting weights. That’s not true! According to WebMD experts, one of the best decisions anybody can make is to start building lean muscle, even at age 60 or 70!

Strength training does not only helps you to increase your metabolism and burn fat. It also decreases the risk of serious injury because it strengthens your bones, your body, and your muscles, it helps to deter disease, to increase bone mass, and to make you feel confident and happy in your body and life.

If you are immobile, like in a wheelchair or bed, you can still increase your muscle strength with a modified exercise routine. Even if you use cans of soup for strengthening your biceps it’s better than nothing! 

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Assistive technologies counteract aging conditions

All sorts of conditions determine our everyday behavior, and fix us in time and space. They seem to leave us very little room to maneuver. For instance, given time we will age. Fortunately all kind of assistive technologies can help us to cope with the conditions that inherently accompany aging.

Assistive technologies compensate adverse effects

Tablet

Most of the assistive technologies compensate for the adverse effects of conditions that determine our everyday live:

  • Our innate physical limitations, such as aging;
  • Shortcomings and risks associated with our physical, social and political environment;
  • Laws and rules;
  • Macro-economic developments that determine our financial status;
  • And technological possibilities.

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Why you have to allow yourself to experience your emotions

Experience your emotions

As a child, adults often tell you not to cry, to ignore your sadness. Culturally speaking, we are taught to avoid all unpleasant emotions. At any cost. 

So, our impulse when we experience strong emotions is to escape them. We might do this by drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, staying busy, emotional eating (or restricting food), smoking, and a number of other behaviors that harm us. 

Negative emotions often feel stronger than others. When you are dealing with heartbreak it feels as though the world is ending. No pain has ever felt so concentrated, so deep or so agonizing. 

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New and unexpected risks, a challenge when aging

New and unexpected risks become increasingly challenging as we move on in life. That’s partly because we have already invested heavy in coping with the risks we encountered earlier on. Risk management has become an important part of everyday modern life. This responsibility weights heavy on us. The more since it covers so many topics, such as physical, emotional, and social risks.

Path dependency

New and unexpected risks

This so-called path dependency makes us less resilient to new and unexpected risks. Growing old is an excellent example of such a new, albeit hardly unexpected, challenge. Aging is something we all hope for and at the same time is totally unavoidable.

Of late some debate originated on how we perceive the new and unexpected risks. The most important observation is that we tend to avoid the confrontation with these risks. We also tend to burden others with the handling of these risks. We tend to avoid responsibility and stop all critical self-reflection: ‘New and unexpected? Please not in my backyard!’

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A day in the life of a healthy 60-plusser

A healthy 60-plusser

When we were children, rarely we thought about health and fitness. Unless we got seriously ill, we lived without a care in the world. We ate junk food, played games for hours on end, and drank soda pops at midnight. And the best thing? We never had to pay for it. Our bodies were in superb condition no matter what we put them through!

As we get older, our thoughts invariably switch to our health. We realize that we simply cannot sustain a life of indulgence. We want to extend our life expectancy and be free of debilitating conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis.

So we have to get active and we have to keep fit.

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How we prevent the ‘oatmeal porridge catastrophe’

oatmeal porridge catastrophe

Will we all and only eat oatmeal porridge in 2050?
The answer is yes if we are to believe a recent article in the German newspaper Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung. In 2050 10 billion people will inhabit the earth. The challenge is to stretch our agricultural capacities within the limits of our environmental capacities. If we can’t, we will all have to eat oatmeal porridge in 30 years.

Personally I am not a fan of porridge, let alone oatmeal porridge. Besides I am not sure that’s a healthy food. That’s why, in my personal view, it’s an obvious but also astoundingly interesting challenge to prevent the ‘oatmeal porridge catastrophe’.

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Portion distortion at your plate

Pasta Ratatouille Bake – One of my favorite recipes

A good health as well as a poor health are quite often attributed to our diet. There is a limited truth in this. Our age, the height and weight of our body, our lifestyle, and also our hormones, potential medication, and our health status, contribute to how we feel. As far as food can make us feel better, it is good to reflect on our dietary intake.

Good health, good weight, and good food

Although there is an abundant amount of information on the Internet on food, it’s very easy to get totally at loss. Just try to answer the question how you can combine the goal of a steady and acceptable weight, with a good health and exceptional good food. The best I found on the Internet is the ‘weight loss plan’ of the National Health Service (NHS UK – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/start-the-nhs-weight-loss-plan/).

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