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Play It Again: The Benefits of Introducing Play to People with Dementia

The Dutch historian Johan Huizinga has suggested that play is “at the heart of human activity and is what gives meaning to life,” regardless of age. Recently, researchers have extended the investigation of play to the role that it can take in dementia care. The authors note that here, “Play is not used to infantilize and trivialize people living with dementia, but as a way to...

Going to Pot: Older Adults and Legalized Marijuana

In 2014, a nationally representative survey found that 5.1 percent of adults over 50 had used cannabis in the past month, and the rate of cannabis use among older adults is expected to rise. The majority of older cannabis users reported using it less than once every 10 days, but nearly a quarter report using cannabis at least three to four times per week. Only 2 percent of older...

A Little Exercise Goes a Long Way: Cognitive Benefits Gained from the Briefest of Workouts

Numerous studies have found an association between physical activity and later cognitive performance, but most have relied on self-reported activity. A recent study tried to get a more precise picture of the relationship between physical activity and later cognitive performance by using accelerometers to directly measure physical activity. Researchers gave 6,452 older adults with an...

Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear: How Older Adults Gauge Distance

Over the years, research has demonstrated that human perception is never quite as simple as it appears. For example, we know data taken in through the human eye interacts with the brain to fill in missing information about the scenery in our environment. Furthermore, we also know from prior perception research that the distance we are located from an object can appear farther or closer...

TRENDING NOW: Adult Playgrounds

Adult playgrounds have long been popular in China, Japan, and parts of Europe and South America, and now the concept is increasingly being adopted in the United States as well. These unique playgrounds provide an outdoor space that offers older adults opportunities for physical activity and social interaction. Some of these playgrounds resemble “jungle gyms” and are geared toward...

A Second Life for Isolated Older Adults? A Real-Life Look at Using Virtual Environments for Socializing

Advances in Internet technology have enabled the creation of immersive, realistic 3-D online environments. One of the most popular of these is Second Life, a world that users can explore to find areas and people of interest. Users of Second Life create avatars of themselves, which can then explore this virtual world and interact with other users in the world. Second Life users can...

Taking Charge: Lessons from Letting Older Adults Self-Direct Their Care

As the number of care options available for older adults has grown, many older adults and policymakers are championing the concept of self-direction—the idea that even older consumers with severe disabilities could be in charge of their own care. An evaluation of one program based on the principles of self-direction (the Cash and Counseling Demonstration) has shown that self-directed...

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