ADVICE FOR YOUR BUCKET LIST

Do you know what a bucket list is? Most people think it is a list of things you want to do before you die. A typical guess is people want to visit a particular place before dying. Based on an unscientific poll about bucket lists, that is not a bad guess. Travel appears to be a frequent bucket list ambition.  Anne is an American who is proud her ancestors lived for centuries on the group of small islands in the English Channel between the southern coast of England and mainland Europe.

REDUCE STRESS, INCREASE ENJOYMENT FOR A HAPPY 2018

Family caregivers provide practical assistance and enhance the quality of life for frail seniors who might otherwise require placement in a long-term-care facility. Typically, caregivers are spouses or adult children, many of whom are seniors themselves. Their role involves physical, psychological, emotional and financial demands. It can be a heavy load.  If you are a caregiver, consider the following strategies for not only surviving but thriving in the year ahead.

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DISCOVER A LOVE OF LIFELONG LEARNING

Curiosity, exploring interests and engagement are a few crucial ingredients to healthy and happy longevity. Enrolling in a class just for the love of learning is a great way to do this. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Kentucky offers educational and enrichment courses, forums, shared interest groups, trips and more for adults age 50 years and older. Membership for the full year is $25; summer programs are at a prorated fee.

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A woman’s wellness is directly tied to her ability to engage in economically productive activities, to garner more income and financial independence to increase household spending on nutrition, health and education, leading to stability and growth. Researchers for The 90+ Study at the University of California Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders have been focusing on questions such as, “What kinds of things can people change in their lives to so they might live longer? What makes people live to age 90 and beyond? What types of food, activities or lifestyles are associated with living longer?” The researchers conclude both genetics and lifestyle play key roles in understanding the aging process.


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Women who are maintaining healthy families serve as a litmus test for the economic strength of communities. Across her lifespan, a woman’s health status matters to herself, her family and to her community. While life expectancy is higher for women than men in most countries, a number of health and social factors combine to create a lower quality of life for women.


Men dying sooner than women makes sense biologically: Because 105 males are born for every 100 females, it would ensure there are about the same number of men and women at reproductive ages. But even though women showed a longer life expectancy in almost every human society in the past decade, the size of the advantage varied greatly. For example, in the United States, male life expectancy was 73.4 years for males and 80.1 years for females, a difference of 6.7 years. In France the difference was 7.8 years and in the United Kingdom it was 5.3 years. The discrepancy was much greater in some countries, such as Russia (more than 12 years,) but in others, such as India (0.6 years) or Bangladesh (0.1 years), it was much less.


Women, more so than men, are attentive to their bodies and needs and often carry on deeper dialogues more easily with their doctors. Women may be better able to glean greater profit from modern medical and social advances by practicing activities that are healthier and

HEALTH, WELLNESS AND LONGEVITY IN WOMEN

better protect their bodies. In this context, women’s biological advantage appears relatively minor in the total mortality differences between the sexes.


During the first year of life, in the absence of any outside influence that could differentiate mortality between the sexes, male mortality is 25 percent to 30 percent greater than female mortality. The genetic advantage of females is evident. When a mutation of one of the genes of the X chromosome occurs, females have a second X to compensate, whereas all genes of the unique X chromosome of males express themselves, even if they are deleterious. More generally, the genetic difference between the sexes is associated with better resistance to biological aging. Furthermore, female hormones and the role of women in reproduction have been linked to greater longevity. Estrogen, for example, facilitates the elimination of bad cholesterol and thus may offer some protection against heart disease. Testosterone, on the other hand, has been linked to violence and risk taking. Finally, the female body makes reserves to accommodate the needs of pregnancy and breast feeding; this characteristic has been associated with a greater ability to cope with overeating and eliminating excess food.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by dr thomas W. Miller