Posted by: VIDA | April 16, 2010

Want to get rid of lower back pain?

The newer, high-tech treatments, such as steroid injections and artificial disc replacement sound impressive. But experts say studies have not shown many of these invasive and expensive therapies to be effective at curing lower-back pain; the best interventions are actually the simple techniques you can do at home: Take drugstore analgesics, apply heat to the sore area, and don’t over-exert yourself until the discomfort goes away. And remember to stay mobile; weakening the muscles through disuse only makes your back situation worse.

Source: More Magazine

Posted by: VIDA | April 16, 2010

After 50, Learning to Please Myself

It took my fifties to get me to a place of self awareness.  Before then, my life was spent pleasing others more than pleasing myself. I felt guilty if I could not give others ninety-nine percent of my time giving myself the left over one-percent.

My first is having the confidence to live my dreams, to be myself and to not be afraid of aging. Now, I feel worthy of good treatment from relationships, and when the relationship is not healthy, I can walk away and feel good about it. I saw the attractiveness of my own self image, as I give myself permission to be all that, I should be….first.

I once worked on a political campaign, which was getting on my last nerve.  I didn’t want to let the candidate down or disappoint the committee members involved. But, to stay actively involved, I was taking herbal nerve pills. Only to find out at the end that I really wasn’t appreciated for all the planning and effect that I put into the campaign.

Standing up for self and putting self first, is the best medicine for the soul. I am so thankful for life and everyday is a day of living my dreams. Now, when I am helping others, I know the balance. I know how to give without losing myself. Now it is so clear that aging gives strength to make a better decision about life. There are many firsts. The confidence in me started the list.

by Josie Slaton Terry
Source: More Magazine

In this March 25, 2010, Experience Corps tutor Barbara Johnson helps out in a kindergarten class at Belmont Elementary in Baltimore. Experience Corps, a program operating in 22 cities nationwide, trains volunteers over 55 to tutor and mentor elementary school students. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

For 73-year-old Rosetta Handy, and the second-graders who dote on her, it’s a 50/50 proposition, with winners all around.

“They help me as much as I help them,” said Handy of her volunteer work as a tutor at Belmont Elementary School in a low-income West Baltimore neighborhood. “They give you energy. You learn psychology all over again.”

Recent research indicates that Handy knows of what she speaks — documenting significant health benefits for the tutors.

Handy, who worked many years for the Social Security Administration, is in her fifth year with the Experience Corps, a program operating in 22 cities nationwide that trains volunteers over 55 to tutor and mentor elementary school students.

Roughly 2,000 volunteers currently work with about 20,000 students, but the Experience Corps — buoyed by positive feedback and encouraging research — hopes to double its scope within five years.

The program’s concepts have seemed promising ever since it was founded as a pilot project in 1995, but new academic studies have validated the optimism that it’s a boon for the volunteers as well as the students.

– A two-year, $2 million study completed in 2009 by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, involving 881 second- and third-graders in three cities, found that students with Experience Corps tutors made over 60 percent more progress with reading comprehension and sounding out new words than comparable students not in the program.

– Separate studies by Washington University and by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that the tutoring led to measurable improvements for the volunteers — compared to adults of similar age and demographics — in physical activity and mental health.

One small-scale study reported in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences last year — which included sophisticated neuroimaging of 17 study members over 60 — including eight Experience Corps volunteers in Baltimore — suggested that tutoring young children in reading and math could delay or even reverse brain aging.

The lead researcher, professor Michelle Carlson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is launching a far larger, multiyear study to pursue these preliminary findings. The study focuses on the same population that makes up a majority of the tutors in Baltimore — predominantly African-American women, with modest incomes and an above-average risk of various health problems.

“Ideally, we’d like to see if this mentoring program reduces the risk for dementia and other costly diseases,” said Carlson. “We’ll be looking at whether we can recalibrate their rate of aging — and show that people at the greatest health risk are the ones who can benefit most immediately.”

There has been extensive research in recent years suggesting that mental exercises such as crossword puzzles could help elderly people slow the deterioration of their brain. But Carlson said it’s possible that tutoring children might be even more effective by integrating cognitive, physical and social activity.

“How many crossword puzzles can you do before you get bored with them?” she asked. “This tutoring gets people engaged in doing what the brain is supposed to do — the brain is a social organ.”

“The message to them is to take all their accumulated wisdom of a lifetime and give it back to help other people,” Carlson said. “They get out of bed in the morning, even when they don’t feel great, because they have a social contract with the kids at school. They know a child is waiting for them.”

Minnie Broady, a 62-year-old volunteer, doesn’t need any research findings to know that the tutoring has rejuvenated her. A former teacher at Baltimore City Community College, she was sidelined by a heart attack and deeply depressed at what might lie ahead.

Now, she feels better than she has in years — mentally and physically.

“This has saved my life — I’m not going to lie to you,” she said, her voice briefly breaking with emotion. “Some of the children are a challenge, but it has been a great help to me.”

She’s no pushover — some of the students call her “sarge’ and she preaches the need for self-respect and responsibility.

“They need that,” she said. “They feel that they can do whatever they want to do, and there’s no repercussions.”

The Baltimore tutors generally work 15 hours a week, receiving an annual stipend of about $2,800 that helps cover transportation costs, school lunches and occasional treats for the kids.

At Belmont Elementary, where virtually all of the 300-plus students are black, Experience Corps has provided a team leader and 14 tutors — one assigned to every kindergarten through third grade class, plus Broady who tutors fourth graders.

In the classrooms, the tutors generally work with one or two students at a time, giving them extra practice on math or reading. If a child is acting up, the tutor can take him or her aside for a quiet discussion while the regular teacher proceeds uninterrupted with the other students.

“You can imagine the difference having 15 extra mature adults around the school,” said Sylvia McGill, director of Experience Corps’ Baltimore operation. “The principals tell us it’s more teachable, calmer environment, and a lot of young, first-year teachers say they wouldn’t have made it without their volunteer.”

One of those rookie teachers, Jennifer Ries, was getting help from Elizabeth Dorsey — a patient, soft-spoken tutor — in a bright-colored classroom filled with 17 third-graders.

“The kids love her,” said Ries, 22. “They like having another adult around.”

Later, with neither teacher nor tutor in earshot, 8-year-old Kayla Smith confirmed that assessment about Dorsey.

“She helps us with things,” said Kayla. “We only have to raise our hand — she’ll some over and explain it to us. She’s real nice.”

Dorsey, 67, retired five years ago after a career as a civil servant in nearby Howard County and was looking for something to do. She’d taught adult literature classes before, but when it came to engaging with children, “I always stayed away.”

And now — after experiencing the Experience Corps?

“I do like them,” she said, sounding almost surprised. “It’s amazing. Even the ones who you think you’re not getting close to, all of a sudden one day they’ll jump up and give you a hug.”

It’s not always jovial. One of the day’s lessons entailed discussion of which is more important — family or money.

“One boy asked me: ‘Suppose your family is a mean family?'” Dorsey recounted. “I could tell he was talking about his own family. That was a little sad moment.”

Barbara Johnson, who tutors in a kindergarten class, observes children coming to school who — in behavior and appearance — appear to be neglected.

“They need some mentoring, some TLC,” said Johnson, 70, who moved to Baltimore after a career with the postal service in upstate New York.

“It’s the quality of the time that you give then — the tone of voice,” she said. “Children can tell when you really care.”

Another Belmont volunteer, Carolyn Scott-Harris, retired in 2008 after 28 years as a corrections officer at the Baltimore city jail. Even in some of the first-graders she tutors, she notices the impact of growing up in a tough environment.

“All the girls are pretty sweet. … but some of the boys are so out of line, so wild,” said Scott-Harris, 64. “Most of them are very smart, all of them are a little street-wise, some are overly street-wise.”

Nationally, Experience Corps spends about $23 million on its operations, according to its CEO, Lester Strong. It relies on a mix of funding sources — including federal funds from AmeriCorps, private donations, and payments from the school districts it serves.

In Baltimore, principals who want the tutors are asked to contribute $20,000 from the own school budgets — covering about a quarter of the program cost.

Strong hopes the overall budget will grow so the program can multiply in size while maintaining high standards.

“The program is a triple win — for our tutors, for our children and for the schools,” he said. “Everyone benefits.”

By David Crary, Associated Press

Source: Global Action on Aging

Posted by: VIDA | March 18, 2010

When is a senior not a senior?

French businesses are increasingly asking themselves how the over-50s should be referred to, in light of the fact that the population is becoming more heterogenous as the population gets older and lives longer.
A survey asked this semantic question to a group of 50-plus in an attempt to find out how they think of themselves: 50somethings want to be called “seniors,” 60somethings see themselves as “seniors” or “retraités” (retired), 70somethings like “retraités” or “personnes âgées” (old people), and 80somethings prefer “personnes âgées” ( 9.21.09).
Interestingly, the population as a whole has a different take on what to call this group. The French feel that:

  • “Un baby-boomer” is a person aged about 56.
  • “Un ainée” (elder) is about 58.
  • “Un senior” is about 61.
  • “Un vétéran” (someone who has experience) is about 68.
  • “Un ancien” (old person) is about 72.
  • “Une personne âgée” (old person) is about 74 ;
  • “Un vieux” (elder) is about 76.

However, these designations are relative depending on the age of the speaker: For a 20something, a person is old at age 69, while a 50something believe you’re not old until age 80.


  • As seniors live longer, and differences in age become more noticeable, it’s increasingly important to them to be described “fairly” and in a way that is in keeping with their view of themselves — however difficult and varying that may be.

Copyright Iconoculture 2008:

Posted by: VIDA | March 18, 2010


EURAG MEMORY TRAINING CENTER, Czech Society for Memory Training and Brain Jogging
and Cultural House, Bubenska 1, Praha 7


Working language: English
The seminar will be held from Thursday May 21 till Sunday May 30, 2010 / ten days /
in the lecture hall of the Cultural House Vltavska (metro line C, Vltavska station) under the guidance of:

Professor Jaro Krivohlavy Ph.D.: Introduction into the Psychology of Memory
Ing. Dana Steinova: Strategy and motivation, mnemonics – perfect compensation of imperfection of human brain, training of different cognitive skills such as language, concentration, encoding and decoding of information,how to built reserve brain capacity
Vera Kleplova M.D.: Jogging for the brain – how to increase brainpower with  physical excercise, psychomotorics
Associate prof. Ales Bartos, M.D, Ph.D.: Brain and its functions

 It is assumed that the proceedings will take place  from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm daily.
This training seminar is intended for seniors representing senior organisations which are in need of a memory training instructor. Seminar leavers will obtain the memory trainer´s certificate if they pass the final exam.The new memory trainers are expected to use their new skills in order to help to re-discover the potencial and increase self-confidence, self-esteem and the quality of life of their peers, not only from their own organisation, but also offer memory training classes for public over 50.Training is intended for healthy senior population and can be modified as a form  of cognitive rehabilitation for other target groups including people suffering from dementia.
 The seminar registration fee 10.000 CZK  payable by cheque or bank transfer  till April 20th,2010 / approx. 350 EUR /, includes lunches and refreshments during breaks, teaching material for memory trainers and CD with demonstration of physical exercise.
 The private accommodation with Czech seniors in single or double rooms including breakfasts and dinners from May 20th-31th,2010 will be provided for a token price 666 CZK per day, payable in cash in CZK  upon arrival /approx. 25 EUR/, free afternoon guided tours are a part of the package based on solidarity among senior citizens. Representatives of EURAG member organisations are getting  priority.

 Deadline for applications March 31st 2010.
Send your application by e-mail to the seminar co-ordinator : or by mail to her postal  address: Ing. Dana Steinova, Leckova 1520, 149 00 Praha 4, Czech Republic,
mobil phone 00420 608 552 113, fax 00420 272931248,

The content of the program reflects the substantial level of knowledge possessed by researchers and practitioners across Europe, as well as the importance that government agencies attach to issues relating to the elderly.

Micasa Fastigheter’s Board Chairman and Commissioner for the Elderly, Ewa Samuelsson, will of course open the conference and welcome delegates to Stockholm. Micasa Fastigheter intends to organize a number of interesting study visits for Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

The intention is to display modern eldercare and show what is happening in Sweden regarding research into technologies for the elderly in collaboration with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

A special area adjoining the conference venue will be set up where companies can exhibit their products and services.

website .:

Friday 29 january 2010 will take place in Rome the Launch Seminar of Grundtvig Project LEADLAB.
Project LEAD-LAB moves from the hypotesis that an andragogic paradigm based on personalization and self-learning approaches allows to develop NVEA paths that improve adult partecipation in Lifelong Learning and to promote successful learning outcomes. LEAD-LAB aims to support european NVEA system by developing a new andragogic approach integrating personalization and self-learning methodologies on the basis of the model and practices developed and applied in the partner countries; it also aims to introduce a new professional, a teacher/trainer in possession of the strategic competences to guide and scaffold adult learners, the “Learning Personalization Trainer” (LPT).

Further to the announcement of the forthcoming International Symposium, entitled Tackling Unemployment in the EU through Social Inclusion and Training Programmes, I am pleased to advise you that confirmed speakers now include:

  • Mr. Egbert Holthuis, Deputy Head of Unit, European Employment Strategy, DG EMPL, European Commission
  • Prof. Adrian Sinfield PhD, Professor Emeritus in Social Policy, University of Edinburgh
  • Mr. Michele Caladrino, Policy Analyst Social Policy, DG EMPL, European Commission
  • Mr. Hendrik Pinxten PhD, Professor, University of Gent (Chair)

The event will take place on Tuesday 23rd February 2010 at The Renaissance Hotel, Brussels.

This special International Symposium provides a timely opportunity for stakeholders across the EU to discuss the root causes behind current unemployment trends, exchange best practices and consider mechanisms for overcoming existing employment gaps in the labour market. The Symposium will facilitate mind mapping for comprehensive EU and national action plans for promoting social inclusion, better access to education and training and also examine their contribution towards building a sustainable lifestyle model for European Citizens.

The Centre for Parliamentary Studies welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.

For further details, please see the attached programme or visit our website. Do feel free to circulate this information to relevant colleagues within your organisation.

Jessie Punia
Public Policy Exchange
14 Great College Street
London SW1P 3RX

Tel: 0845 606 1535
Fax: 0845 606 1539

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has the pleasure to extend an invitation to you to the preparatory meeting for the Joint Programming Initiative “Demographic Change / Health and Ageing Living independently and actively in old age” to be held in Berlin, Germany, 28th/29th of January 2010. Read More…

The FamCompass will particularly interest educational institutes and employers in the sectors of care, social work, education etc. Centers for job coaching and employment might also find it useful to support and empower their clients.
The project website ( ) gives access to the full text version of the instrument in all available languages and to the web application of the tool. Read More…

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