Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Digital Dementia


Hi Readers, I recently attended a professional seminar and learned about digital dementia. While conducting research on this topic, the majority of resources online are from dot coms, YouTube clips, and magazines instead of scholarly research, although the condition was identified almost ten years ago.

Digital dementia is deterioration of brain functioning caused by overuse of technological devices. As my readers know, my goal is to demystify aging and provide credible information based on facts and empirical research. There are two sides to the digital dementia conundrum.

There is evidence that “tech overload” or “outsourcing” of the brain by overuse of technology creates dementia-like symptoms across all age groups. Symptoms include delayed recall, reduced comprehension, and poor concentration. There is evidence that overuse of screen devices by children impedes brain development, setting the stage for learning detriments.

Sitting slumped over for hours on end may have deleterious impact on brain functioning, according to several chiropractic websites, although I found no scholarly documentation on the topic. It makes sense that maintaining good posture while using devices is healthier than sitting slumped over. Conversely, studies also suggest that use of smartphones and internet may improve cognitive functioning among older adults, as internet use may offset social isolation. The lesson learned from global centenarian studies is this: Everything in moderation. It applies to technology use, too.

Resources for research articles on digital dementia are below.
Li, W., Yue, L., & Xiao, S. (2022). Association between internet use, cognitive function, and globus pallidus volumes: A study among the elderly in Chinese communities. Frontiers in Public Health10, 886974.
Manwell, L. A., Tadros, M., Ciccarelli, T. M., & Eikelboom, R. (2022). Digital dementia in the internet generation: excessive screen time during brain development will increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in adulthood. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience21(1), 28.
Moledina, S., & Khoja, A. (2018). Letter to the editor: Digital dementia-Is smart technology making us dumb? The Ochsner Journal18(1), 12.
Westcott, P. (2 August 2022). Digital dementia: Is technology a help or hindrance to memory? Retrieved from https://www.lifespanonline.co.uk/news/digital-dementia-is-technology-a-help-or-hindrance-to-memory/

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Coming Events ~ September 2022



September 2022


Thank you, Harry “Rick” Moody, for these events published in the Human Values and Aging Newsletter!


In this time of the pandemic, many previously

scheduled events have been canceled or postponed, so it is important

to check in advance.  Events in digital format may be held as scheduled,

but checking is advisable.

SHADOW WORK (Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28, 10:00-11:30 am PST). The new online course is hosted by Ubiquity University, with Connie Zweig. See especially “Reviewing Your Unlived Life in the Shadow” and “Meeting the Shadows of Age.”  For video, details, and registration visit:


TAO-TE CHING: “The Sage's Tao Te Ching” (Sept. 4 through Oct. 1, 2022). An e-course with William Martin, an authority on Taoism. Sponsored by Spirituality & Practice, as part of their Elder Spirituality series.  For details and registration, visit:    


THE SAGE WITHIN (Sept. 7-11, 2022, Cortes Island, BC, Canada). Residential Retreat at Hollyhock, led by Nancy Gray-Hemstock and Annie Klein, Certified Sage-ing Leaders.  For details and registration see:


AWAKENING THE SAGE WITHIN (Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2022, 1 to 3:30 pm, ET). Zoom events, sponsored by Sage-ing International. 

Details at:


INNER WORK OF AGE (Sept. 10, 2022, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm PDT). Shifting from Role to Soul: Exploring the Inner Work of Age, with Connie Zweig. Online workshop sponsored by the California Institute of Integral Studies. For details visit:


CONSCIOUS ELDERING: Aiming High: Cultivating Purpose and Intentionality in Life’s Later Chapters (Sept. 11-15, 2022, Peebles, Ohio) Experiential workshop with Ron Pevny at the Hope Springs Institute. The deadline for registration was Aug. 3, 2022. For details, visit:


FUTURE OF AGING (Sept. 12, 2022, 8:30 – 10 am, EST, Amelia Island, FL).  Karen Sands gives the keynote address to "What Keeps You Up at Night?  A GeroFuturist's Perspective” for the South East Conference of Area Agencies on Aging: “Waves of Change: Aging Redefined.” At Omni Amelia Island Hotel & Resort, 39 Beach Lagoon, Amelia Island, Florida. For details and registration visit:


SAGE-ING LEGACY: The Next Generation (Sept. 12, 2022, 4 to 5:30 pm, ET). With Chana Tina (Schachter) Duskis, daughter of Reb Zalman Schachter (z"l). Sponsored by Yerusha.  Details and registration:


INNER WORK: Committing to it (Sept. 14, 2022, 8 to 9:30 am, Pacific).

David Chernikoff presents a workshop from his Seven Keys to Conscious Living. Sponsored by Sage-ing International.  Details and registration at:


LEGACY LETTERS: “What I Want You to Know: The Important Things” (Sept. 15 and 19, 2022). This 2-Part Zoom workshop offers guidance on creating meaningful legacy letters. For details and registration see:


GRAY PANTHERS: The Message of Maggie Kuhn (Sept. 19, 2022, 1 pm, Pacific). The Pass-It-On-Network hosts this event addressing Maggie Kuhn’s life and message: “Can a Call-to-Action from 50 years ago be relevant today?” Part of the Global PIONeer 50/50 Online Conversation.  For details and registration:


CONNIE GOLDMAN: Ritual of Remembrance (Sept. 20, 2022, 12- 1:30 pm, Pacific time). Sponsored by Sage-ing International. Free but registration is required at:


ACTIVE HOPE: (Sept. 21, 2022, 3 pm, CT). The Sage-ing Book Club discusses Active Hope How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy. For details and registration, see:


LIFE REVIEW (Sept. 21, 2022, 10 – 11:30 am PST). Reviewing Your Unlived Life in the Shadow. One of four class programs (Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28) on Shadow Work, offered by Connie Zweig. For details and registration see:


RETIREMENT: Spiritual Retirement Planning (Sept. 22, 2022). Connie Zweig presents "Coaching the Shift from Role to Soul” at the Retirement Coach Association conference for coaches and therapists. For the Conference agenda visit:


Details and registration at:


EMBRACING WISDOM: Soaring in The Second Half of Life (Sept. 22, 2022,

4 to 5:30 pm ET). With special guest Sylvia Boorstein, author of the foreword to the second edition of the book with this title.

Details and registration at:


LEGACY WRITING in the Age of the Pandemic (Sept. 22, 2022, 2 – 4 pm, Central Time). Workshop on writing to fulfill responsibility for future generations to learn from the pandemic with Rachael Freed. 

For details and registration visit:


CONSCIOUS ELDERHOOD (Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, 2022, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico) A retreat led by Ron Pevny.  Details at:


LAND OF AGING: A Journey (Sept. 27, 2022, 12 noon, EDT). This Revolutionize Your Retirement interview will feature Marilyn Heins, MD, author of A Traveler's Guide to Geriatricia: A Journey into the Changing Land of Aging. Dr. Heins has been a columnist in Tucson, Arizona, and is now in her 90s., She takes on the role of “tour guide” and fellow traveler, offering a healthy dose of humor. Sign-up for the interview begins on Sept. 20 at www.revolutionizeretirement.com  Participants receive a recording link after the call. For questions contact Dori Mintzer  at: dorian@dorianmintzer.com

LIFE REVIEW: Hinges: Finding the Connections in Your Life Story (Sept. 27, Oct. 4, and Oct. 11, 2022, 1 to 2:30 ET).

For details and registration see:


ELDERHOOD: “The Wisdom of Elderhood” (Oct. 12 – Nov. 16, 2022). 6-week workshop, for women over 65. With Ruth Neubauer, psychotherapist.  The offering

that begins Sept. 16 is now full and closed. 

For details and registration on the next offering, visit:



The Human Values in Aging Newsletter, edited by Harry (Rick) Moody, is published by the Creative Longevity and Wisdom Program of Fielding Graduate University.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Preventing Dementia


Is it possible to prevent dementia? Maybe. In June, I attended a professional online seminar with Dr. Matthew Pase, associate professor of epidemiology at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, on the topic of Preventing Dementia. In my twenty years interacting with clients, the issue of dementia is of primary concern. According to Pase, globally, two out of three people believe there is little or no understanding of dementia. 

There are numerous types of dementia, as it is a broad category of disorders. Dementia is defined as the loss of brain [cognitive] functioning that interferes with independence and activities of daily living. [As a reminder, memory LOSS is NOT normal aging but misplacing keys is normal at any age.] It may include personality changes and diminished social skills. Although the risk of dementia has declined 16% in each decade, the incidence is increasing, attributable to population aging globally.

In his recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA], Pase et al. (2022) found that Australian study participants with higher socioeconomic status [higher income] have better memory and lower dementia scores. Pace discussed how “ideal” cardiovascular health slows vascular brain aging. It is known in the helping professions that high income earners have better health outcomes than people living at or below the poverty line. It was not surprising to me that higher incomes equate to initiative-taking, prescription drug adherence, and preventive care. Further, at risk populations often cannot afford their prescription drugs and often take half doses to save money. Diet and exercise contribute to ideal cardiovascular health. Avoiding sugary drinks and getting adequate sleep are essential for promoting cardiovascular health. What about wearing a fitness tracking device? Is that a good strategy toward maintaining cardiovascular health by documenting steps, oxygen levels, and sleep? According to Pace, that is okay but some are not accurate.

So….. is dementia preventable? According to his recent study, and numerous others I have reviewed, factors impacting dementia occurrence are:

·       Age

·       Geographic location [urban, suburban, rural, etc.]

·       Socioeconomic status [SES]

·       Maintenance of healthy heart habits beginning in early adulthood

·       Sleep

·       Exercise

·       Healthy diet

Example: Mrs. Apple is a 65-year old smoker living alone in a rural community with daily alcohol intake, no exercise, existing on canned food and hot dogs from the mini-mart, consuming four Coca Colas daily, napping in the recliner instead of sleeping in a bed, and sleep deprived from working three jobs [crossing guard, housekeeper, and cook]. Mrs. Apple cannot afford her diabetes testing supplies or insulin. Mrs. Apple is in survival mode, trying her best to maintain independence despite her limitations. There may be some resources Mrs. Apple is not even aware of that can help her maintain a high quality of life and good health outcomes.

A shortcoming of the study was the impact of alcohol on aging overall, especially as it impacts cognitive functioning. As I have written here recently, newer research indicates that alcohol abstinence is a best practice for maintaining optimum cognitive health.

As Dr. Pace indicated, more research is needed to understand how practitioners can promote heart health among those living in poverty and with low income, as they have fewer resources at their disposal. Memory assessments must be developed for lower income seniors and minorities and should be more relatable to everyday daily functioning.

Dr. Pace’s credentials:



Pase, M.P, Rowsthorn, E., Cavuoto, M.G., et al. (2022). Association of neighborhood-level socioeconomic measures with cognition and dementia risk in Australian adults. JAMA Netw Open, 5(3):e224071. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.4071 Retrieved from






Saturday, July 23, 2022

Stop Ageism!


What is ageism? It is prejudice and stereotypes of a person or group based on age. Negative ideas about aging permeate fashion and media, thereby assaulting our own self-image. Ageism is the most tolerated form of prejudice. Studies show that it negatively impacts health care, quality of life, employment and job security, mental health, and social isolation. Further, ageism has been identified as a key element of elder abuse. 

Art has the power to transform lives, especially artistic altruism combining art and action. “Meg LaPorte and Jordan Evans created Art Against Ageism as an alliance and media platform for the purpose of identifying, amplifying, and creating artistic endeavors that confront and tackle damaging stereotypes and misperceptions about age, older adults, and being older.” https://artagainstageism.org


Toronto, Canada is on the leading edge of combatting ageism in the workforce using a proactive approach. Ten virtual seminars led by older adults comprises the Toronto Senior Master Class Series. The ageism series is available in Portuguese, Chinese, French, and Italian. Check it out! 




Monday, July 11, 2022

MCI ~ Mild Cognitive Impairment


Recently, I have been asked questions about Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), as more older adults are being diagnosed with it and yet, their families and friends still have lots of questions. Is MCI a mild form of Alzheimer’s Disease? Is MCI a precursor to being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease? How is MCI diagnosed?

Because I am a gerontologist and not a physician, I will not break discipline and author a detailed medical article, as that is beyond the scope of my expertise. However, people are curious about it and my intent is to provide resources and an overview of MCI. In researching articles for this blog post, I found a plethora of inaccuracies and sweeping claims. When educating yourself about any condition, seek out credible, peer-reviewed articles. I have included several below.

A condition that impacts older adults, MCI has been identified as “an unstable transition state between normal aging and dementia” Qian et all, 2019, p. 1). MCI is a syndrome that impacts one or more brain domains but does interfere with daily functioning. For example, fundamental activities such as mobility, dressing, eating, and bathing are not severely diminished. Studies indicate that it is often misdiagnosed in primary care settings and should be followed up with a neurological evaluation (Sabbagah et al., 2020).

Early detection and screening are essential for accurate diagnosing and treatment. As my readers know, memory loss is NOT normal: Cognitive slowing IS normal. The aging brain is slower to retrieve memories and information and that should not be confused with “loss.”

To demystify MCI, I have created case studies of two vastly different approaches and treatment plans. The case studies are composites and not real people. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to MCI, as medical professionals must take into consideration how daily activities and functioning are impacted, severity of symptoms, and lifestyle of the patient.

In creating the two case studies, it is essential to see the common elements in both approaches.


-     They did not ignore the changes.

-     Smart and Keen reported the cognitive changes to their primary care physicians without delay.

-     They both followed up with a neurology consult.

-     Smart and Keen have continued with follow-up appointments.

Case #1:

Mr. and Mrs. Smart have been married forty years and they are in their early seventies and semi-retired. Mrs. Smart noticed changes in her husband’s personality including increased agitation and swearing. He lost personal items more frequently and started drinking excessively. She asked her grown children about it, and they noticed these changes, too. Mr. Smart was examined by their physician, and he made a referral to a neurologist, who referred Mr. Smart to a psychologist for a two-day neuropsychological workup. Mr. Smart was diagnosed with MCI, and lifestyle changes included exercising, getting eight hours of sleep, alcohol abstinence, and healthy eating. He returned for reevaluation a year later and Mr. Smart’s condition improved. Mr. Smart is to be reevaluated every other year unless his condition worsens.

Case #2:

Mr. and Mrs. Keen have been married for forty-seven years and both are fully retired and in their seventies. Ten years ago, Mrs. Keen noticed cognitive changes in her husband, although he was only sixty-two years old. His hygiene was slipping, he lost interest in hobbies, and he was unable to remember recent events. They discussed the changes with their physician, who referred Mr. Keen to a neurologist, who ordered brain scans. The imaging showed brain changes and Mr. Keen was diagnosed with MCI. He was placed on medication, he is monitored yearly, and he took an early retirement. Mr. Keen’s condition has been stable.


Mild Cognitive Impairment. Cleveland Clinic (2019). Retrieved on July 6, 2022 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17990-mild-cognitive-impairment


Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on July 7, 2022 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mild-cognitive-impairment/symptoms-causes/syc-20354578


Modified Katz Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Scale. Merck Manual Professional Version (2022). Retrieved on July 6, 2022 from https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/multimedia/table/modified-katz-activities-of-daily-living-adl-scale


Staving off dementia when you have mild cognitive impairment. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School, 21 March 2021. Retrieved on July 5, 2022 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/staving-off-dementia-when-you-have-mild-cognitive-impairment


Scholarly Resources:

Qian, X., Dai, W., Xu, R., & Ling, H. (2019) One intelligent framework for screening and intervention of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Journal of Engineering. Retrieved on July 5, 2022 from https://ietresearch.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1049/joe.2019.1209


Sabbagh, M. N., Boada, M., Borson, S., Doraiswamy, P. M., Dubois, B., Ingram, J., Iwata, A., Porsteinsson, A. P., Possin, K. L., Rabinovici, G. D., Vellas, B., Chao, S., Vergallo, A., & Hampel, H. (2020). Early detection of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in an at-home setting. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease7(3), 171–178. https://doi.org/10.14283/jpad.2020.22


Sabbagh, M. N., Boada, M., Borson, S., Chilukuri, M., Dubois, B., Ingram, J., Iwata, A., Porsteinsson, A. P., Possin, K. L., Rabinovici, G. D., Vellas, B., Chao, S., Vergallo, A., & Hampel, H. (2020). Early detection of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in primary care. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease7(3), 165–170. https://doi.org/10.14283/jpad.2020.21




Digital Dementia

  Hi Readers, I recently attended a professional seminar and learned about digital dementia. While conducting research on this topic, the m...