‘Sunshower’ Senior Moment

December 23, 2015

495cb3e60a8a4a8fabb58191d95c3ac2In short-sweet intervals, bright sunshine this Wednesday morning on California’s north coast, a sharp happy-face in a sea of gloomy rainstorms.
An oddity, too, sunshine while it’s raining — a meteorological phenomenon referred to as a ‘sunshower,’ such as rain from a storm miles away shifted by winds, or a single rain cloud that passes overhead, not blocking the rays.
Anyhow, it’s all cool.

As an old guy — now nearly 18 months retired — I’ve discovered the biology of age ain’t all that cool. Stream-the-nailed-it via George Carlin: ‘“Thank you very much. Thank you. Yeah, I’m now seventy years old, and I like seventy. Uh… not as much as I liked sixty-nine.”
Of course, Mr. Carlin also quickly went anatomical, but point being, getting old ain’t fun…

(Illustration: Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity),‘ found here).

During the past five years, especially the last two, health-related ‘situations,’ which seemingly had plagued me for decades, though, at a much-much-reduced capacity, started developing into ‘incidents‘ of a higher nature. Realizing you can’t ever do certain things again is shitty.
And losing those most-required ‘marbles’ floating between my bad-hearing ears don’t conjure-up sunshower rainbows, either.

Insult to wasting away: New research indicates aging can also hamper rapid decision-making tasks like driving a car — old people behind the wheel could be dangerous.
Via MedicalxPress last week:

A recent study from the University of Waterloo found that seniors have a harder time distinguishing the order of events than .
When researchers presented them with both a light and sound at the same or different times, they found that young and could determine whether they occurred simultaneously with similar accuracy.
But when asked to determine which appeared first, the light or the sound, older adults performed much worse.
“To make sense of the world around us, the brain has to rapidly decide whether to combine different sources of information,” said Michael Barnett-Cowan, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and senior author on the paper.
“Older adults often experience problems processing multisensory information, which in turn can affect everyday tasks from following conversations, to driving, to maintaining balance.”

Further insult to wasting away:

In another test, researchers showed the study participants two lights travelling towards one another.
Usually the lights appear to stream past each other, but when a sound occurs close to when the lights touch, they seem to bounce off each other.
In this test, older adults continued to perceive the lights as bouncing even when the sound occurred well before or after the lights touched, suggesting that older adults combine that should not belong together.
This is the first study to test multiple ways in which younger and combine sensory information in time.
The findings provide new hope that by strengthening the link between these brain processes as people age, the impairments in distinguishing the order of events and perceived collisions could reduce.
Possible solutions for improving impaired perceptions of time in the older adults could come from training using video games or brain stimulation.
“Health professionals are able to address many changes in our vision and hearing as we age using corrective lenses and hearing aids, for example. But these interventions don’t help with changes in the brain’s ability to combine sensory information,” said Professor Barnett-Cowan.
“If we can identify and address impaired timing of events in the elderly, we could potentially improve the quality of life, safety and independence for many older people.”

Hence, again the late Mr. Carlin and some good stuff about getting old: ‘“You can even shit in your pants! They expect it! I haven’t tried that yet, but I don’t rule it out. I’m keeping my options open. Everything is on the table…Perhaps that’s not the figure of speech I wanted.”

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