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DOING THE CHA-CHA: Dance classes are surging in popularity across the country, as people from coast to coast do the cha-cha. Dance is also a great way to protect your memory, says Angela Troyer, a neuropsychologist at the Baycrest Centre in Toronto. When you learn a new dance, you are engaging in a novel activity. That’s good for the brain. Doing the cha-cha is a social activity and interacting with others boosts the brain. Dancing is a physical activity, and physical activity is also good for the brain. That’s just three more reasons to keep doing the cha-cha.


OLDER CITIZENS HIT HARD BY FINANCIAL TURNDOWN: Speaking to the Reinventing Retirement Asia Conference in Singapore (January 8, 2009), Dr. William Hall provided a grim snapshot of how older Americans are bearing the brunt of the economic meltdown:

Over the past year, workers over 50 experienced a 65 per cent increase in unemployment.

Nearly one-quarter of the one million Americans who filed for bankruptcy in 2008, were 55 years and older.

People over 50 who own homes worth less than the mortgage have a foreclosure rate of double the national average.

Growing numbers of adults over 50 are raiding their retirement accounts to make ends meet.


NURTURING THE HEART: People living with Alzheimer’s disease thrive on creativity, says Dr. Patricia Baines (Alzheimer’s Australia Tasmania). In Nurturing the Heart: Creativity, Art Therapy and Dementia, Baines shows how image-making helps those with Alzheimer’s transcend loneliness, work though troubling issues and enjoy the pleasures of creating. She also includes guidelines for working with people with dementia, samples of artwork and helpful hints for carers. To read the entire paper, visit the Society for the Arts in Dementia Care and click on articles.


YOU REALLY MUST READ . . . Exit Lines: A marvelously funny and poignant novel by Joan Barfoot. Four newly-arrived guests at the Idyll Inn are in no mood for peace and quiet. This motley crew – three females and one male – has sweet rebellion on their mind: the consumption of decent wines, adventures in the night and squeezing the present moment for all it’s worth. That’s until one of the fab four lets drop a startling request . . .

And don’t forget to check out Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating With My Dad by Bob Morris. “The only way to live is in love,” was Joe Morris’s philosophy. So at the age of 80, soon after the death of his wife, Ethel, Morris was back into the dating scene. But dating doesn’t get any easier, it seems. Morris wrangled his gay son Bob into the hunt. A former New York Times columnist, Bob trolled the personals, vetted the prospects and played chauffeur. The book is a hilarious tale of a good-natured, irascible old man’s search for love, and how he beat the odds.