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HANDBAGS HELP WOMEN WITH DEMENTIA: New research reports that handbags can help women with dementia to "tell their lives" and express who they are.

Women in care homes kept items in their bags such as photographs, birthday cards and letters, as well as make-up and magazines. Several women kept knitting wool and needles in their handbags. Even though they no longer knitted, making garments had been an important part of their lives.

Researchers Christina Buse and Julia Twigg said handbags can work as a form of "memory box." They can be used to spark conversations with other residents and with care staff.

Furthermore, the study published online in the Journal of Aging Studies (August 2014) shows women with dementia used their handbags to achieve a sense of security and normalcy.

"The eventual discarding of handbags reflects the progression of dementia," the authors said.



DRAMA FOR RETIREES: You may have dreamed about becoming an actor in high school, but what about acting post-retirement?

This fall, Studio 55 at The Acting Company in Ottawa, Ont., Canada, will offer drama classes for retirees and semi-retirees.

Veteran actors and teachers Chris Ralph and John Muggleton opened the new theatre education and performance centre, located downtown.

Studio 55 is exclusively for 55-year-olds and older who’ve always wanted a chance to perform under the spotlight. The studio explores acting and improvisation, focusing on content relevant to older adults.



RELIGIOUS MUSIC MAY BOOST PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING: Listening to religious music makes older people less anxious about death, according to a new study.

The researchers found that listening to gospel music, in particular, is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death, regardless of a person’s race, gender or socioeconomic status.

The data for the study came from more than 1,000 people who took part in the Religion, Aging, and Health Survey of people aged 65 and over in the United States.

Responses were collected from:

  • practicing Christians
  • those who identified as Christians in the past but no longer practice any religion, and
  • those not affiliated with any faith at any point in the lifetime.

The study was published online in The Gerontologist on April 15, 2014.

Matt Bradshaw and colleagues wrote: "Given that religious music is available to most individuals – even those with health problems or physical limitations that might preclude participating in more formal aspects of religious life – it might be a valuable resource for promoting mental health later in the life course."

He further noted: "Listening to religious music may serve a form of "self-care" or "self-comforting," which could be used profitably in a complementary fashion with more traditional forms of health care.



JAPANESE NOT AFRAID TO HIRE EXPERIENCE: Koureisha, a human resources firm in Japan, offers a unique placement service to businesses by matching older workers with temporary staff positions.

Koureisha workers are matched with companies based on their skills and interests, according to a report in AARP International: The Journal 2014.

The firm offers placements in a variety of companies, mostly in the:

  • gas business
  • facilities management
  • maintenance, and
  • general office work.

The Chairman of Koureisha, Kenji Ueda said, "Older people with a great deal of experience and knowledge are the most valuable treasure of society."