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THE SECRET OF INTIMACY: Great lovers are made not born, according to Peggy Kleinplatz, a professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Kelley Dixon, 74, agrees.

The resident of Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale in New York, Dixon told Winnie Hu at the New York Times that sex had become more important to him because it did not happen as regularly as he would like.

"It's not about bang-bang-and I will see you later. It's about enjoying the company of who you're having sex with," he said. "I'm not keeping track anymore. I don't have notches on my gun."

According to Kleinplatz, the depth of the connection between partners is a key component of extraordinary sex. In the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, she writes, "It's being fully alive in one's skin, engaged with the partner – emotionally, intellectually, physically, spiritually – in the moment."

For the past decade, Kleinplatz and her research team have been studying what makes for optimal sexual experiences. When they put a call out for "great lovers" across Canada and the United States, responses poured in from older married people.

Researchers found people having flourishing sex lives in their 60s, 70s and 80s, accommodating whatever chronic illnesses or disabilities might come with their age.

Residential healthcare institutions have been slow to catch up with the desires of aging lovers.

Not so the Hebrew Home, which made waves in 1995 by creating the country's first sexual expression policy.

According to Daniel Reingold, the president and chief executive of RiverSpring Health, which operates Hebrew Home, the policy is intended to encourage intimacy among those who want it, and to protect others from unwanted advances and to provide guidelines for the staff.

Staff at the home have recently stepped up efforts to help residents look for relationships, launching a dating service, called G-Date, for Grandparent Date.

Francine Aboyoun, 67, who is on the waiting list, is hopeful that she will meet someone soon.

Berverly Herzog, 88, is also ready.

Herzog misses curling up with her late husband, Bernard: "I hate getting into a cold bed," she said. "I feel no one should be alone."

 


 

COACH GARNERS OLYMPIC GOLD: The coach for South African runner Wayde van Niekerk, who captured the gold medal in the 400 meters at the 2016 Olympic Games, kept getting turned away as she tried to get close to congratulate him.

Event officials apparently found it hard to believe that Anna Sofia Botha, 74, was coach of a runner, who had just broken one of the oldest world records in men's track and field.

Members of Team South Africa interceded for her and she finally got access to the Olympic Village.

A former athlete herself, Botha became head track and field coach at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1990.

She began coaching the 24-year-old Van Niekerk, in 2012.

Van Niekerk was not her only success at Rio. She also coached Akani Simbine, who finished fifth in the 100 meters.

Athletes describe Botha as a benevolent disciplinarian, who treats them as family.

Van Niekerk told the New York Times, "She doesn't see us as athletes or as people; she sees us as her children."

 


 

BOOK UP FOR A LONGER LIFE: Losing yourself in a book can be pure enjoyment. But could being a bookworm help you live longer?

New research from the Yale University School of Public Health in New Haven, CT, has found that people who read books for 30 minutes a day lived longer than those who didn't read at all.

The study, published in the September, 2016 issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, examined the reading habits of 3,635 adults aged 50 and older. It found that book readers, on average, live almost two years longer than non-book readers.

The more people read, the more likely they were to live longer, and just 3.5 hours a week was enough to make a difference.

Interestingly, the study links the reading of books, rather than newspapers or magazines, to a longer life.

According to researchers, there are two cognitive processes involved in reading books that could create a "survival advantage." First, reading books promotes "deep reading," engaging readers' critical thinking skills and imagination as they ponder the content, and make connections with the material and the outside world.

Second, books promote empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence – all of which are cognitive processes that can lead to greater survival.

The study, titled "A Chapter a Day: Association of Book Reading with Longevity" suggests books are protective regardless of gender, health, wealth or education.

The current findings show an association between reading and long life. More research is needed to determine whether reading books actually cause people to live longer.

 


 

OLDER PEOPLE'S CREATIVITY INSPIRES PRIZE WINNER

Don't be ashamed to be a human being, be proud! Inside you is an endless series of strong rooms, one after the other. You never come to an end, and that is how it should be.
                                                                      - Tomas Transtr√∂mer, Roman Arches

Anne Basting, a pioneering theatre artist, educator and researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is one of this year's winners of the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

Basting founded TimeSlips, an organization, which uses storytelling techniques to help cognitive-impaired older adults communicate, drawing on their artistic and creative capacities, rather than memory.

The MacArthur fellowship comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 distributed over five years. The prestigious prize is awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for exceptional "originality, insight and potential."