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IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO BECOME YOU: A new study finds that many transgender older persons struggle to suppress their feelings for decades. Faced with social pressure to conform to gender identities, they try to make things work.

The new research, by Vanessa Fabbre, published in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences (Vol. 72, No. 3, 2017), involved 22 male-to-female identified persons, aged 50 to 82.

The study reveals individuals wait to transition until after their children leave home or after the death of their parents. Still others salvage their careers by waiting until they retire.

When one participant finally talked to her therapist, she said, it was like "the dam bursting."

According to Fabbre, an assistant professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, those who undergo a gender change later in life opt for authenticity: they choose to live the life they want, even for a short time.

Little is known about the lives of older transgender and gender non-conforming people. To ramp up their visibility and increase understanding about their lives, Fabbre and her partner, photographer Jess T. Dugan have created a website called To Survive on This Shore. You can check it here.

 


 

CANADIAN GRANDPARENTS SHARE TIME AND MONEY: According to Statistics Canada, there are now more than seven million grandparents across the country, a segment that is growing at a significantly faster rate than the general population.

Recently, the Vanier Institute of the Family published a Snapshot of Grandparents in Canada. According to the report:

  • grandparents had an average 4.2 grandchildren in 2011, down from 4.8 in 2001
  • 600,000 grandparents lived in the same household as their grandchildren, up 23 per cent in a decade. More than half, reported having financial responsibilities in the household, and
  • grandparents play an important role in child care, but this is shifting as an increasing number of older adults join the paid labour force.

 


 

STUDENTS PROVIDE RESPITE FOR CAREGIVERS: For three hours on Mondays and Thursdays, undergraduate students care for older adults in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease in the Dementia Care Unit at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. In turn, older adults, many of whom are accomplished professionals, mentor the students, sharing their rich life experiences with them.

The eight-week free program means caregivers get six hours of respite each week, which they use to run errands, attend appointments, relax and catch up with family and friends.

Timeout @UCLA has been a resounding success, winning applause from older adults, caregivers and students. You can watch this inspiring program in action at http://geronet.ucla.edu/timeout.

Lourdes Guerrero and colleagues profiled the program in an article in the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships (Vol. 15, No.3, 2017).

 


 

POET: WHY WE ALWAYS FEEL YOUNGER THAN WE ARE: The late Swedish poet and Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer is celebrated around the globe for his arresting images and lyrical language.

In his 1989 collection, For the Living and the Dead, he writes:

We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is "me." The mirror sees only my latest face while I know all my previous ones.

Finally, we at Aging Horizons Bulletin wish you abundant blessings in 2018. We hope that you have enjoyed the interviews, reports, books and columns we have brought you this year. We love to hear from you: send us your thoughts and suggestions.
– Ruth Dempsey.