Sam Bauman: Getting older and getting smarter?
October 2, 2012
With wrinkled and aging Clint Eastwood turning in a bravura cinematic performance in “Trouble With the Curve,” he showed those young whippersnappers in the front office of the Braves that he may be losing some of his vision, but he still knows more about baseball than they and the PCs will ever know.There also is more good news for seniors.A report in Smithsonian magazine noted that older air controllers excelled at their “cognitively taxing jobs, despite some losses in short term memory and visual spatial processing.” An University of Illinois study reported they were expert at whizzing many aircraft around and heading off collisions.Also, people as they age become better at heading off “social conflicts.” The University of Michigan asked 200 seniors how they would handle such problems. Those in their 60s outscored younger subjects in coming up with compromises.Another study of several hundred thousand people showed that those over 50 were generally happiest with their anger decreasing consistently from their 20s. A report showed that as people age, their emotions jumped around less. Negative emotions such as anger and fear became less pronounced with age.Finally another study found those questioned looked on “the last five or 10 years as the happiest of their lives.”That big white building on Long StreetA year or so ago, I wandered into the Carson City Senior Center for lunch. I qualified so I dined cafeteria style, and occasionally I continue to do so. I’m not the only one, says Warren Bottino, social work program manager there. “We serve about 350 meals five days a week, 150 in the main dining room and 180 Meals on Wheels around the city,” he said.Chef Joe Cirone heads the four-person team in the kitchen, which is a model of efficiency. The kitchen feeds all 150 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with the Meals of Wheels lunches being delivered by volunteers. That adds up to about 1,000 meals a week, said Bottino, or 93,000 a year.Funding comes from Carson City at about $2 per person and from such events as the annual Senior Follies and bingo.The senior center began in 1972 with two small buildings. In 2001, a $200,000 fund allowed the construction of the current sprawling building with parking out front and in the Human Services area lot. Seniors have plenty to do in the building. The Alzheimer’s Association has an office there, and tucked away in a wing is a mineral hobby room where stones are shaped into jewelry. There’s a multi-computer room with experts on hand to help for free. In one corner is a VHS viewing room with a wide assortment of tapes and a large TV for viewing them.The library collection isn’t going to put the Carson Library out of business, but the collection is wide and varied and it’s on an honor system.The Senior Center reflects a change in American family life. The old tradition of seniors shuttling around between relatives has largely disappeared and it’s up to society to take care of them. The Senior Center is a fine example of modern lifestyles.Turning back the clockBoomers and seniors with fond memories of music of the ’60s and on may want to relive some of those memories at the Eldorado Hotel Casino in Reno where “Jersey Nights” celebrates the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. A male quartet brings all those old tunes to life in a fast moving tribute to those times and songs. Yep, it’s all those old time group movements in synchrony backed up by a six-piece live group. Also on hand is a chorus line of three women and two men, all really professional.Don’t think the show isn’t successful! The senior couple with whom I was sitting knew every song, knew when to bounce and when to hold hands. I was out of the country during the Valli times, but it was easy to get involved the music along with the several hundred seniors in the auditorium.The show runs until Nov. 13 in the showroom.A bit of language history for seniors• In the 1500s most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June; however, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence comes the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege bathing in the nice clean water, then all the other men took their turns followed by the women, then the children and finally the babies. By then the water was so dirty one could actually lose someone in it. Hence comes the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”• Houses had thatched roofs — thick straw-piled high with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence originates the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.” • There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the — top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence. • Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.