State University of New York at Oswego

Baby Boomers and the Movies

According to Entertainment weekly, Hollywood might be getting over the age problem. Actors and actresses who hold an AARP card including Ian Mckellen, Lily Tomlin and Blythe Danner in recent years are landing leading roles in hit blockbusters. Hollywood is trying to compete with smartphones and tablets with young people, while the studios are attracting an older audience because moviegoers over the age of 60, will go out and spend their money here and now.

Moviegoers over the age of 60 account for 13% of all tickets sold in North America. They don’t want to wait for Netflix or Youtube to stream movies. Baby boomers want to see movies that reflect their life experiences, meaning they like to see actors their own age working successfully on screen such as Ian Mckellen who is 76 but, portrays a much older version of Sherlock Holmes at the age of 93 in his new movie Mr. Holmes out July 2015.   


By Julia Conlan

89-Year-Old Grandma Stole The Show As A Bridesmaid

Betty Govern, a.k.a. Nana Betty, stood by her granddaughter’s Christine side in a dusty purple dress with a bouquet in hand. Nana Betty says “You’re only as old as you feel and I feel young today,” on her granddaughter’s wedding day. Christine said that the decision to ask her grandma to be in the bridal party was a no-brainer; She considers Nana Betty one of her best friends. Nana betty asked about 10 times, ‘Are you sure?’ and ‘Why would you want an old lady in your bridal party?'” Christine said, “A few times she even said ‘All of your bridesmaids are young and pretty, why would you want me?’ Obviously Nana is beautiful too.

Do you have an older relative that you consider to be a best friend? Does age matter when it comes to friendships? Let us know what you think in the comments down below!

by Julia Conlan

Are you prepared for a weather disaster?

With severe weather events becoming more frequent and more extreme, it is more important than ever that New Yorkers are prepared for disasters. Governor Cuomo has launched the New York State Citizen Preparedness Corps so residents have the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.

The training course will provide an introduction to responding to a natural or man-made disaster. Participants will be advised on how to properly prepare for any disaster, including developing a family emergency plan and stocking up on emergency supplies. Proper preparation in the home will be emphasized with encouragement to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, along with fire extinguishers, are all available and in proper working order.

The program, covers a broad range of emergency-preparedness topics, like developing a family emergency plan, stocking up on emergency supplies, and registering for NY-Alert, the free statewide emergency alert system. The program will be offered in Syracuse on Monday August 13th at 4 p.m and then again on Tuesday September 1st at 4 p.m. at the Art & Home Center – Empire Theater located in the Syracuse fair grounds.  These prep courses are being offered during the New York State Fair for the price of admission to the New York State Fair.

Seniors can be admitted free to this event and to the NYS Fair the days of the classes. Senior Citizens’ Days is Monday, August 31 & Tuesday, September 1. Senior citizens, sixty (60) years of age and older, are offered free admission on these two days of the Fair. ID showing date of birth may be requested to allow free admittance.

For more information and to register for a class visit:


By Julia Conlan

Is your home a lifelong home?

As of 2015 the American Assocaition of Retired Persons (AARP) is publishing a guide ”to help people stay in the homes they love by turning where they live into a “lifelong home,” suitable for themselves and anyone in their household”. AARP’s HomeFit guide is a manual for persons who want to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible, regardless of their age or physical abilities. The AARP HomeFit Guide was created by the Livable Communities team of AARP Education & Outreach, with the intent to offers tips and instructions for simple DIY projects or more advance home modifications that need specialized expertise.

According to research by AARP, nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, even if they begin to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement, most (82 percent) would prefer to stay in their homes.

AARP identified housing features that seniors find are especially important in the later years including, safety features such as non-slip floor surfaces (80 percent), bathroom aides such as grab bars (79 percent), and entrance without steps (77 percent). You can see more home features needed for retirees here.

The HomeFit guide is broken down into worksheets that can be downloaded for personal use to help people make a to-do list for their homes. The HomeFit guide from AARP goal is to “incorporate design principles and products that are adaptable, safe and easy to use”.

The worksheets available for download include: “Is my home “HomeFit”?, “My Contractor interview notes”, “My room-by-room Don’t do it yourself list,” and much more!


Take a video tour of a “HomeFit” home:
By Julia Conlan

Perceived Stubborn Behavior

As parents get older, attempts to hold on to independence can be difficult with adult children stepping and trying to help out or slow their parents down.  Findings, reported in January in “The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences” detail results between adult children and their older parents when it comes to perceived “stubborn” behaviors.

The study consisted of 189 pairs of middle-age adults and their parents, who  were interviewed to find out how often adult children perceive their parents as acting as stubborn. These answers were compared to how often parents see this as normal behavior for themselves.

Researchers findings concluded that adult children saw their parents as acting stubborn more often than parents saw this behavior in themselves. Adult children also had perceptions of stronger, more positive relationships with their parents when they felt that their parents did not exhibit stubborn behavior. If parents and their adult children clashed over the parents exhibiting stubborn the relationship between the two groups could become more strained.

However, older adult perceptions, were that some of their behavior could be considered stubborn such as being less agreeable or anxious, but those actions depicted who they really were and their personality. Researchers of “The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences” recommend that adult children should suggest ideas for certain actions, take a backseat, and then discuss the pros and cons of an idea later on. Adult children should stay involved but not be in control.

What do you think? Is being “stubborn” a personality trait or a behavior? Tell us in the comments below.
By Julia Conlan

Starting “The Conversation”

In 2010, journalist Ellen Goodman and a group of colleagues started the Conversation Project. The Conversation project is bringing awareness about your end-of life-wishes. Goodman and colleagues began to share stories of “good deaths” and “bad deaths” within their circle of loved ones. They started the Conversation project in order to make it easier to initiate conversations about dying. They widened the campaign with the goal of ensuring that everyone’s wishes for end of life care are expressed and respected. Today, The Conversation Project team includes five seasoned law, journalism, and media professionals who are working pro bono alongside professional staff from who bring a wealth of expertise to the project.

Studies have shown that as much as 90% of people think that discussing the end of their life wishes with a loved one, but only about 27% actually do so. 56% people have not communicated their end-of-life wishes. This is most likely because it is not an easy topic to initiate. However, these conversations are vitally necessary for all involved. The Conversation Project website includes a starter kit, containing guidance for discussing this matter with loved ones.

When bringing up the difficult topic of the end of your life, family members often hope for the best and avoid the conversation. The kit is designed to get (and keep)The Conversation going, by including topics such as health, legal, and financial issues, expressed in terminology that makes them easier to talk about.

Too many people die in a manner that they would not choose. The Conversation Project offers all of the essential resources needed to talk to loved ones without being in a medical setting. Have you had The Conversation with your family members? Would you or someone you know be more likely to have The Conversation if they used these tools?

We encourage you to visit the website and leave your comments below.

To learn more about the Conversation Project visit:

By Kyleigh Kinney

How does Syracuse fare as an Age-Friendly City?

The World Health Organization has compiled a self-assessment checklist for cities to gage their current accessibility to aging community members. Syracuse is known for rough winter weather and very rarely considered a great place to retire. What can be done to change this? How can we make Syracuse more desirable to aging adults?

The self-assessment is a tool to be used by community members and older individuals that reside in those areas. The assessment is extremely important to our current community. The checklist looks at all factors that affect aging adults including, housing, transportation, outdoor spaces, social inclusion, and health services, among others. This helps to evaluate your community and allows us to explore future options for change.

Active aging adults today are looking for activities to do outside of the home. They want to be social, and meet with friends. They want to exercise with classes and activities that are specific to their needs. They want to feel like they are a part of a community and not feel like they are a burden.

When assessing these areas, community members can see where specific areas are lacking. By bring awareness to those areas, and hopefully change, individuals may feel a greater amount of acceptance and feel that they are respected members of our community.  When members of an area feel that they are valued and appreciated, they will have a greater desire to stay.

In Syracuse we may not have the ability to change the weather, but we can make our city more accommodating. If we renovated some of our current public spaces and made them accessible to everyone, older adults would feel that they have a stronger connection to Syracuse. For a lot of older individuals transportation can be a huge problem. Having buses or taxi services that are strictly for the use of aging adults, would create opportunities for them to join in and be a bigger part of the community.

It is a very intricate web that we weave and if we can make older adults a larger piece of that web, we have a greater chance of making them life-long citizens to the greater Syracuse area.

Check out the World Health Organization checklist:

By Jency Holden

The Green House Project

As the baby boomers reach a time in their lives where a long term care becomes a reality, the Green House Project was established in 2001 to assist people in need of safe and comfortable living arrangements. The Green House Project is intended to give aging adults the same feeling and experience they would get in a real home. The Project is seeking to create meaning in the lives of aging citizens by offering the opportunity for continued growth and development. This project is now operating in 32 states, including two homes in Rochester NY including the Jewish Senior Life and St. John’s Home. The closest model to The Green House Project in the Syracuse area is located in Cicero; The Cottages at Garden Grove, operated by Loretto.

“The Green House trademark means that the homes meet and maintain key standards, including small size, home layout, advanced staff training and a low staff ratio”. The houses are designed to hold 10-12 people in roughly 8,500 square feet.Each person has their own bedroom and bathroom to maximize comfort. These rooms are then connected with a family-like atmosphere of open spaces. This living arrangement differs greatly from those in a basic nursing home, which are typically crammed together and not particularly home-like. Decisions made within the Green House Project are guided by the needs of the people within a particular unit, as opposed to the institution as a whole.

By focusing on residents, the Project communicates how much they value their occupants’ lives. Highly skilled clinicians provide the necessary support and services, but the main emphasis is not medical treatment. This allows residents to focus more of their attention on enhancing their quality of life. Having an independent space, while also offering support groups and community activities, is a dramatic improvement over a typical nursing home situation.

This sort of living situation is much more in line with what surveys repeatedly show is how older citizens wish to spend their final years. What do you think of this housing model? Does it appeal to you? Would you want your parents to spend their final years in this type of setting? Is this the type of setting you see yourself in, some day?

The Green House Project:

Video Tour of Green House Project Homes:

The Cottages at Garden Grove in Cicero NY:
By Kyleigh Kinney & Melissa Sprague

Senior Safety Checklist

This Senior Safety Checklist is from Upstate Health magazine, Spring 2014 edition. This article offers advice for making a seniors home a safe place to live.
This is the link for the full edition of the magazine: 

Playgrounds for Older Adults

         Do you remember recess as kid? Do you remember the feeling of being outside and being active with your friends? With new technological innovations, older adults can experience those feelings all over again in a fun new way! Playgrounds designed specifically for aging residents have popped up in England, Finland, Germany and throughout Asia. But the idea is just now taking off in the U.S.The parks feature low-impact exercise equipment such as elliptical machines, static bikes, and body flexors. These machines are designed to promote balance and flexibility. Playgrounds constructed specifically for seniors allow them to stay active; the benefits of low-impact exercise include reducing health risks such as falls.

         The Humana Foundation is a leader in this area – their goal is to build multigenerational playgrounds throughout the U.S. Eleven have been built since last year; another 16 are in the works. The intention is to provide a place where aging adults can participate alongside their children or grandchildren – grandparents will have the opportunity to be active with their families, using equipment designed with their needs in  mind. Senior playgrounds have been established in Springfield Lake in Springfield Township,Ohio; in the city of LaMarque in Galveston County, Texas; in Macombs Dam Park in the Bronx, NY; and in multiple parks in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. In the last two years, there has also been some discussion about creating a senior playground in Ithaca, NY. Michael Cohen of Ithaca has 21 years experience building children’s playgrounds and decided to set up his own company, Must Have Play, ( Cohen would like to have low-intensity workout stations, designed to work the upper body and lower body. The stations would face each other or be side-by-side, so social interaction is encouraged. Can you imagine what your local park would look like if senior exercise equipment was installed? Would you use it? If you have visited any of the parks mentioned here, please comment below, and tell us what you thought!

By Julia Conlan