Power of positive thinking

As we age, many of us experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Symptoms include increased difficulty in thinking and memory, frequently forgetting appointments, or losing items more often. Nearly half of older persons with MCI regain normal cognition. The reason for this recovery is still a mystery.

Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health administered a subscale of the Philadelphia Geriatric Morale Scale to 1,716 participants aged 65 years.This scale measures someone’s attitude toward aging. The positive age-belief assessment included questions like the following:

  •  “​Do things keep getting worse as you get older?”
  •  “​Do you feel that as you get older you are less useful?”
  • “​Are you as happy now as you were when you were younger?”

Results showed that participants with positive-age beliefs to start with were more likely to experience cognitive recovery from mild cognitive impairment than those with negative-age beliefs. The amount of time for cognitive recovery was also shorter for participants with positive-age beliefs versus those with negative-age beliefs.

Overall, the study authors suggest that fostering positive-age beliefs and attitudes may be highly beneficial in improving and maintaining cognitive function into old age. Societies and individuals can begin to cultivate these beliefs.

M​ore research is warranted to fully understand the roles of cultural beliefs on cognitive outcomes.

[Manny Radomski: Excerpted from: Levy BR, Slade MD. Role of positive age
beliefs in recovery from mild cognitive impairment among older persons. JAMA
Networks Open/Geriatrics. 2023;6(4):e237707.]

Bistro in 2023

Several years ago the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) granted exclusive use of the party room for a drop-in coffee time.  A machine for hot drinks was installed at the bar, some notices were placed on the bulletin boards, and Bistro began running from 2 to 4 on weekday afternoons. Residents could show up, sip a $2 coffee, tea or hot chocolate and share chat with neighbours. Part of the $2 went to support the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Missing these afternoon breaks during COVID-19 lock-down, some regulars attempted to touch base on Zoom and then through outdoor “happy hour” meetups on the upper deck on Fridays. Eventually the Bistro was able to reopen in the party room but the Friday happy hours continued. And when the weather wasn’t conducive to gathering outdoors people started meeting inside on Friday afternoons.

It happened that the party room was free last New Year’s eve and the word was passed among Bistro regulars to meet there for an impromtu potluck cocktail party in the early evening. Again this year the party room was available and a few energetic residents came early set up the room for New Year festivities. Residents shared snacks and drink, and offered each other New Year wishes.

In 2023 the Bistro has run every weekday with the help of volunteers. It sent $2800 to the Food Bank in 2023 (which included a generous donation from the evening card players). Though some residents have moved away or passed on, new residents come to meet their neighbours and make friends.  Everyone is welcome. See you in 2024!

two special events!

Ho Ho Ho! This is definitely the jolly season at Islington 2000/2010.

This Saturday we were presented with two festive events.  For children of all ages, Islington Vertical Village had another highly successful Crafternoon with Christmas crafts. The little people got to colour pictures, and embellish Christmas tree decorations and wreathes with stickers, sparkles and bows. Here are a few photos.

In the evening the grownups were invited by the Social Committee to a sit-down Christmas turkey dinner with all the trimmings and pie for dessert. This year the Social Committee completely outdid themselves with exceptional decor and table settings. There was music and dancing – a wonderfully festive occasion for all. Another wonderful evening!

Annual General Meetings

This week both corporations held annual meetings. AGMs are designed for the board to report to owners on matters such as the financial health of the condo corporation. The business of both meetings consisted of:

  • Approval of the minutes of the previous AGM;
  • Review of year-end audited financial reports;
  • Selection of the condo corporation’s auditor for the next fiscal year;
  • Report of the board of directors regarding matters like past performance;
  • Major upcoming projects (e.g., repairs or renovations), potential by-law changes and ongoing issues; and
  • Election of directors

Each Board welcomed a new director. Thank you to Brigitte DeBattista (YCC531) and Tony Primerano (MTCC570) for stepping forward to serve as directors. The conscientious work of those who serve as directors is essential to the wellbeing of our condominium corporations.

At the same time we recognize the many years of volunteer service by our retiring directors, Kam Chari (YCC531) and Tony Lecce (MTCC570). A very sincere thank you!

Artificial intelligence

There is growing interest in the power of artificial intelligence, now that computers are accomplishing things that are almost unbelievable. Facial recognition, instantaneous translation, deep fake video, robots sorting our recycled waste are among the commonplace things that computers have learned to do for us. In our own homes many of us talk regularly with Alexa, Siri and Google  and it is still mystifying. Stay tuned because this is just the beginning.

ChatGPT is a free application that has been learning large bodies of information and can provide sensible text on random topics. Sometimes it gets things wrong, and but with each day it learns more and more and its responses are more reliable. When asked the details of a particular novel recently, it got some details right and some sounded plausible but were certainly wrong. But when asked “why is loneliness a threat to health?” ChatGPT responded with this impressive and fulsome answer.

Loneliness can pose a threat to health because it has been linked to a range of physical and mental health issues. Human beings are social creatures, and our well-being is often closely tied to social connections and relationships. Here are some reasons why loneliness can be detrimental to health:

  1. Stress and Inflammation: Chronic loneliness can lead to increased stress levels, which, in turn, can contribute to inflammation in the body. Prolonged inflammation has been associated with a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.
  2. Mental Health Issues: Loneliness is strongly correlated with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. The lack of social support and meaningful connections can contribute to feelings of isolation and despair, impacting mental well-being.
  3. Impaired Immune Function: Some studies suggest that loneliness may compromise the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses. A weakened immune system can affect the body’s ability to fight off diseases.
  4. Sleep Disturbances: Lonely individuals may experience difficulties with sleep. Insomnia and other sleep disturbances have been linked to loneliness, and a lack of quality sleep can contribute to a range of health issues, including cognitive impairment and an increased risk of chronic conditions.
  5. Unhealthy Behaviors: People who feel lonely may be more prone to engaging in unhealthy behaviors as a way of coping, such as overeating, substance abuse, or a sedentary lifestyle. These behaviors can contribute to the development of various health problems.
  6. Impact on Cardiovascular Health: Loneliness has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. The stress and social isolation associated with loneliness can contribute to elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors.
  7. Shorter Lifespan: Several studies have suggested that chronic loneliness may be associated with a higher risk of mortality. The lack of social connections can have a significant impact on overall well-being and life expectancy.

It’s important to note that the relationship between loneliness and health is complex and multifaceted. Individual experiences of loneliness and its impact on health can vary, and addressing loneliness often involves a combination of social, psychological, and sometimes medical interventions. Building and maintaining meaningful social connections is crucial for both mental and physical well-being.

Lunch & Learn – Transitions

November’s Lunch & Learn had a timely topic – Easing the Transitions of Life. Our speaker was Christine Janev, M.A., RP, RSW, who works primarily with older people dealing with the life challenges that are involved in aging. She reminded us of the ways life can change suddenly or gradually as we age, and advised us to anticipate the inevitable challenges before they happen, make a realistic and manageable plan and work through setting up supports as much as possible before a crisis arises.