If you are in Los Angeles, go to Manuela, it’s our new favorite spot. The room is perfection: the colors of the tiles, the artwork, the brass coordinates; we appreciate that someone put a lot of consideration into this place. Then there is the food. All sustainable, no cows or farmed fish. The elk steak grilled on a wood fire is tremendous, as are the grilled vegetables. The homemade hot sauce is reason enough to go there. Service is smart, attentive and attractive. So far, it’s not on the tourist radar; it’s mostly just locals in the know, but that’s not going to last long. As with everything notable in LA, it’s totally hidden from the street, sitting in the center of Hauser and Wirth. Go there. It’s super cool.
Rome, such a magical destination for so many reasons. But the eternal city is known to get oppressively hot this time of year. You may want to take a short trip out to Tivoli Villa d'Este. It’s higher than the city, so it's cooler, and filled with an astonishing array of fountains. We have been told that this was the model for what has come to be known as the Italian stye of a formal garden. Feel the power. It’s amazing.
Just down the road is Hadrian’s villa, a bit of a wreck, but worth the visit, especially with an informed guide. The whole trip can be done in half a day, in time to get you back to town for that evening drink in Trastevere. We used Gray Line tours, $80 all in.
i don’t feel old.
“Asking women about aging is very negative. It doesn’t concern me; it’s other people’s problem, not mine.” We here have a thing for Isabelle Huppert, and for her blithe amorality. Remember "The Piano Teacher?" Fun facts: she is highly claustrophobic and can't ride any subways, is terribly impatient, and refuses to exercise preferring sleep to yoga. The exercise avoidance is a bit of a surprise, maybe its just a French thing, and certainly the opposite of most of us here at AGEIST, but it seems to be working for her. Read more here.
"Elle" staring Isabelle Huppert available on DVD and Blue-ray July 10.
We knew that someone was going to reinvent the tired cruise line model, but who would have guessed it would be The Ritz? We rather love the design of this yacht, sleek and sexy; for style it gets an A+. It’s a manageable size, like a pleasantly-sized urban hotel: 139 suites in 190m length. Thanks to this smaller size, as compared to usual monster mall cruise ships, it will be able to call at some of the sweeter, less traveled spots in the Caribbean and Med. And with this smaller scale, the inter-guest experience will be more interesting and the staff more personalized. It’s a Ritz-Carlton, so we know the service will be impeccable. Private balconies, as opposed to little port holes, are a welcome improvement. Word is they are upping the food game with Michelin-starred chef Sven Elverfeld helming the restaurant. Civilized and stimulating all around, the way we like it. Reservations open next May for voyages beginning in 2019.
Booking information here.
If there’s one single characteristic of AGEIST people it is curiosity. It’s rather remarkable, every person we have spoken with has a deep-seated inquisitiveness. But as we think about it, how could it be any other way? I had the privilege to hear Brian Grazer speak last year at the Airbnb Open, and his entire life is driven by intense curiosity. He actually has a weekly self-directed curiosity program where he spends 20 minutes speaking with someone interesting who he doesn’t know. He wrote a book about it: A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. It’s a quick summer read, and a glimpse into the mind of a curiosity master.
is the $100 billion back industry a hoax?
I’ve been reading this new book, Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry, which makes a point that some cures, a $100 billion worth to be exact, are worse than the disease. As a professional photographer my neck and low back are constantly pushed to hold positions that are terrible for my back health. Add in the iPhone forward-head disorder that we all seem to have, and I find myself speaking to some sort of doctor, massage therapist, or physical rehab person regularly. These professionals really save the day for me. But clearly not all professionals have our best interests in mind.
In 1946, a 23-year-old Army veteran named John Goodenough headed to the University of Chicago with a dream of studying physics. When he arrived, a professor warned him that he was already too old to succeed in the field.
Recently, Dr. Goodenough recounted that story for me and then laughed uproariously. He ignored the professor’s advice and today, at 94, has just set the tech industry abuzz with his blazing creativity. He and his team at the University of Texas at Austin filed a patent application on a new kind of battery that, if it works as promised, would be so cheap, lightweight and safe that it would revolutionize electric cars and kill off petroleum-fueled vehicles. His announcement has caused a stir, in part, because Dr. Goodenough has done it before. In 1980, at age 57, he coinvented the lithium-ion battery that shrank power into a tiny package.
We tend to assume that creativity wanes with age. But Dr. Goodenough’s story suggests that some people actually become more creative as they grow older. Unfortunately, those late-blooming geniuses have to contend with powerful biases against them.
“Young people are just smarter,” Mark Zuckerberg pronounced at an event at Stanford in 2007, when he was the 22-year-old chief executive of Facebook. He added, according to a VentureBeat writer, “I only own a mattress,” and then expounded upon the putative correlation between youth and creative power. His logic didn’t exactly make sense (and he later apologized), but his meaning was perfectly clear: Middle-aged people are encumbered by boring possessions (gutters, dental floss, orthopedic shoes) and stale ideas.
Since that speech, Silicon Valley’s youth worship seems to have grown even more feverish. Recently, a 12-year-old inventor named Shubham Banerjee received venture-capital funds from Intel to start his own company.
I’ll be honest: I know nothing about video games, or almost nothing. But when this came up on my radar I just had to share. I mean what’s not to like? Middle aged women out there doing the action movie thing like they are 24-year-olds. Rock on ladies! But the reason for the ad is what really got my attention. The game developer’s research found that 80% of the active players are women aged between 30 and 55. Another stereotype bites the dust, turns out that the 15-21 year old male demo aren’t the only ones getting the bad guys.
Tequilla for Astral
Dos Equis and agency Havas invented one of the most fantastic ad campaigns and characters ever with the Most Interesting Man in The World. We loved him, everyone loved him. Then someone thought that they needed to “contemporize” the campaign. In other words, make it younger. The new Most Interesting Man of the Year 2.0 bombed, beer sales tanked, and HAVAS, a great agency gets fired. Maybe they should have called AGEIST first?
This week Johnathan Goldsmith, the actor who played the original WMIMITW, is in a new TV spot selling tequila with the line, “When I don’t drink beer I drink tequila.” Genius. AGEIST salutes you. He also has a new book out "Stay Interesting: I Don't Always Tell Stories About My Life, But When I Do, They're True and Amazing.”
(CNN)Running four marathons in five weeks wasn't enough. Running 10 marathons in a year wasn't enough. Running more than 70 marathons during her lifetime wasn't enough.
Seventy-year-old Chau Smith wanted to challenge herself even further, so she decided to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. In January, the Missouri woman accomplished that goal.
Between January 25 and January 31, Smith ran marathons in Perth, Australia; Singapore; Cairo; Amsterdam; Garden City, New York; Punta Arenas, Chile; and King George Island, Antarctica. Each day, Smith woke up and ran 26.2 miles. Then she'd get on a plane and fly to the next destination to do it all over again.
Despite her marathon training, Chau Smith still works 10-hour days.
"She didn't want to publicize this before doing it," said Steve Hibbs, owner of the specialty travel company Marathon Adventures, which organized the trip. "She overcame a lot, and it was just really impressive to see her run and complete the event."
Nine other people joined Smith in running on all seven continents. Although she had done many marathons before, training to run seven in a row took months.
"It took me eight months to really train," Smith said. "The last four months, I really put in long, long runs. Every week, I ran from 15 miles to 130 miles."
Running across the world
The challenge, which Hibbs dubbed the Triple 7 Quest, presented a unique set of obstacles. During the first race in Australia, the temperature was above 100 degrees, Smith said. She became severely sunburned.
The most challenging race was in Cairo. The group's connecting flight from Singapore was delayed in Abu Dhabi, so they arrived in Egypt with only a few minutes to change before heading to the race start.
"We have 10 minutes to go up to our rooms to change and don't unpack," Smith said. "The key wasn't working for my room. I almost used up my 10 minutes. I was crying."
Most of the runners had a set time in which to finish each race in order to pace themselves for all seven. Smith had allotted herself seven hours to finish the race in Cairo, but because of the delay, Hibbs told the group to finish in six. Smith was worried about finishing in time, so Hibbs suggested she run the half-marathon instead.
She finished the full marathon in five hours and 51 minutes.
"From that day on, they never asked me about thinking about running a half-marathon again," Smith said.
A lifetime of adventure
Although Smith didn't tell many people about the Triple 7 Quest challenge beforehand, it wasn't her first extreme physical undertaking. A year earlier, she ran a marathon in Tanzania and then hiked Mount Kilimanjaro the next day.
"All my life ... I always did crazy things," Smith said. "When I was young in Vietnam, I was a stubborn kid. My family always never knew what I was going to do. I always showed them I can do it, just like boys."
Smith started running marathons in Missouri but quickly sought out races in other states and countries. She ran the Boston Marathon in 2013 but was unable to finish the race because of the bombing. She ran it the next two years.
Last year, Smith ran four marathons in five weeks. She traveled to Southeast Asia for a month and ran a marathon in Myanmar. Six days later, she ran a marathon in New Zealand and then a few days after that in Tanzania.
"We never go someplace without looking for the race," Smith said.
Born in Vietnam, Smith came to the United States in 1972. She owns and operates an alteration and dry-cleaning business in Independence, Missouri. Even though she works long days, running always makes her feel better.
Join the conversation
"I live a stressful life. Every day, I work 10 hours a day ... but I always feel better," Smith said. "How I feel after I put in my running, I think that's important. It makes you feel good. I can't really put it into words."
Smith often runs with her husband, who has also been running for most of his life. When she brought up the idea of completing the Triple 7 Quest, he was supportive, but worried about her health. Her two adult daughters expressed similar concerns.
"When I told my husband, he said, 'Well, I support you, and I'm always behind you, but the only thing I worry, you get hurt,' " Smith said.
Smith told all three that if she anything happens to her while she's doing something she loves, it would be worth it.
Hibbs has organized only two Triple 7 Quest trips, and he's planning a Triple 8 Quest for the upcoming year involving Zealandia, a microcontinent. He believes these longer challenges can test all aspects of a person's being.
"It's really about challenging both the body and the mind's upper limits," he said. "What can you handle? What upper threshold can you push past?"
For Smith, it seems no challenge is too small. When she retires, she'd like to hike the Appalachian Trail. For now, she's interested in the Triple 8 Quest.
New Zealand’s Lonely clothing brand has a new ad campaign that’s turning heads. Fifty-six-year-old Mercy Brewer is the star of the brand’s SS17 lingerie presentation, making ageism the latest taboo for the indie label to break. Lonely is known for its inclusive marketing, from its retouch-free autumn/winter 2016 campaign to its Instagram feed of customers wearing their lingerie in everyday life.
Co-founder and designer Helene Morris said, “The beauty and fashion industries are so obsessed with youth, but the reality is we are all aging, and there are so many wonderful things about growing older. So often the primary message around age is intervention, which is a frustrating response to such a natural, inevitable process.”
Brewer, a former punk rocker who modeled alongside Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, added, “I believe we are in a moment in time where older women’s beauty has been a startling revelation. If we don’t recognize it, we, every one of us, deny ourselves a future to look forward to.”
"If 80 percent of success is showing up, the other 20 percent is knowing when to leave. People would always say that I left Studio too early and Steve left too late. Steve would stay there because he loved it. I mean, to the bitter end. I was like Greta Garbo; I liked not being a part of it."
Teenagers love donning digitized puppy ears, flower crowns, and funky sunglasses. So do their parents.
Snapchat, the photo-sharing mobile app known for these filters, is gaining older users.
Market research firm eMarketer projects that 70.4 million Americans will use Snapchat in 2017, up from its June prediction of 66.6 million users, in a report on the app's U.S. user base released on Tuesday. The largest user base is aged from 18 to 24, but eMarketer estimates that 6.4% of users will be from 45 to 54 years old, over 2 percentage points more than previously projected. The research firm defined users as those who check the app at least once a month.
Close to 8 million Snapchatters will be over the age of 45, according to the research, just over 11% of the total U.S. user base. Those older than 45 are projected to make up 12.2% of the app's users in 2018 and 13.3% by 2019.
Last year, about 9% of Snapchat's American users were over the age of 45, and in 2015 it was just 5.6%.
Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., recently filed to make an initial public offering of shares. Snap is aiming to raise as much as $3.2 billion in its IPO, which would give it a market value of as much as $18.5 billion. The company is scheduled to price its shares on Wednesday and begin trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. A spokesman for Snapchat declined to comment on the EMarketer report, citing quiet period restrictions.
"The usage trends are largely the result of a shift in the primary use case of Snapchat," eMarketer analyst Jaimie Chung said in a statement. The app now offers daily news coverage and original content in its Discover section, along with text messaging and the ephemeral picture messaging it's known for.
"Older groups are now more likely to tune in for content. The platform has multiple partnerships with television networks for mini episodes," Ms. Chung said. "Meanwhile, the younger groups are less likely to add Snapchat when Instagram Stories," Instagram's version of disappearing-picture messaging, "can fulfill their broadcasting needs."
Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc., released Instagram Stories in August and has since amassed 150 million daily active users, according to the platform. Snapchat in early February said its daily user count is 158 million. Both platforms have advertisements sandwiched between user posts.
Appealing to older people is a good thing for a digital product aimed at the young if it helps boost the total number of users, as long as the thing doesn't develop a reputation as an app for Mom and Dad.
"I think to some extent usage among older adults is driven by parents who want to check up on their kids. But we do feel that Snapchat will gradually broaden its appeal beyond the youth demographic, just as Facebook did," Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, said in an email. eMarketer estimates that more than 80 percent of Snapchat's U.S. users were under 35 last year, compared with about 70 percent of Instagram's U.S. users.
While older users might gravitate toward Snapchat's original content, younger users are known to go streaking. Teenagers obsess over sending friends Snaps every day to keep a "streak," delineated in the app through an emoji.
"Sometimes I'll end up going through a streak in the middle of class," 15-year-old Abby Rogers told Bloomberg in January. "I'll just leave the phone face up and take a picture of the ceiling."
In the early hours of Nov. 9, as stock markets began to rally on the news of Donald Trump’s upset win, there was another dramatic spike afoot. Interest in the bone density and cholesterol levels of an 83-year-old woman from Flatbush, New York, was also soaring.
Many people wanted to know whether two-time cancer survivor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest and perhaps the most liberal justice on the Supreme Court, had enough gas in the tank to outlast the Trump presidency, or whether Trump would get a chance to fundamentally alter the balance of the court by replacing her, a possibility he dangled successfully to entice wary Republicans to vote him.
Ruth Brunn finally said yes to marijuana. She is 98.
She pops a green pill filled with cannabis oil into her mouth with a sip of vitamin water. Then Ms. Brunn, who has neuropathy, settles back in her wheelchair and waits for the jabbing pain in her shoulders, arms and hands to ebb.
“I don’t feel high or stoned,” she said. “All I know is I feel better when I take this.”
Ms. Brunn will soon have company. The nursing home in New York City where she lives, the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, is taking the unusual step of helping its residents use medical marijuana under a new program to treat various illnesses with an alternative to prescription drugs. While the staff will not store or administer pot, residents are allowed to buy it from a dispensary, keep it in locked boxes in their rooms and take it on their own.
From retirement communities to nursing homes, older Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains. Many have embraced it as an alternative to powerful drugs like morphine, saying that marijuana is less addictive, with fewer side effects.
For some people, it is a last resort when nothing else helps.
Marijuana, which is banned by federal law, has been approved for medical use in 29 states, including New York, and the District of Columbia. Accumulating scientific evidence has shown its effectiveness in treating certain medical conditions. Among them: neuropathic pain, severe muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, unintentional weight loss, and vomiting and nausea from chemotherapy. There have also been reports that pot has helped people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia as well as Parkinson’s disease.
Kay Abramowitz has been working, with a few breaks, since she was 14. Now 76, she is a partner in a law firm in Portland, Ore. — with no intention of stopping anytime soon. “Retirement or death is always on the horizon, but I have no plans,” she said. “I’m actually having way too much fun.”
The arc of women’s working lives is changing — reaching higher levels when they’re younger and stretching out much longer — according to two newanalyses of census, earnings and retirement data that provide the most comprehensive look yet at women’s career paths.
Over all, the paths look much more like men’s careers than they used to. Women are more likely than in previous generations to work at almost every point in their lives, including in their 20s and 30s when they often used to be home with children. Now, if mothers take breaks at all, it’s often not until their late 30s or early 40s — and those who leave are likely to return to the labor force.
Most striking, women have become significantly more likely to work into their 60s and even 70s, often full time, according to the analyses. And many of these women report that they do it because they enjoy it.
The data adds a bright chapter to the narrative of women’s progress in the world of work. Even though their participation in the labor force in the United States has flattened in recent years, and as mothers especially face serious challenges, women are working more than ever and getting fulfillment, not just income, from their jobs.
Nearly 30 percent of women 65 to 69 are working, up from 15 percent in the late 1980s, one of the analyses, by the Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, found. Eighteen percent of women 70 to 74 work, up from 8 percent.
This rejection of retirement is more common among women with higher education and savings, though not confined to them. Those who are not working are more likely to have poor health and low savings, and to be dependent on Social Security and sometimes disability benefits, Ms. Goldin said.
Of those still working, Ms. Goldin said, “They’re in occupations in which they really have an identity.” She added, “Women have more education, they’re in jobs that are more fulfilling, and they stay with them.” (Ms. Goldin happens to be an example of the phenomenon, as a 70-year-old professor and researcher.)
Men’s employment after age 60 has also risen, since about 1994, but not as steeply as women’s. About 60 percent of men 60 to 64 work, and just over half of women in that age range do.
When it comes to business projections, Silicon Valley is the home of the tall story. Unbridled ambitions, unfettered thinking and a belief in the boundless potential of technology produce a steady crop of outlandish expectations. Yet even by Silicon Valley standards the prediction that there are people alive today who will live for 1,000 years is extreme. It conjures less the bold pronouncement of a leading biotech pioneer than the ramblings of a mad professor.
At the end of a winding dirt track off Bear Creek Road, a few miles from Los Gatos in California’s Santa Cruz mountains is the home of Aubrey de Grey, the 53-year-old English research scientist from whom the claim originates. It looks exactly like the place you would expect a mad professor to live. The house is faded, to say the least. In a ramshackle kitchen an unwashed frying pan sits on an ancient-looking electric hob; empty beer bottles are clustered by the sink in which is stacked a heap of saucepans and utensils. Next door is one of several sitting rooms: a wall of windows facing the front drive and the thick-forested canyon beyond; a double mattress on a stained carpet; a bed sheet pinned up to block some of the morning light. The space opens into the largest room in the house — a long cavernous hall with high vaulted ceilings — designed, my host says, by the architect of San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. At one end is a huge open stone-and-brick fireplace; at the other a 4ft pile of rubbish — floorboards, pulled-up carpet, panelling and electrical wire. De Grey is gradually renovating the place, he says. He is at an early stage. He wears a green hoodie over an olive shirt, jeans and worn black trainers. His long greying hair is tied in a ponytail and an expansive dark brown beard reaches almost to his stomach. He beckons me through to the “sun room”, his favourite spot — two wicker armchairs either side of a glass-top table on which sits his laptop and an open bottle of IPA beer. It is 11.30am on a crisp Saturday morning. As we start to talk, I can see my breath forming clouds in the air in front of me.
Fifteen years ago, de Grey was lead author of a paper in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences which claimed the “indefinite postponement of aging . . . may be within sight”. Since then, he says, his position among gerontologists — the scientists of ageing and its related ills — has changed from sidelined dilettante to one of the discipline’s most influential and public voices. Most approaches aimed at combating ageing focus on arresting the harmful byproducts of metabolism, he says. These cause cellular damage and decay, which, in turn, accumulate to trigger the age-related disorders, such as cancer or dementia, that tend to finish us off.
Read more here:
It seems that the merciless, late-20s expiration date of most models might be a thing of the past. Countless models, over the course of the last couple years, have proven that a model’s appeal, like a fine wine, might actually get better with age. Thanks to the below, older-than-average models, a model at his or her thinnest does not amount to a model being in his or her prime. Rather, these models’ markers of success is their undying sophistication and poise. Proving that age is nothing but a number, meet the models over the age of 45 who are dominating the industry.
1. Lyn Slater, 63
Slater went from giving lectures about social justice in NYC to gaining international recognition for her photos and blog posts as the Accidental Icon. Shattering age and gender stereotypes, Slater allows her unique, personal style—androgynous, irreverent, and whimsical—shine through day-to-day. Keep in mind that, after only two years of running Accidental Icon, Slater has already partnered with UNIQLO. And if you quickly browse through her website, it’s easy to see why; the woman is teeming with words of wisdom that we’d definitely choose to live by.
2. Nicola Griffin, 56
We’re all about ladies and gents making moves and breaking boundaries especially in the beauty and fashion realms. Griffin is another such woman who has broken boundaries in the beauty and fashion industry, and has captured the attention of publications and fashion bigwigs as a result. Discovered while waiting in line at the bank, Griffin—who’s also a mother of two—landed a modeling gig at the age of 53 for White Hot Hair products. And then, three years later, she was featured in Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue. That is all.
3. Yazemeenah Rossi, 60
A quadruple threat, Yazemeenah Rossi not only has more Instagram followers than you, but she also a (swimsuit) model, a photographer, actress, and even a visual artist. Her svelte figure coupled with her cascading white hair is both visually appealing and reassuring for us young folk. Most recently, she starred in an exquisite, and notably airbrush-free swimsuit campaign for a collaboration between The Dreslyn and NYC lingerie brand Land of Women.
4. Naomi Campbell, 46
It almost feels wrong to include Naomi Campbell on this list; the perennial supermodel not only still has “it,” but she’s practically more in demand than her much younger counterparts today. She began modeling at the age of 15 and has since become one of the most sought-after supermodels in the industry. Campbell has covered the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Essence, among myriad others—and that’s not even including the infinite number of ads she’s starred in and runways she’s graced. As if all of that weren’t already, enough, Campbell has also recently ventured into acting—and unsurprisingly, is killing it at that too.
5. Maye Musk, 68
Musk has been modeling since she was 15 (that’s over 50 years, mind you) By the time she turned 50, she moved to NYC and took on major campaigns for Revlon and Clinique. Musk celebrated her 60th birthday by abandoning the hair dye and chopping off her locks. And, as she wrote on her website, “the new look brought a major campaign for Virgin America, billboards in Times Square, covers of Elle Quebec, New York Magazine and Zoomer Magazine, even music videos and commercials.” Because…naturally. Speaking of music videos, she was even tapped by Queen Bey herself to appear in the 2013 music video for “Haunted.” (Again…naturally.) This is #goals, at its finest.
6. Iman, 61
Hailing from Somalia, Iman is not only one of the world’s most iconic supermodels, but, launching Iman Cosmetics in 1994, she’s also been a pioneer for the beauty industry’s offerings for women of color. Iman was discovered while in college by photographer Peter Beard, and soon after was invited to the States by Wilhelmina Models. And the rest, as they say, is history. Iman’s modeling career is about as prodigious and illustrious as it gets—and though she technically retired from modeling in 1989, she invariably still pops up on the occasional magazine cover.
7. Daphne Selfe, 88
Daphne Selfe, who began modeling in 1949, has managed to not only land a Vogue spread after turning 70, but she’s also went on to pose for Dolce & Gabbana, Nivea, and Olay. Two years ago, Selfe was coined as the world’s oldest professional fashion model by The Guinness Book of World Records. She’s spent a lifetime in front of the camera, and apparently owes it all to good genes—no Botox—and “a bit of Boots [moisturizer].” Goddess.
- Gabrielle Nicole Pharms via Milk
As of May 2016, twenty-four states have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana, and four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use(1). In a recent Gallup poll, 58% of surveyed American adults indicated that marijuana use should be legal, more than double the percentage who did so (25%) in 1995 (2). As acceptance of cannabis use is on the increase across the country, it is important to consider the implications for the fastest growing segment of the population, older adults(3).
How Many Older Adults Use Marijuana?
Research indicates that cannabis use by older adults is on the rise. According to data from the annual National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), from 2002-2014 the proportion of adults aged 50 to 64 who reported cannabis use in the past year more than tripled from 2.9% to 9.0%. Among adults aged 65 or older, the proportion increased more than tenfold from 0.2% to 2.1%. As the baby boom generation has only recently begun to reach senior citizen status and as medical and recreational marijuana use is increasingly decriminalized across the country, the proportion of older adults using cannabis could continue to grow and approach rates currently observed in younger age groups, which as of the NSDUH of 2014, were 11.6% of those aged 35 to 49, 20.0% of those aged 26-34, and 31.9% of those aged 18-25.
What Are Some Concerns About Older Adults and Cannabis Use?
Along with aging come physical changes, including hearing impairment, vision changes, slowed reaction time, susceptibility to falls, and cognitive decline. Aging also entails the development of age-related health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer. Two out of three older Americans have multiple chronic health conditions, which generally require multiple prescription medications, increasing the risk of adverse drug effects, which can further endanger their health(4). As cannabis is increasingly seen as benign and a safe adjunct or alternative treatment for age-related health problems, a rising number of older adults may be expected to turn to marijuana for medical in addition to recreational purposes.
Concerns about Health Harms
Cannabis consumption has a number of acute physiological effects that may be more hazardous or concerning for older adults.
- Smoking marijuana results in a substantially greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and tar than smoking a similar quantity of tobacco(5). Habitual marijuana smoking has been linked to airway injury and chronic bronchitis(6).
- Cannabis consumption causes an increase in heart rate, lesser increases in cardiac output and supine blood pressure, and frequent occurrence of postural hypotension. While little is known about the effect of cannabis use on cardiovascular disease outcomes, it is believed that cannabis use can result in inadequate blood flow to the heart (i.e., ischemia) in susceptible individuals(7).
Concerns about Drug Interactions
According to the Mayo Clinic, cannabis may interact, sometimes dangerously so, with several medications that are commonly prescribed to older adults(8). Cannabis affects the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system (CYP450), which determines how certain drugs, herbs, and supplements are metabolized. Those who take medications, herbs, or supplements that are metabolized by CYP450 could have increased blood levels of their active ingredients, which could cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Some specific concerns are listed below.
- Cannabis may further increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, including aspirin, anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin®), antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®), and herbs or supplements such as ginkgo biloba.
- Because cannabis use may affect blood sugar levels, medication adjustments may be necessary for those taking oral or injectable drugs for diabetes, such as metformin or insulin, or herbs and supplements that also affect blood sugar.
- Because cannabis use may affect blood pressure, caution is warranted among those who take blood pressure medications or herbs or supplements that affect blood pressure.
- Cannabis may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol, which could increase the risk of fall and injuries among older adults.
Concerns about Memory Problems
Age-associated cognitive decline is common in older adults. Research suggests that more than 10% of older adults aged 60-64 show some age-associated cognitive decline, and the proportion of individuals with cognitive decline increases with age(9). This is important to consider because cannabis often has cognitive effects, and it is largely unknown how cannabis-related cognitive effects interact with age-related cognitive decline. Studies on the cognitive effects of cannabis, conducted with younger adults, indicate that the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), impairs attention, executive cognitive function, and short-term memory(10, 11). Such effects could be magnified among older adults who consume cannabis and become problematic, for example, if they interfere with optimal adherence to medication regimens, increase the risk of accidents in the home, or affect decision-making around driving under the influence of cannabis, which could be more hazardous among older adults with subtle or obvious cognitive decline. Research has found, in young adults, residual cognitive effects of cannabis persist for 12 to 24 hours after smoking. Residual effects have not been studied in older adults, but it might be expected that residual effects would even last longer in those with age-related cognitive decline.
Concerns about Cannabis Misuse
Generally speaking, older adults are less likely to exhibit substance use disorders than younger adults(12). However, as cannabis use becomes more widespread among older adults, cannabis misuse, abuse, or dependence would also be expected to rise. One study indicated that the number of adults aged 50 or older with substance use disorder is projected to double from an average of 2.8 million per year 2002–2006 to 5.7 million in the year 2020(13). Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that rates of cannabis abuse and dependence increased modestly but significantly among those aged 45 to 64 from 1991-1992 to 2001-2002 (14) and again from 2001-2002 to 2012-2013(15).
While there is no research to suggest whether older adults are any more or less susceptible to the development of substance use disorders than younger adults, aging is associated with a number of psychosocial problems that serve as risk factors for substance misuse, including bereavement, social isolation, loneliness, lack of social support, depression, and anxiety. Although most older adults have regular contact with health professionals for a variety of reasons, relatively few with substance use problems seek professional help(16). This may be particularly true for cannabis, given the widespread belief that cannabis is not addictive(17). While treatments designed specifically for older adults are few and have rarely been tested, response to treatment for substance use disorders appears to be at least as good among older adults as among younger adults(18).
- via University of Washington