10 Great Frances McDormand Quotes on Aging

The ‘Olive Kitteridge’ star on plastic surgery and becoming an ‘elderess’

Photo © 2014 Ernesto Ruscio  - Frances McDormand at "Olive Kitteridge" event

Photo © 2014 Ernesto Ruscio – Frances McDormand at “Olive Kitteridge” event

By Sue Campbell
November 12, 2014 (Reblogged from NextAvenue.org)

After a 10-year absence from giving interviews, actress Frances McDormand, 57, is back, and I couldn’t be happier.

The Academy- and Emmy-award winner’s latest role is Olive Kitteridge, in a four-part HBO mini-series with that name based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Elizabeth Strout. It premiered Nov. 2 and concluded Nov. 3.

McDormand has said what drew her in — she produces and acts — was the character’s complexity and the chance to explore it over time. The story begins when Olive, a stoic, depressive New Englander, is 45. It follows her for 25 years through life’s losses, lessons and joys.

While she has given interviews for the series, McDormand has spoken frequently on aging. What she’s said has been provocative, straightforward and spot-on. Here, culled from media reports, are 10 of her most incisive quotes:

On why our species is in trouble: “There’s no desire to be an adult. Adulthood is not a goal. It’s not seen as a gift. Something happened culturally: No one is supposed to age past 45 — sartorially, cosmetically, attitudinally. Everybody dresses like a teenager. Everybody dyes their hair. Everybody is concerned about a smooth face.” — The New York Times 

On showing the power that comes with age: “One of the reasons that I am doing press again after 10 years’ absence is because I feel like I need to represent publicly what I’ve chosen to represent privately — which is a woman who is proud and more powerful than I was when I was younger. And I think that I carry that pride and power on my face and in my body.” — National Public Radio

On ageism as a cultural problem: “I want to be a role model for not only younger men and women — and not just in my profession, I’m not talking about my profession. I think that cosmetic enhancements in my profession are just an occupational hazard. But I think, more culturally, I’m interested in starting the conversation about aging gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem, we make it individuals’ problems. I think that ageism is a cultural illness; it’s not a personal illness. — National Public Radio

On the physical difficulties of aging: “Getting older and adjusting to all the things that biologically happen to you is not easy to do, and is a constant struggle and adjustment. — National Public Radio

On her reaction to plastic surgery: “I have not mutated myself in any way. Joel (Coen, her director husband) and I have this conversation a lot. He literally has to stop me physically from saying something to people — to friends who’ve had work. I’m so full of fear and rage about what they’ve done.” — The New York Times

On why her face gives her an advantage: “I’ve got a rubber face. It has always served me very well and really helps, especially as I get older, because I still have all my road map intact, and I can use it at will.” — Reuters

On what looking old signals: “You are someone who, beneath that white hair, has a card catalog of valuable information.” — The New York Times 

On how home life experience can transfer: “I think that many of my skill sets from being a housewife I used for producing. Because you don’t stop until it’s done.” — The Los Angeles Times

On how she came to be a producer: “With Olive, I realized that I’m a filmmaker — not just an actor. I’ve absorbed a lot over the last 30 years working with a lot of extraordinary filmmakers, and I put that all into play when making Olive Kitteridge.” — The Daily Beast

On how she wants to be treated: “I want to be revered. I want to be an elder; I want to be an elderess. I have some things to talk about and say and help. And, if I can’t, then — not unlike Olive — I don’t feel necessary.” — National Public Radio

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The New House

In Progress | ©2014 HouseofHank.me


Everything I look at or touch
has been crafted by the Makers
skilled as Medieval artisans
—creators of a dwelling
that became a refuge
for someone like me—
longing for repose.

Though gone now
their spirits remain
within this well made home
I inhabit,
meant for sunsets and serenity.

·   ·   ·   ·

Photo courtesy Louise S. Wright

Photo courtesy Louise S. Wright

Though I am in my 90th year, I bought a house overlooking Puget Sound and had it remodeled. Often I was told it was crazy at my age to do so. Nevertheless, the results are spectacular.

So this poem is dedicated to the Upright Construction crew who helped create this beautiful house, carefully made for someone in her advanced years who, like a “canary in the coal mine”, is sensitive to many toxic chemicals.

The products used—from grab bars in the shower, trip-proof strips on the stairs, double railings, and the team’s constant effort to use only harmless materials—beautifully made up the pure green whole.

(This poem is the first effort in an ongoing sequence about the house.)


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Village Writing Group

Pussywillows | ©2014 HouseofHank.me

Please join us for an invigorating writing group starting February, 2015! 

Write about your life or others in memoir form, poetry, short stories, or books. Test out those tantalizing phrases with us in a comfortable, non-judgmental setting. We will meet monthly at the Couth Buzzard, Greenwood Ave, on an agreed-upon day.

If interested, email PNA Village Member Carol Beach at cbeach5122@gmail.com .

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Retirees Turn to Virtual Villages for Mutual Support

Some members of the Capital City Village watching a movie in Austin.  Photo: Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

By Constance Gustke
The New York TimesNovember 28, 2014

RICK CLOUD, 68, knew that he wanted to stay in his home in Austin, Tex., as he aged. But Mr. Cloud, who is divorced, was not sure how he could do that without relying on his two daughters.

Then he ran across the idea of virtual retirement villages, whose members pay a yearly fee to gain access to resources and social connections that help them age in place. Sold on the concept, Mr. Cloud joined with some friends to start Capital City Village four years ago.

“Our virtual village can connect me with people my own age so I can do more things,” said Mr. Cloud, a retired technology consultant. “I worry about being single and getting older.”

Now, Mr. Cloud has all the support he needs. He can tap into Capital City Village’s network of more than 100 service companies referred by members. Dozens of volunteers will walk his dog or do yard work. When he wants to meet people, Mr. Cloud can attend house concerts in a member’s home, go to happy hour at the local Mexican restaurant or hear a champion storyteller give a talk. He has also made over 40 village friends.

Read the full article here

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Author Richard Ford Says ‘Let Me Be Frank’ About Aging And Dying

Mike Groll | AP

A house on the central Jersey Shore coast collapsed after Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012. Richard Ford said he focused on houses in the wake of the storm in his new book, “Let Me Be Frank With You”, because they have an “almost iconic status.” “A house is where you look out the window and see the world,” he says.  ( Mike Groll | AP )

By Teri Gross — “Fresh Air” | NPR
November 12, 2014

Let Me Be Frank With YouWhen Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford was a young man, he says, he had a cynical view of aging.

“I sort of went through life thinking that when you got to be in your 60s that basically you weren’t good for much,” Ford tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “That’s a younger man’s view. I know that the AARP phones are ringing when I say that, but now I’m 70 and I don’t think that anymore, OK?”

Not only is Ford older, but the character he’s been writing about for years has aged, too. Frank Bascombe, whom Ford wrote about in The Sportswriter and Independence Day, is now 68.

Ford’s latest book, Let Me Be Frank With You, is a series of four interconnected novellas about Bascombe, who is retired from his work as a real estate broker. It’s 2012, just before Christmas, and just a few weeks after Superstorm Sandy destroyed parts of the Jersey Shore near where Frank lives.

Ford says for this book, he had to bring Frank “up to date” to make him a plausible character.

In the stories, Frank is dealing with the aftermath of Sandy, his aging body, a dying friend and his ex-wife, who has Parkinson’s and has moved to a nearby assisted living facility.

“I really got interested in the consequences of the hurricane, and I got interested in having Frank be my instrumental narrator in assessing those consequences,” Ford says. “So once I figured out how old he would be, then I had to sort of fill in the absences there that weren’t taken care of in the other books. In other words, I kind of backed into it being about aging because he happened to be that age.”

In the stories, Frank is dealing with the aftermath of Sandy, his aging body, a dying friend and his ex-wife, who has Parkinson’s and has moved to a nearby assisted living facility.

“I think these things are surrounding us all the time,” Ford says. “We don’t have experiences to get over [them]; we have experiences so we can sort of deal with them and address them and have, in some ways, some stability towards them.”

Listen to this story on NPR, read transcript, or view interview highlights 

Read excerpt of Let Me Be Frank With You


Find this book!

Seattle Public Library: http://seattle.bibliocommons.com/item/show/3009936030_let_me_be_frank_with_you

IndieBound:  http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780061692062?aff=NPR

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20828358-let-me-be-frank-with-you?from_search=true

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The Dutch Village Where Everyone Has Dementia

The town of Hogeway, outside Amsterdam, is a Truman Show-style nursing home.

Gabriel Rocha | Flickr

Gabriel Rocha | Flickr

By Josh Planosov
The Atlantic—November 14, 2014

When Yvonne van Amerongen received a phone call from her mother two decades ago, relaying that her father had died of a heart attack—sudden and painless—one of the first things she thought was, Thank God he never had to be in a nursing home.

Van Amerongen was working as a staff member at a traditional Dutch nursing home at the time, getting a front-line view of what she never wanted for her parents. That call from her mother spurred Yvonne into action as she became committed to making nursing homes more livable and less of a departure from reality for their residents. She envisioned a setup as far away as possible from the nondescript buildings and polished floors of her workplace, where everything carried the scent of a dentist’s medical cabinet. Over the next 20 years, she worked to secure the funding she’d need to make the idea a reality.

There are homes resembling the 1950s, 1970s, and 2000s, accurate down to the tablecloths.


Today, the isolated village of Hogewey lies on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the small town of Wheesp. Dubbed “Dementia Village” by CNN, Hogewey is a cutting-edge elderly-care facility—roughly the size of 10 football fields—where residents are given the chance to live seemingly normal lives. With only 152 inhabitants, it’s run like a more benevolent version of The Truman Show, if The Truman Show were about dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Like most small villages, it has its own town square, theater, garden, and post office. Unlike typical villages, however, this one has cameras monitoring residents every hour of every day, caretakers posing in street clothes, and only one door in and out-of-town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe. Friends and family are encouraged to visit. Some come every day. Last year, CNN reported that residents at Hogewey require fewer medications, eat better, live longer, and appear more joyful than those in standard elderly-care facilities.

Read the full article here

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Book Review: “Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat”

Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat | Miyoko Ihara

みさおとふくまる – Misao to Fukumaru
(Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat), by Miyoko Ihara
(Tōkyō : Ritorumoa, 2011)

Review by Hank.

book coverThe Internet and cats. Apparently, it’s a thing.

There is Maru (まる) of the 200 million+ views on YouTube. There is Grumpy Cat®: “The World’s Grumpiest Cat”. There is ScarfaceLil BUB the “perma-kitten”, and Colonel Meow: Entertainer. Locally, there’s Cooper: Photographer Cat, and Henri: Le Chat Noir. There are LOLcats, animated GIFs, and countless associated posters, t-shirts, plushies, coffee mugs, books and calendars.

Until now, none of these cybercats have ensnared me—okay, I dig Henri, but we share a vet—until Misao to Fukumaru. I discovered this little gem of a book via one of those dreaded chain email forwards. You know that email.

Maneki Neko Fukumaru! (Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features)

Maneki Neko Fukumaru!

But what a great discovery!

Photographer Miyoko Ihara (伊原 美代子) began making photos of her grandmother Misao in 2003 as a way of documenting her grandmother’s life. In 2006, Misao found a white kitten abandoned on her property, which she named Fukumaru, or as Ihara explains, “in hope the God of fuku (good fortune) comes and everything will be smoothed over like maru (circle).” The two have been inseparable ever since.

Fukumaru is so happy and contented at my grandmother’s side. When I take a picture of the two of them together it’s like I’m photographing myself as a little girl.

(Photo: Miyoko Ihara |Rex Features)

This Japanese photo book really needs no translation. There’s so much personality, love, and humor in these images, I immediately flipped the book over and went through it again.

Through this collection of images, we’re also given a peek into a more rural side of Japanese life. Though the Chiba Prefecture where Misao lives isn’t far outside of Tokyo, it seems worlds away. Similarly, Misao is ageless in her garden and orchard, even as the photographs document many years of birthdays and daily moments with her beloved cat.

As Ihara notes on Nippon.com, “When I see the way my grandmother is living her life, I really feel that she has a kind of strength that my generation simply can’t match. She gets up with the sun, and goes to bed when it sets. She loves her cat and the vegetables in her field like her own children. If her vegetables come out well, she’s happy. She doesn’t have to worry about questions like ’what is the point of my work?’ Her way of life fills me with admiration and a sort of envy.”

This is the second of two small books’ worth of photos of Misao and Fukumaru. Many of the images are available to view online (see links below), but this makes a great gift and/or coffee table book for almost anyone on your holiday list—even curmudgeonly old dogs.

Pick this book up. It might just make your day!

Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

Miyoko Ihara Rex Features

Cherry Blossom Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

"Tea" by Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

"Fukumaru" by Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features

Misao Ihara by Miyoko Ihara | Rex Features


Find this book!

Seattle Public Library: http://seattle.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2970601030_misao_to_fukumaru

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17344809-misao-to-fukumaru?from_search=true

Kinokuniya: http://www.kinokuniya.com/us/index.php/fbs003?common_param=9784898153192

Misao & Fukumara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MisaoFukumaru/photos_stream?ref=page_internal

Miyoko Ihara’s website: http://whitemanekicat.p1.bindsite.jp/nitinitikorekouniti.html

Related titles

Ihara’s first book: “Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat, Goodbye, Hello”

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Rx for soaring health costs: Give more Americans a ‘purpose in life’

Are people who have a "sense of purpose" in life more likely to take advantage of cost-saving preventive healthcare services? Researches put the theory to a test.  (Joe Raedle|Getty Images)

Are people who have a “sense of purpose” in life more likely to take advantage of cost-saving preventive healthcare services? Researches put the theory to a test. (Joe Raedle|Getty Images)

By Karen Kaplan
Los Angeles Times—November 3, 2014

Researchers have an unconventional idea for reducing medical costs in the U.S.: Give more Americans a sense of purpose.

You see, people who believe their lives have purpose are motivated to optimize their health. That means they’re more likely than other folks to take advantage of preventive health services, like cancer screenings. And people who take advantage of preventive healthcare save the medical system big bucks.

Read the full article

Read the scientific abstract at PNAS

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A Tiny Stumble, a Life Upended

Katherine Streeter | The New York Times

After a fall, life is upended in an instant — a sudden loss of independence, an awkward reliance on family and friends, and a new level of fear for those who fall, and their contemporaries. (Art:  Katherine Streeter for The New York Times)

AFTER THE FALL: Second of two articles
By Katie Hafner
The New York Times—November 3, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Joan Rees, 79, had hardly been ill a day in her life. Her biggest problem was arthritis, mostly in her knees, but at home in San Francisco she walked every day and she traveled frequently.

At dusk last November in Istanbul, on the final day of a cruise, she missed a step and lost her footing. When she couldn’t stand up, she knew something was terribly wrong.

In that trivial act of misplacing her foot and falling, she had fractured her pelvis in multiple places. “It was a complete shock,” she said, “that I did something so destructive to my body.”

Her life would change with cruel, unanticipated swiftness.

Read full article

Read Part 1 (“Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation”)

By Katie Hafner
The New York Times—November 3, 2014

Older Americans, Falling MorePreventing a fall, and the resulting injuries, isn’t simply a matter of being more careful. Indeed, experts who have studied falls wish that people would take measures to protect themselves much as they do against heart disease or viral infections.

Judy A. Stevens, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stressed the importance of exercise. Among those who do fall, she said, “if you’re in better physical condition, you’re less likely to be injured.”

Read full article


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Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation

Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times

As the population ages and people live longer in bad shape, the number of older Americans who fall and suffer serious, even fatal, injuries is soaring. (Photo: Ramin Rahimian for NYT)

AFTER THE FALL: First of Two Articles
By Katie Hafner
The New York Times—November 2, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Eleanor Hammer, 92, executes a tightly choreographed, slow-motion pas de deux with her walker during meal times at The Sequoias, a retirement community here. She makes her way to the buffet, places her food on the walker’s built-in tray and returns to her table.

Her small act of independence has not come easily. To eliminate trips that could lead to falls, management at The Sequoias required residents to have walkers valet parked once they reached their table, then remain seated while staff served the meal.

Click here for full article

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