Anderson Conference - Educators Guide To the GeroSphere - R.Anunsen



JAN ABUSHAKRAH: So welcome to the gerosphere.
I am happy to be the current commander of the PCC
School of Geronautical Engineering.
And we are to share with you what we live every day.
Aren't you jealous?
What we know in gerontology-- you know, the old saying.
Those of you-- I know there's a few of you gray hairs in the room,
so you remember the personal is political?
Well, in gerontology the professional,
what we learn how to do as we're working with older people,
is personal.
I mean, we're all aging, right?
So the best solution is to get on that geroship
and take off to explore those new frontiers.

All right, just helping [INAUDIBLE].
ROGER ANUNSEN: The person you just met who is off being recorded,
that's Laura Lou, one of the geronauts who graduated.
And Laura Lou is somebody who's going to have to be out of here
for other commitments.
But Laura Lou is somebody who Jan can explain here for a moment,
came to the program with a vision.
And that vision was to use her talents
after she had learned how to employ what she learned
at PCCs in the Gerontology Department
and take it into a new area, carving out her own career.
So Jan, you want to explain a little bit?
Actually, you may have noticed that Laura Lou is a bit of a clown.
And in fact, that's what she was professionally for several years
before she--
ROGER ANUNSEN: Took pictures of her--
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Before she re-careered.
And in addition to studying gerontology,
she also got her-- she was the first graduate of the Healthy Older Adult
Fitness Certificate, which is a collaboration between fitness
technology and gerontology.
And so she's out there bringing just--
besides the laughter yoga clubs and that kind of thing,
she also goes into assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care units
and so on, and brings this joy and enlivens
that laughter that's inside everyone.
And as you will notice, as you get laughing, that is one of the things
that-- I mean, keeps us all healthy.
And so the great thing, as Laura Lou was here
when she was studying in the program,
she had a little laughter yoga club.
So I got an hour a week of-- sort of.
I didn't always make it.
LAURA LOU: Every once in a while.
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Yeah, every once in a while-- the laughter yoga club.
And so that's again, this mixture of the professional and the personal.
And it's all based on the research.
And that's one of the things that Laura Lou
does when she works with groups is explain,
like this is what's happening.
And this is how we know what's happening.
And so it's this awareness building as well.
ROGER ANUNSEN: Let me get one more plug.
when I started the course called The Aging Mind, which is simply
translating neuroscience into a second language in the Gerontology
Department, and had people come in to explain to young geronauts,
the ones who are going to really be taking what is learned here,
applying it to the real world, they're
creating new things that never were before.
And what Laura Lou did after she graduated
was to come back and be a guest speaker,
to inspire the people who are here that this
is what you can do with a degree.
You don't have to go where others have gone.
You could carve out your own field.
And that's what you're doing.
And if you're available this April to listen to her at Oregon State
University, she was invited to speak at the annual conference.
And that is something that we've got to give you a round of applause.
ROGER ANUNSEN: You will come back and see us again, right?
ROGER ANUNSEN: OK, thank you.
Thank you very much.
What I want to do is to move forward here and explain
that we are going to be taking you on quick breaks back and forth.
One of the things that I'm going to do is to give you some takeaways.
The takeaways are both how you as an educator
can thrive if you understand how things work as you age.
Anybody in the room over the age of 50?
You have something to learn right off the bat.
And that is your brain is not the same as it was at 40 or 30.
And it's not the same as it will be at 60 or 70.
So as Betty White said, "deal with it."
When you understand that the brain science is something we are just
barely understanding how aging brains work, how they fail,
and what has to be done, we decided that I'm
going to sprinkle in a little of my class in six modules
to tell you, here's what you can do in a couple of different ways
today, tomorrow, both for your own life, for your relatives life,
and for your students.
If you're a thriving educator, if you're thriving,
that means you're thriving because you're keeping yourself healthy.
You're keeping your confidence up that you can handle this
as you turn to be 60 and 61, 62.
Should you retire?
Not necessarily.
If you keep your brain healthy, you can
go on and be a talented older instructor
if you know you can't teach like you used
to get because you brain is different.
If you have students who are going to benefit from you as an educator,
you have to know how their brains work.
And that's why we also explain that when you're a teacher
and you're thriving, it means that you're thriving personally
and your students are thriving because knowing
that their brains are different, depending
on whether they're 25, 45, or 55.
They absorb information in a way that
is different fro when they were 25 and 35.
You, as a teacher, have to recognize that.
If you have students that [INAUDIBLE],
it's a lot easier to teach [INAUDIBLE].

ROGER ANUNSEN: My dog scratching at the door.
But if you have, like we all do, students
that are 30, 40, 50, and 60, how do you teach to them?
Well, you understand that their brains
absorb like a sponge in different ways.
And we're going to talk about that for a few minutes.
We use in our classes-- and I'm going
to teach you here quickly what a brain break is.
A brain break has been found to be your ability
to absorb information for a period of time.
So I'm thinking from the student's point of view,
you absorb for a few minutes, and then your eyes glaze over.
Not because you're a poor teacher.
Their eyes glaze over because they are
doing one thing, one thing, one thing.
And we use brain breaks.
When many of my students see Einstein's picture,
they know that that's going to-- we're
going to divert their attention from a moment or for a few minutes.
Who could remember reading a book and then all of a sudden
after a few minutes, you don't remember the last three
pages that you read?
It happens.
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: That'd be me.
ROGER ANUNSEN: Not because the book isn't good.
But because you've been sitting, your brain has been stagnant.
You've been focusing, especially if it's real hard work,
and you need to get more blood flow, more fuel to your brain.
So we take a brain break and divert attention.
What we'll do is we'll have something like this next slide.
ROGER ANUNSEN: What you do when you have a brain break like that,
and then you have another [INAUDIBLE].
ROGER ANUNSEN: So when you have a brain break, then
with 30 seconds or just a moment.
And then, come back and get right back where
you were-- your brain somehow is ready to learn again.
So what do you do?
You go back to Kagan.
Kagan wrote this book in 2003.
The title says everything.
The book is actually for younger, maturing, developing brains,
but we see parts of that in the title.
Think of this, Surprise, Uncertainty, and Mental Structure.
What this means is that if you have no surprise, no uncertainty
in your life or in your class, you can predict
exactly what's going to happen, your brain starts falling apart.
In elder care, we know that if someone
has no surprise in their life.
They can predict all the meals, they can predict everything,
they atrophy.
They don't even know what day of the week
it is because they got nothing to surprise them.
So we use this, Surprise, Uncertainty, and Mental Structure.
We also, in gerontology, use this book.
My class was originally called The Mature Mind,
but I realized not everybody takes the class is mature.
ROGER ANUNSEN: We call it The Aging Mind now.
But Gene Cohen was a mentor of ours before he
passed away too early from cancer.
He wrote two books in his career, 40-year career
dealing with people over 100.
People in their 80s.
The Mature Mind was his seminal piece
and in 2005, he wrote this book because he
was convinced that brains, as they get to be about 50--
that's why I asked, how many of you are over 50-- change structurally,
but he couldn't prove it.
He knew that they functioned differently,
but he wanted to find out could they structurally change.
He was a student of Erickson's.
Erickson wrote his wonderful books, except he only
had the last stage of the lives that he
wrote about were one and a half pages long.
Gene is a student and one of his statements
that he used to proudly say, I asked Dr. Erickson
why there was only one and a half pages on the final stages.
And he said, there's no research, Gene.
That's up to you.
Gene took that to heart and he was the one
who broke new ground with the theory that your brain isn't better
or worse as it gets older, it's just different.
So learn how [INAUDIBLE].
And then, this phrase came out of Gene's mouth.
He said, if we can educate people how their brains work,
give them the knowledge, they'll figure out how to use it.
And that's what we do in our class.
But this study came out from Duke.
And it was when the fMRIs were just being developed.
And so the fMRI that showed that the brain of an older person
functions differently.
So who's under 50?
If I give you a puzzle--
ROGER ANUNSEN: If I give you a puzzle and you solve it,
your brain image shows either right or left primarily
because you're unilaterally using your brain.
Older brains [INAUDIBLE].

This scientist found that older brains
used both, bilateral thinking.
Gene said it went from two to four wheel drive.
You, as an older educator, need to know
that you're slower than these young brains, but we can find answers
and don't make mistakes if you understand
that it's not a speed race.
So given the confidence that you are a mature mind,
he said, now what do we call them?
And no matter how hard they work, they cannot be here 50 years--
until you're 50 years and the structure of the brain may start
So we build that as a model to say that if people understand
as they are aging educators, your best years are ahead
of you if you keep your brain healthy.
We're going to teach you in the next hour how to-- or half an hour
how to keep your brain healthy.
Jan, comments or you want to make a point about our gerosphere?

JAN ABUSHAKRAH: How about we do a brain break?
ROGER ANUNSEN: A brain break.
One of the things that you can-- we got a small one with the cat and so
But one of the things I think is standing up.
And Laura Lou, if we can have a little encore here.
If you could lead us in just the real easy stretch and breathing
and laughter break.
LAURA LOU: Soften and straighten your legs.
And think about your weight on your feet.
And then, do a little double time and let your arms just
hang down there all floppy style.

We're going to breathe in and raise the shoulders.
And let it out slow.

All right.
Now, when you're tight on space, you might just bring your arms out
to the front and reach with one arm forward.
Reach, reach, reach.
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Especially if you've been working on your computer,
doing that little--
LAURA LOU: Let's drop those hands down and watch your partners.
We're going to put our palms up.
Another great thing to do when you're at the keyboard for a while,
get those elbows in and out.
And then, palms up, thumbs to the outsides,
and rotate the arms so that the elbows stay where they are
and the fingertips float out to the sides.
Take a deep breath here.

LAURA LOU: All right, now a step or two in place.
Just feel how high up you can bring that leg, how high it feels good.
And a low kick.
Pull those toes back toward you.
Do one more on each side.
All right, good.
And stomping.
LAURA LOU: And the last thing is a short positive affirmation.
It goes ah, yes.
A few more.
Ah, yes.
Ah, yes.
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Yeah, you do that in your psychology 101 class.
You know, wake them up.
Doesn't take very much time and they don't
need to walk out and get more coffee and so on.
They are energized and ready.
LAURA LOU: And people are surprisingly
willing to follow along if you do so strongly.
And working with eye contact to the people that you know
are willing to play along with you can often help build that really
quickly and make it easy to just get it started.
ROGER ANUNSEN: Part of the beauty of this
is that it distracts the student from whatever
it was they were worrying about, thinking about.
You can't think of something else when
you're trying to follow somebody.
And we're going to use some other brain breaks.
We hope that this brain break theory will go to every class,
including distance learning.
Our distance learning class, we have places
where there's a 30-second video.
There's something that breaks up the monotony of words
on a page, or even pictures, or of the educational videos.
It works.
It keeps people wondering, what's the next one there?
And that's Kagan's Surprise, Uncertainty, and Mental Structure.
Here are the six takeaways that we're
going to have for a thriving educator.
And this really is for your brain's health.
We're gong to talk about the six cog wheels.
We have handouts.
You don't have to take any notes because you got those handouts.
You can read them the rest of your life.
We only have you till quarter till 10:00
and we're going to use every minute of it.
But cog wheels is a phrase we picked up,
and Michael and I used since 2004 and '05.
It's the cognitive wheels in your brain.
It's the gears that you've got.
There are six that we say are essential.
It started with three, and then we-- science came out, we had five.
And now we have six.
Maybe next year seven.
Maybe we'll go back to five.
Science is changing, but we use cog wheels
because we know a fine watch can still tick even if there's a wobbly
cog wheel, even if there's teeth that are missing on a cog wheel.
But once one of these cog wheels stops, once it fails,
your brain will fail.
End of discussion, you'll get some form of dementia,
or at least the symptoms of dementia.
These are the six cog wheels.
You don't have to write them down because we're
going to review them today and they're in the back of the room.
We're going to also talk about why every one of these cog wheels
deal with neurochemicals, brain chemicals, that
pop out of your brain.
When you laughed, when you jumped up and down, when you smell,
all of your five senses trigger something
that is in your brain that creates chemicals.
We call it a chemical cascade because once you
get a chemical in your brain, that chemical
is going to stay there for just a moment or maybe
a little bit longer.
And we'll talk about that in a few minutes.
Physical movement is the first and probably the key starting point.
And that's that you got to have movement.
Well, we used to say physical exercise, but we changed it.
And I'll tell you here in a moment why.
But why do you need to exercise?
Why do you need to move to be a thriving educator?
I use my brain to educate.
It's because?
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: That blood goes to the brain also.
ROGER ANUNSEN: 90 smidgens of more fuel, heartbeats per minute.
If you're going at 72 heartbeats per minute and you get up to 73,
that's a smidgen more.
More what?
It's fuel.
ROGER ANUNSEN: We'll talk about.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factors discovered in the '80s
by a Swiss scientist.
And nobody really knew exactly what they did, but they found them.
And then, John Ratey at Harvard wrote this book, Spark.
He found out that when you exercise and get that blood flow that
goes up a little a bit, and keep it up for about 10 to 20 minutes,
the faucet of growth factors called BDNF actually trigger your brain
to have a chemical bath for a few moments, and then it stays there.
You quit walking and you quit exercising, it stays in your brain
and it makes the dendrites grow faster.
You're able to learn better and recall better because?
Not because you walked, but because of the chemicals.
But the chemicals are triggered because you walked.
So what did he call it?
Because it stayed in your brain and made things grow,
he called it Miracle-Gro for your brain.
And that says it all for a thriving educator
that you have to figure out how to your brain sharp to make sure
you're at the maximum capabilities to teach these students.
What about a workout that's 60 minutes long?
I don't have time in the day to do it, so I'll only do it for 30.
Good news: Copenhagen showed that if you work out
for 30 minutes versus 60 minutes, 30 was better than 60.

ROGER ANUNSEN: Here's the theory.
They're not sure exactly why, but the best explanation I've got
is that when they had the same type of workout
for 30 minutes versus 60, those that were at 60
were so tired that they ate more food.
They didn't get up and move around as much.
Those that were at 30 seems to be the human perfect balance
of, say, 20 to 30 minutes.
And then you recover better.
You move around better.
You don't eat as much food.
Good study.
This is the book that changed our look from the gerontologist's
point of view, from the geronaut point of view that
are dealing with people that will say,
I barely walk around with my walker.
I have trouble with my balance.
We can't tell them, get out and walk.
Go to the gym, because that might be dangerous.
Gretchen Reynolds did a virtual [INAUDIBLE],
a meta-analysis of everything that she
could find about physical fitness for humans.
She surprised herself with the outcome
and entitled the book The First 20 Minutes.
And the takeaway there is that if you
can walk for about 20 minutes, exercise for about 20 minutes,
you get almost all of your gain in the 20 minutes.
Keep doing it if you like it.
Keep doing it if you love it.
But if you don't get the 20 minutes, you don't get the benefit.
So it's not that I don't have an hour,
do you have 20 measly minutes a few times a week?
And then she came up with this.
Look at this.
Humans are born to stroll.
Why would humans be born to stroll?
Because they only run twice in their ancestral history, and that's
when they're trying to get food or keep from becoming food.
And what Gretchen did really good was
to get us a gift with that phrase that when you tell somebody
you're bored to stroll, maybe talk with somebody, just
stroll continuously uninterrupted for 20 minutes
and it's also going to lower your stress.
But mainly, it gets more heartbeats to your brain,
more blood to your brain.
And then, this came out.
I always try to make sure when Jan and I do something together,
we find something current.
Look at this.
This is February.
Next month this comes out, University College London.
It's never too late to start.
And they found that when somebody simply moves-- gardens,
washes-- washes a car versus sitting stagnant,
the difference is striking for those who think, oh, I'm so out of shape
I can't start.
They benefit much more in the study by starting late.
And they catch up quickly because the body turns over itself
so frequently that if you can convince somebody
with studies like this it's worth it, you as an educator
one year versus the next year-- you start walking 20 minutes three
times a week, it's going to be a different teacher with more
capabilities than you had when you were younger.
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: And on the way out, we've
actually given you the article that talks about that study.
ROGER ANUNSEN: Yes, we decided to give you the New York Times
article that really summarizes that study that comes out next month
so you'll be able to take that away.
OK, everybody stand up and sit down.
[INAUDIBLE] blood flow.
That's all you need to do in a class.
If you've got time to do what Laura Lou showed you, do it.
But if you've got a math class, a history class,
you got something going and you tell everybody, OK, stand up
and sit down, what's that going to do?
It breaks the monotony.
All of a sudden you've got them actually getting more blood flow.
And what we do in the gerosphere is we also
explain when you're dealing with older folks, and you ask them
and you're teaching them something and working,
everybody stand up and sit down.
Often, we'll do this.
OK, everybody sit down.
How many of you can lift 100 pounds?
Pretend that you're [INAUDIBLE].
I'm asking you, who can lift 100 pounds?
Can you?
Those of you that didn't raise your hands, how did you stand up?
ROGER ANUNSEN: That's the takeaway of that.
That's the takeaway of that article we just talked about from London.
And that is every movement you do counts.
So tonight, if you're watching TV and you
don't do anything else during commercials,
stand up and sit down three times.
And do that throughout your life, just stand up once an evening.
It really does make a difference.
So the prescription for learning is to move, both students
and educators.
Jan, any comments?
You want me to keep moving?
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Keep moving.
ROGER ANUNSEN: OK, we're going to keep moving.
Mental exercise is the second one.
Mental stimulation is what we now call it
because it doesn't matter what you do,
it's that you keep doing something.
2003, this was the period of time that a study
came out of the Bronx Aging Study.
Use it or-- and what's the answer?
AUDIENCE: Lose it.
ROGER ANUNSEN: Yes, they proved it.
Since 2003, this is the new, use it and improve it.
That's the new way.
ROGER ANUNSEN: No longer do you think
that you can only be limited from preventing loss.
Now, it's if you do certain things, understand how your brain works
and continue to smidgens of advancement,
your brain as an educator can thrive as long
as you want to put in the time.
It ain't easy, but this is one of the questions that comes up.
Is it easy to simply get on to Lumosity or [INAUDIBLE]?
Does that work?
No studies have ever shown that it is going to be the answer,
and probably never will be.
It doesn't teach you how to sleep.
It doesn't teach you how to walk.
If you love doing crosswords and you love doing brain games,
keep doing them.
But that's only part of the answer.
Too many people think that if their father, mother, or their loved one
is doing some sort of a brain exercise on a computer
that they're good to go.
They're not.
They've got to do the other things as well.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
And that's part of why older students coming back--
and these are the-- I think I'll call them
the golden geronauts, the ones who have
got experience with brains over 50.
And they come back into PCC, they are ready to learn.
But they have to know that their brain is not what it used to be.
It's like they're driving with the same car.
It looks the same to me.
The engine's smaller, Roger.
You cannot go up that hill.
You can't do it.
Once I look under the hood and say you're right,
I'm smart enough to know how to get up the mountain with switchbacks.
I know how to do it.
It's slower, I'll be smarter and get up there.
And that's why teaching people in our department this
is a new frontier starts by saying your own brain has to be sharp.
This brain simulation takeaway here is
that there's three things that everything
that counts on keeping your brain mentally sharp
has these three components.
The two are proven and that it's got to be novel,
something you're not done before.
Even if you've quilted.
Even if you've done art work, you have
to do something that is a little bit different
or it doesn't count as mental activity.
We have people who will knit in conferences.
And I find somebody knitting and about halfway through the talk,
I'll, say, somebody's been knitting the whole time.
Have you been paying attention to me?
Oh, yeah.
And then I'll say, if I ask you to do a brand new knit and pearl,
could you then pay attention?
It's because if you do the same thing over and over,
it's not mental stimulation.
Second, it has to challenge you.
You got to really kind of push a little bit.
The third one's not been proven, but there's
a study out in Canada that's coming out next month.
It's on volunteering.
And we think that if you have a purpose,
that's going to be a part of the brain that
is engaged that is even better for your mental stimulation.
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Community-based learning--
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: --by the way.
ROGER ANUNSEN: The community-based learning folks.
In fact, the study is called the Bravo Study.
It's the largest study in history of the value of volunteering.
Five-year study, multi-million dollar Canadian investment
because if they're right-- which we've talked to them two weeks ago
to see when it's out.
If they are right, they'll have a study
that will show that anybody who is a boomer who
needs to keep their brain sharp should volunteer.
Because the study showed those people
benefit more than if somebody tries to do something else.
So the community-based is exactly it.
OK, let's go through social.
Anybody who thinks that socialization isn't important
doesn't understand this phrase, "isolation is fatal."
Both to the body and to the brain.
And with the study showing that isolation
is something that can be fatal to a point of being a health risk,
this study out of Chicago, with a book to follow on loneliness,
showed that if you are lonely as an educator.
And you come to and from work and you feel lonely,
it doesn't matter if you-- it's a perception.
It doesn't matter if you see a lot of people.
If you perceive yourself lonely, your brain
is at risk to the same as if you were a heavy smoker
or if you were obese.
So what do you do?
You find out how to break that perception of loneliness.
And part of it is, is to understand that when you're
worried about Alzheimer's and dementia, think of the nuns.
The nun study came out and shocked the entire Alzheimer's and dementia
world when they found that nuns that had no pathology, no plaques
and tangles on autopsy, they still-- some of them
were isolated and seemed to be having the symptoms of Alzheimer's
because they were not social.
The opposite happened with Sister Bernadette.
And she was the one who we talk about as having plaques and tangles
that she was clearly with Alzheimer's symptoms.
Oh, no she wasn't.
When they did the autopsy, they thought
they might have made a mistake because she
had never exhibited symptoms.
How could she not have symptoms when she has plaques and tangles?
The theory at that was maybe she was always engaged,
challenging her brain.
She wasn't isolating.
So they replicated that in the Chicago study, the Rush aging
And this phrase is really important for thriving educators.
And that's that when they did the autopsies and found that people
with the hallmarks of dementia didn't have the symptoms,
they said something seems to be released in the brains of those
that socialize with others that masks the symptoms of dementia
and Alzheimer's.
Masks the symptoms.
So I like to say when I die and they do an autopsy
and they say, my god, look at the plaques and tangles.
If I don't have the symptoms, I win.
That's the goal of this study, is to show that if you stay engaged.
The problem with this one is-- it's one
that all educators, if you're going to thrive, have to understand,
and that's they also found in this Rush aging study
that-- like the kid with the fingers in the dike,
that if you are socializing and doing these things
and the hallmarks are there but they're not manifesting themselves,
as soon as you quit doing those things, it is like the dam burst.
So what do you do?
Keep doing it.
Find something else that engages you for the rest of your life.
They said socialize with others, remember?
They didn't say humans.
They said socialize with others.
So we speculate-- how about plants?
Any living thing that you can bond with and connect with,
that makes it.
That's why I think Laura Lou, and [? Kate Boden, ?] and some
of the folks-- and Jody, when they have people that socialize
through something else that's alive-- other people
or laughter or plants or pets, it works.
Babies are extremely important because people
have oxytocin even by looking at a picture of a baby.
That engaged-- every one of you who looked at this and grinned, let
alone giggled, you got oxytocin because of how the brain chemically
responds when you see something.
And this is the one that when I first met Laura Lou,
I didn't know enough about laughter.
And then we've done a number of this is your brain on laughter.
We know that laughter itself ends up having terrific benefits.
You know how much we ended up getting more breathing?
Well, that's just a side benefit.
If you can laugh and giggle at things, that helps.

JAN ABUSHAKRAH: One of the things I was thinking
of as you were talking, a lot of us teach online.
Anybody here teach online?
And the question is, well, OK, how can we
get these people to be social and to get those things?
I think there's a few things.
One is just the-- and you might have, at least in our field--
our discussions are like off the charts.
People are really interactive.
And even though it seems like, well, they're
sitting alone on their computer and so on.
There's a whole lot of very meaningful interrelations
that go on there.
One of the other things that I do is have
a kind of-- not exactly a chat room, but a discussion area where people
are sharing kind of their tips on healthy aging
or things that are off-topic but are related.
And those, in a way, can be-- in addition
to what I build into the course in a way of brain breaks,
they can also be the kind of like-- I'm out.
I'm tired of this.
I'm going to go out jogging and this kind of exchange that goes on.
So we can find ways, I think, to get our students
to build in that social thing.
And as we saw here, you do a brain break.
Students hate to break into groups.
We know that.
It's almost impossible sometimes.
But just getting them interacting in this way,
they don't need to really seriously engage
with what's going on with person.
But they've got that connection.
So it's a good thing to do.
One of the things that we do in our aging mind for the introduction
is to ask some unusual questions.
And it's a technique that I think will work.
And we're still experimenting with it.
The one we're currently using is name, rank, and serial number.
And why did you take this course and things
that are giving me information back that I want.
And then, it's give me a full description
of the final bite you want in life.
What's your favorite single bite of food?
And I want it described.
And I describe my cherry pie, and where it came from.
And I want it underdone.
And I want a certain one my mom made.
And I want to make sure that one bite is perfect.
Well, describe yours.
It was one of these throw it out and see if it blossoms.
And it just-- it's still working with people talking about it.
Part of it is to make sure you're asking something that's surprising.
Again, something's that's out of your field, but it's personal.
And guess what?
Every answer is correct.
[INAUDIBLE] wrong.

Laura Lou again, if you have a chance to witness
one of her laughter yoga, any of her talks--
what she is is an excellent teacher but she's
passionate about what she does.
And that's where she is carving out new areas.
If she ever came to me and said, well, I
wonder who I could learn from?
Nobody can learn from you because you're really cutting in
to a forest that nobody's been there before.
So just keep going and we'll catch up with you.
Another one that's in the same vein is [? Kate Boden. ?]
She took my class last term.
She is somebody who is working with Jody at Earth Tones.
And her passion is gardening.
Her passion is finding a way to have the feel, the smell, the touch
of plants get back into people's lives.
And so she's taking that in to the gerosphere
where nobody has gone before.
And with the help of Jody-- they're collaborating.
And I see these two brains that are just sparking with each other.
Oh, yeah?
Well, I can do this.
Oh, let's both do-- they're collaborating.
Can you imagine what could happen in the gerosphere with these two
And what they're doing is really figuring out
a way to use music with gardening, with soil, with plants.
The part of the brain that is the amygdala, that's
the size of an almond.
Hold up your thumbs.
The size of the end of your thumb.
When you do your drumming, and when Kate does her gardening,
those are alive with chemical-electrical activity.
And when you both do it at the same time or back to back,
then it's synergistically better.
One of the things that Kate does is unusual things.
You see this vase?
This is one of courses--
AUDIENCE: Watermelon.
ROGER ANUNSEN: It's a watermelon.
So she has what we call taste aerobics.
They ate the watermelon, and then they use it for a taste--
So here, left behind is what these people created
in her class at the retirement home where they are.
And for the next week, they're talking about,
I helped arrange that.
And look at that unusual vase.
So it's the creativity that I love with the people like Jody and Kate.
This is a picture that I didn't know that we
would be talking about this today.
But every Monday, Jan in her department
has created gero Mondays, the Ageless Network.
And what we did last week was to have Jody come in,
one hour of what you did here with drum circles,
explaining how the rhythm and the brain works in the gerosphere.
And then, Kate did a one-hour demonstration
on her horticulture, garden therapy.
It was magic.
And we filled that.
And it's one that we're going to use as a teaching lesson
on how you can take simple things that cost just a few dollars
and put the creativity behind it and make it work in the gerosphere.
All right, I'm going to do stress management
and then we're going to have Jody-- a little surprise.
She's going to explain what you just did when you walked in.
Stress management used to be called stress reduction.
But we found out you don't have to reduce it.
In fact, if you reduce it to nothing, your brain is in trouble.
You have to have benign stress, something
that's going to get you out of your La-Z-Boy and out on the road.
It was stressful for you to come today,
but it's part of what is being human.
So you got to have some stress, but not too much.
This type of stress can kill you over a short period of time
if you let it.
But if you know, if you take a deep breath
and you understand that the new science of mindfulness
is put yourself where you're going to be healthy and let the world
go around you.
There's a weathering hypothesis that we get into,
and that's that there are things that happen in your brain
that if you're not putting a new roof on and taking care of it,
there's going to be some collapsing later on.
It goes with the discovery by Scottish scientist
on the tolomeres that are on the end caps.
They're kind of like the ends of your shoelaces.
Those are aglets, a crossword-puzzle person told me.
ROGER ANUNSEN: If you don't do the things
like sleep and food you need to keep your telomeres--
the end caps-- healthy, your chromosomes start fraying.
And luckily, there's work now to say, can we repair them?
And it looks like we can.
But it's again, don't let it get to that point.
It's a lot easier to prevent than it is to repair.
This is the next week's Time Magazine.
How perfect is that?
Time Magazine has finally said, this is real.
This is something we need to look at.
And we, for years, said-- in fact, there's some sessions today on Go.
Mindfulness is something that you can adopt and do
anything you want to do.
Even though Laughter Yoga is the title,
some people are still put off by the word "yoga" or "meditation" or even
It doesn't matter what you call it.
It works.
And this, the leader who probably has
been somebody who was in the right place at the right time,
but he's passionate about it, maybe a starting point
is Mindfulness for Beginners, that's been updated.
And what [INAUDIBLE] does is both audio and visual and teaches.
And he's experimenting.
He'll be the first to tell you we're not done inventing this thing.
We're creating it as we go.
And every time we find something new, we say, how would that work?
And here's the new player on the block.
What Richie Davidson did at Wisconsin
was nothing short of spectacular when he had an idea.
I've got these fancy machines in the west called fMRIs and PET scans,
and we can look in brains.
I can see how they work.
We need some Olympic brains, Dalai Lama.
Let me give him a call.
Calls him up and says, hey, you've got a lot of people in your circle,
your culture who are the Olympic champions of brains-- could I?
And he said, you mean, a neuroscientist?
Those monks are essentially the Eastern version
of the neuroscientist.
So they collaborate every year with a conference,
a retreat of Western and Eastern neuroscientists.
And his Emotional Life of Your Brain is a really good starting point,
it's one that's more of his background, also
the current status.
But it's out of date, and that was only published a year ago.
That's how quickly things are moving.
OK, next in the GeroSphere is going to be this young lady over here.
One of the things I want to do is tell you that if you see her,
you can never forget her because her passion is worn on her sleeve
and on her drum and on her guitar.
Jody, get ready.
JODY: Thank you.
ROGER ANUNSEN: I'm going to turn it back over to you.
And I'll just be your backdrop.
You tell me when you want that.
I talked her into bringing a clip from a movie, a film that she did,
because it captured her essence.
I saw it on Monday, and I said, I'm making room for that.
Because this is an example of a thriving educator who's
thriving because she's teaching people
and always looking for new breakthroughs.
And that's what you have to do in your field
is find a way to teach better.
And that's what we hope to do with our teaching people how brains work
and how they fail as they get older.
JODY: How much time do we have, Roger?
Tell me when to stop.
ROGER ANUNSEN: OK, I will tell you when to stop.
Keep in mind, the only two things I have to cover
are nutrition and sleep, so eat well sleep and sleep well.
If we run out of time, [INAUDIBLE].
JODY: So give me a quantitative measurement.
JODY: 42, 11 minutes, awesome.
All right.
Hi, guys.
JODY: I'm Jody.
I'm a licensed clinical social worker and a board certified music
therapist, and I'm a very happy 55-year-old.

Ah, yes!
Something special for you.
How do you feel right now?
Just, how do you feel?
How does your body feel?
Ask yourself, how do I feel?
How does my body feel?
Where's my brain?
How am I feeling emotionally?
The mindfulness that Roger was talking about,
coming home to yourself, just notice that.

I'm going to invite you to put everything
down and stand up and form a circle.
We have now entered the realm of surprise.
We're going to happen?
So grab an egg, please.
[SINGING] Grab an egg, grab an egg, grab an egg, egg, egg, grab an egg,
grab an egg, na na na, na na na, na na na,
Man's got a head like a ping pong ball, Man's
got a head like a ping pong ball.
Man's got a head like a ping pong ball,
man's got a head like a ping pong ball.
Man's got a head like a ping pong, ping pong, ping pong,
ping pong ball.
Man's got a head like a ping pong, ping pong, ping pong,
ping pong ball.
Ting, ting ting, ting ting, ting ting ting.

All right, so everybody knows how to do this.
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: I'll share the tape with you
from Monday where you will see my brilliant performance on this.
JODY: OK, all right.
So now, how are you feeling?
Has there been a shift?
JODY: Simply grabbing an egg and hearing the song man's
got a ping pong ball and standing in a circle, it's amazing.
All right, right hand, left hand, oh, egg in right hand, now
egg in left hand.
You guys can cross the middle line, that's excellent.
We're already engaging in such exercise
just by using the simple egg shaker to go back and forth.
And monitor what's happening with your brains when we do this.
ROGER ANUNSEN: Your brain is actually using the two sides,
and the corpus callosum to actually-- nevermind,
let's just do it.

JODY: All right, you got your egg in your left hand.
All right, what you're going to do is
you're going to put it in your right hand, no, your left,
no, your right.
All right.
Now your left hand.
You're going to pick up your egg, shake, shake, and pass.
JODY: Now, we've into the realm of social interaction.

Shake, shake, pass.

Shake your egg, shake, shake, pass.
And up, shake, shake, pass.
[SINGING] Up, shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.
Shake, shake, pass.

Ah, yeah!
All right, put your eggs down.

We're getting [INAUDIBLE].
It just showed up!
These eggs, you can get from West Music.
Go to, $1.50.
All right!
Joy in $1.50.
So all of a sudden, we're a connected community.
We've come together with music being a unified force.
We've engaged in a cognitive exercise to challenge us,
but just enough, it's like tickling the brain.
JODY: Oh, did you hear that?
Did you actually find yourself breathing
a little harder while you were doing that?
So you're oxygenating your brains, beautiful.
ROGER ANUNSEN: OK, and every one of you, watch the films.
You smiled!
You smiled until your cheeks hurt, and that
released chemicals in your brain.
Just smiling alone, let alone the laughing and the noise.
JODY: Wonderful.
So another element of music, using music for your health and wellness,
is the voice.
The voice!
How many of you love to sing in front of other people?
How many people are welcome to sing with other people,
but not by themselves?
And how many people go, oh, I just don't sing.
Yeah, perfect!
[INAUDIBLE] for here.
This is a greeting song.
We use music in our lives from the time
we're little to the time we're saying goodbye to this realm
through song, through music.
And here's a simple song.
JODY: Beautiful, again.
JODY: Nice.
The second part is [SINGING FOREIGN LANGUAGE].

JODY: So the whole thing goes [SINGING FOREIGN LANGUAGE].

Try that.

JODY: What are we saying?
I don't either!
But it's fun.
I know it's a Nigerian song, and I know it means like, hey, I'm cool,
you're cool, I'm glad I'm with you.
So we're going to bring in the motions,
and we're going to go like this to our eyes and out, and we're saying,
I greet you with my eyes.
And I'm going to invite you to look around
and just greet people just like that while we're singing.
You guys ready?
Get your hands going, get the motor movement going.
This is motor coordination.
This is memory.
This is short-term recall, sequencing, social engagement,
physical activity, emotional well-being all in one song!

JODY: Walk around!

JODY: Again!

JODY: Excellent.

Are you sitting down?
Has anybody had an experience that's kind of unique, for the first time
Raise your hand if you had something new happen.
All right!
Your little neurons are going like, woohoo!
STUDENT: You're going to do the fall in-service?
JODY: The what?
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Fall in-service.
JODY: Yes!
JODY: Sure!

So you guys, I'm going to show you another really fun,
musical activity.
It's very cognitively challenging, but it's very simple.
And I've never led it before, so I'm going to be challenged as well.
So we're all in the same-- mm-hm, yeah?
As educators, you know that's how we stay alert and alive
is that we also challenge ourselves and go--
I'm going to try that Funja Alafia song next time I start class,
See what happens.
Maybe you won't remember it!
And who will know if you don't?
have demonstrated that you can keep a beat together.
Now, this is called entrainment, when we all
come together to the same beat.
It's a wonderful way to bring your group together,
your class together.
It's unifying.
It brings people into the moment, into the inner now.
And again, the common denominator brings you together,
something as simple as a beat.
Now, what you guys can do this time around,
we're going to do something that's a little more complex.
Now this time, when I ding this little bell here,
after I ding the bell, you're going to clap.
So pretend like I'm ringing the bell because I'm going to demonstrate.

Keep those going, keep patting.

It's not so easy, is it?

I can do this!
I know I can do this!
Give me another chance!

You guys are doing so well.
We're going to make this just a little more complicated.
I know you can do this.
I know you can do this.
And we're going to do it because I want to see if I can do it.
So the way it works is if I ding the bell, you guys clap afterwards.
You guys got that part, right?
I mean, you understand it cerebrally.
Your bodies are still catching up.
Oh, you guys, hey, we might have made some neuroconnections here.
Your neurons are going, bzz, I think I made it, oh, no, zzzz!
What happened?

So the next step is when I play-- you don't do anything.
Uh-huh, you just keep patting.

Good job.


That was so challenging!
But isn't it fun to have your brain going, oh, god, I can feel it!
It's like [INAUDIBLE] you keep wanting to practice, so I did it.
Can I have one more minute?
ROGER ANUNSEN: Yeah, you've got one more minute.
JODY: All right, all right.
So another thing that was touched on is just general quality of life.
That's the general realm we're talking about.
And as we move into our [INAUDIBLE], quality of life is so essential.
And we get to define what that is for ourselves.
For me, a real important aspect of quality of life
is [INAUDIBLE] and a spiritual aspect
on why I'm here on the planet, that purpose, that purpose statement.
And my attitude towards the challenges
as they come, like your attitude to, oh, I'm going to get that bell!
Like, oh, I'm so stupid.
You're like, oh, this is cool, I'm going to really practice.
There's a difference there.
So I'd like to teach you a song that reflects
[INAUDIBLE] that I encourage you to explore.
The words are, when I rise, let me rise like a bird, joyfully.
And when I fall, let me fall like a [INAUDIBLE], without regret.

Now, you put melody, and it's going to impact our limbic system.
It's going to impact that part of our emotional being, as well.
So I invite you to use your hands and follow me with your hands.
Why don't you go ahead and stand up?
And I'm going to hold a note.
So feel free to join me if it just feels natural for you.
[SINGING] And when I rise, let me rise like a bird, joyfully.

And when I fall, let me fall like a [INAUDIBLE],
without regret, joyfully.

JODY: Thank you.

ROGER ANUNSEN: Jan, can you go ahead and get the lights?
--ability together.
So what we do is set up the structure
which makes you come together in a circle.
So everyone is equally connected.
And then--
So here are some seniors enjoying a drum circle,
like what you experienced.
And they are experiencing the rhythm, the beat,
the unification of playing together.
And look at these guys!
You couldn't choreograph that better, right?
There you go, go ahead.

So then, you're engaging not just the physical body,
you're engaging the voice, the attention, the call and response,
the memory, the associations to the music.
And then, you've got the social dynamic, the physical dynamic,
and the emotional dynamic happening just with a simple drum circle.
Music therapy is the use of music--
ROGER ANUNSEN: OK, we ready to go?
JODY: We're good.
ROGER ANUNSEN: We're going to try to-- we'd
like to keep going with the lights on, can we?
Thank you.
We do a windup and make sure that everybody understands
that there's a lot of action in every department.
And what we are really proud of is we
think that what we're doing in the GeroSphere, the School of Geronomic
Engineering, is predicting where this department will go.
And we're going to try to design things
that can be applicable for people who take the PCC route to getting
their job, and they'll be able to create things, not just do what's
in the rear view mirror, but to see through the windshield
and predict ahead where this booming population is going
to be needing their help and their assistance.
So one of the things that we want to do
is to tell you that we are going to be here and changing.
Every time you hear about the GeroSphere and the Geronauts,
there's going to be something new because we're just barely figuring
out where we're going on this thing, but we're
getting there awfully quickly.
And part of what we have is a staff here
that Jan's assembled that I'm really privileged to be with a group that
is not afraid, almost fearless, to pull in ideas from Jody
and other people who have creative ideas
and try to create a new department, but not leave behind any ideas
that somebody brings in from elsewhere.
So Jan, I will announce that I want you
to look where we post this session online.
We're going to do some re-editing, and I'll quickly
do the sleep and the nutrition while you're somewhere else,
and we'll also put in an opening that we didn't have cued up,
and I'll take the blame for that.
But wait to see what we do with the opening of this session
when we package this up and post it.
So thank you very much for being here.
You want to say a few last words?
JAN ABUSHAKRAH: Get to the next session!

No, really, we really enjoyed this.
And definitely pick up some pieces and carry
on doing all these things.
And share with other people what you're doing.
It's inspiring.