Life Experienced, brought to you by Kaiser Permanente, is the guide to finding connection and community for seniors. Read a few issues from the Life Experienced newsletter below, written by Erica Manfred. Click here to subscribe for more issues with inspiring stories, interviews, entertainment recommendations, and more. Erica’s archives of past newsletters are available here.

Streaming Movies with Older Actors

It’s hard to find recent streaming films with older actors and themes that speak to an older audience, but there are a few. Here are the ones I recommend. Warning: They weren’t all hits with the critics, but my usually high standards are flexible when it comes to film fare with older actors—it’s so hard to come by.

Award-winning journalist Andrea King Collier talks about Aging

Andrea King Collier, 65, is an award-winning journalist based in Lansing, Michigan, who has been writing—mostly about health and health policy—for over 25 years. Her work has appeared in national publications, including Next Avenue, AARP Magazine, O the Oprah Magazine, the Atlantic, Town and Country, and the Washington Post. She is also the author of Still With Me: A Daughter’s Journey of Love and Loss, about being a caregiver, and the Black Woman’s Guide to Black Men’s Health.

At a pizza dinner after the women’s group, the subject of summer travel came up. Two women who travel together reported that their trip to Eastern Europe had been postponed yet again after being rescheduled three times since 2019. No one could have predicted a pandemic and now a war. Others considered cruises, but the horrifying stories of being trapped on a boat in a foreign port because of COVID-19 put the kibosh on that choice. Same for plane trips to foreign shores—who knew when a lockdown might keep you from coming home? Only one brave person was going to Belize to join her family—but that’s at least on the same continent.

We wound up discussing travel within the U.S. I love car and train trips and voted for staying close to home because of all the uncertainty. If you are itching to get away this summer, here are some trips to consider.

How to find Younger Friends in your Older Years

I will not sugarcoat the reality here: It’s HARD to make friends as you age, especially younger friends. We live in an age-segregated society where ageism is rampant. Most of us stick to our own kind for a reason—people our own age are most likely to accept us as equals, and we’re in the same stage of life, in our case dealing with retirement, with health issues, and with grown children and grandchildren. That said, it’s incredibly rewarding to have younger friends. They bring a fresh and entirely new perspective. And intergenerational friendships are good for your health—physical and mental—according to this article.

Volunteering to Help Yourself

I’ve always felt guilty about not volunteering for the local food bank or other good causes. I avoid signing up because I hate being over-scheduled and worry about feeling obligated, especially if I’m not being paid. I run a number of Meetup book clubs and other groups, but I never used to consider that “volunteering.” I even pay for a Meetup membership to do so because I enjoy it.

That made me realize that volunteering is whatever you want it to be. It’s your time, and you get to choose. What is clear is that volunteering will not only help others, but it will also help you by lessening depression, increasing optimism and sense of purpose in life, and counteracting loneliness. Volunteering only two hours a week is associated with a reduced risk of death in older adults.