It’s that time again. The year 2021 is thankfully history, and 2022 is upon us. So here we go with our highly unscientific, surely subjective annual review of the best and worst of the year that was. How bad was 2021? Worst ever comes to mind, at least in our lifetime. Onward.
Best medicine for the blues: When life gets you down, researchers recommend recalling the good times. Remembering past highlights and accomplishments is the best way to combat the blues.
Worst solitude: Recent studies indicate that loneliness is more lethal than well-publicized conditions like obesity. Isolation gives rise to a host of mental and physical issues. A University of Michigan showed that teaching seniors to use the Internet reduced their risk of depression 30%. Pandemic or no pandemic, there’s no better way to keep in touch with the grandkids.
Best validations: Two studies confirm the benefits of close grandparent-grandchild relationships. Boston College researchers found that emotionally tight ties reduced depression in grandparents and mature grandchildren alike. Another study found that younger grandchildren experienced fewer emotional and behavioral problems.
Best role model: Those who give of themselves during a pandemic that brought humanity to its knees.
Worst role model: The year 2021 produced a bumper crop. Readers can draw their own conclusions.
Best attitude: One might reasonably expect seniors to be highly stressed during the pandemic, since the virus is more dangerous to the aged. But that’s not the case, concluded Stanford University researchers who found that seniors maintained the most positive overall mindset among all generations, regardless of income or personality type.
Best timing: Did you know you were born at just the right time? According to a study from America’s Federal Reserve Bank, seniors had the unprecedented good fortune to benefit from rising wages and real estate valuations and investment gains, in addition to game changers like Medicare and Social Security.
Best genetic discovery: Scientists at the University of California at San Diego identified a so-called “grandparent gene” that evolved to prolong the life of elders, who in turn could pass on their accumulated knowledge to grandchildren.