The New York Times Heads To Laguna Woods For Insights On Aging

Laguna Woods is famous for many things: elderly people, elderly people and elderly people. So when the nation's best newspaper sends a reporter to the tiny OC city, chances are, the story that comes out is going to be about youth baseball.

Just kidding. It's going to be about elderly people.

An article published last Thursday in the New York Times peaks in at the bridge game of a group of nonagenarians in the retirement community formerly known as Leisure World. Apparently, Laguna Woods is the subject of a long-term study by USC and UCI to find out how some people can live past 90 without succumbing to dementia. So far, results are pointing to the idea that mentally demanding tasks -- such as playing a game of bridge -- help prolong mental vitality. But it might be less the card-counting and more the social interaction involved in the game that makes it fortify the mind.

The piece also touches upon the dilemma faced by ultra-old bridge players: What do you do when one of your friends starts losing their ability to compete? Do you keep them around the bridge table? Turns out, the answer is often no.

"When a partner starts to slip, you can't trust them," said Julie Davis, 89, a regular player living in Laguna Woods. "That's what it comes down to. It's terrible to say it that way, and worse to watch it happen. But other players get very annoyed. You can't help yourself."

Read the full story here, and decide for yourself the merits of a journalist referring to a game of bridge as "the last communal campfire before all goes dark."


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