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Why is that pencil on the floor so hard to pick up? Should your 55-year-old friend get that knee replacement? What physical changes should you expect as you get older? And what can you do about them?

Life (Part 2) visits with the creator of an "empathy suit" which helps its wearer feel what it's like to be in the body of an older person. Then host Robert Lipsyte sits down with a team of professionals who explain what goes on physically once we move from youth into middle age and beyond.

Dr. Thomas C. Shives, of the Mayo Clinic, explains how the body loses its fluids everywhere-from the knees to the eyes and the organs. We also lose 1 percent of muscle mass per year, beginning at age 40, he adds, but strength training can counter this. Dr. Dennis McCullough, a geriatrician on the faculty of the Dartmouth Medical School, engages the panel in a probing discussion of the pros and cons of joint replacement procedures. And University of Chicago psychology professor John Cacioppo stresses that meaningful connections to friends and family can have a hugely positive impact on health.

Next Lipsyte talks with Martha Stewart. Here America's queen of domestic advice appears in her role as an advocate for health care for the elderly. Stewart, who has put her money where her mouth is, explains why she funded the Martha Stewart Center for Living at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

She also frankly discusses her own mother's final days. When it comes to aging, Stewart tells Lipsyte, denial may actually be a good thing.

Next, New Yorker humorist Patricia Marx explains why all the metaphors you need about aging can be found in a bowl of fruit.


Dr. Thomas Shives Comments on Knee Replacement

Dr. Shives made strong points about joint replacement I have never heard with such directness. I never thought joint replacement should be approached without more than just the adivce of one or even a few surgeons. To many surgeons are all to quick to recommend replacement of damaged knees. They never mention that the primary purpose of the knee replavement is for the relief of pain.
Medicine is run too much like a business and not enough for the true care of paitents!

Your show lights a fire under my you know what

This was an especially good episode in terms of "getting" that we are getting older and probably will have more trouble with the things we take for granted. That said I'm also fired up to get to the gym today, call some friends to gather, and do all I can to keep my body and mind intact and flexible.
Thanks for your great show!

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