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KPBS Midday Edition

UC San Diego Research Informs Musical About Good, Bad Of Aging

Some of the cast members from "The Geeze & Me" are pictured in this undated photo from a dress rehearsal.
Ken Jacques
Some of the cast members from "The Geeze & Me" are pictured in this undated photo from a dress rehearsal.

UC San Diego Research Informs Musical About Good, Bad Of Aging
UC San Diego Research Informs Musical About Good, Bad Of Aging GUESTS:Hedges Capers, co-creater and co-writer, "The Geeze & Me"Dr. Dilip Jeste, director, UC San Diego's Center for Healthy Aging

This is KPBS Midday Edition I am Maureen Cavanaugh legendary movie star Betty Davis has said to me the immortal quote the getting older is not for sissies. May take courage to deal with the challenges of aging but researchers have also shown that getting older has unexpected delights as well including an increase in happiness. Both sides of the aging process are highlighted in any musical about a group of baby boomers working to figure out if there is a good way to get older. The play, The Geeze & Me uses real research from the center for healthy aging. Joining me is Hedges Capers cowriter of The Geeze & Me. Doctor Dr. Dilip Jeste -- Thank you. Also joining me is Dr. Dilip Jeste. Welcome to the program. What is the name of the show the -- The Geeze & Me. From geezers the idea about getting older and the idea that it is trying to establish the relationship that you have a thought process. My wife had the idea about doing a musical and ended up being about aging but our experience of getting older is inconsistent with everything we have grown up to believe. Our experience is that it is really pretty joyful. I'm happier now than I have the other parts -- times in my life. His research was in -- consistent with the process and we sought him out to say we you be a part of this. What do you tackle in the musical? We're looking at retirement and mobility dementia. The loss of a sense of presence with beauty fading. Just live long enough there's heart attacks and broken bones and that's the easy stuff In what ways did your research influence this? Can you tell us about the type of feedback you get once he saw the script for the musical. They were saying I think this musical and they had attended the conference on aging at UC San Diego. What I heard was music to my ears. It shows that aging will look at the happiness from in 2190s. We found that as expected there were declines with age however mental health improves progressively from the 20s to the 90s. As people get older they get happier they are more contented less depressed less anxious. People have no control over their emotions. They have more maturity they know themselves better they are more compassionate and in general they are more accepting of the situation. There is a balance between accepting what they can't change and changing the things that they can. So as you say this information is music to your ears. We have one of the songs from the musical so I wonder if you can set that up for us. It is the opening song to the play. We start with the definition of age which is not nice at all and ask the question how old do you feel. [music] Tell me tell me how old do you feel. We want to know what's real. Is your age just a state of mind or are you different in the present time. What is an old guy supposed to do when in my mind I am 22 That is a clip from the musical that he send me. With me here is the cowriter and director of UC San Diego Center for aging. As you are creating the musical had an issue with your vocal cords that actually affected how you view aging. The way I have written historically as I sit down at the piano and see what comes out. I sat down to write songs for this show and I cannot sing I have no breath control. I thought maybe I need to exercise it and try that out but it did not work. At the last second my mom said how about -- my wife said how about checking the docs out. They went and put cameras in your throat and we -- they said we understand why you can't sing we are surprised you can speak. When my vocal toward test cords tried to come together to make a note air to sleep through. They took it off two days later and 30 days of silence and I sing again. For me the moment is I was just a fraction of a second away from saying that the programming. He ran down a list of things to research has found out about aging that sort of contradicts stereotypes. Do you think there is a need for more accurate portrayals of aging. Absolutely. There is a need because there is rental -- rampant ageism in society at all levels. As you just mentioned the definition of aging is negatively associated with the client to generation back of value and that is just wrong. Aging can be an is positive and needs to be highlighted there is a tendency to make fun of people and if you even think about the birthday cards beginning with the 40th birthday the talk about starting their dental -- downhill journey in the make fun of people's memory and abilities and so on so there is this proverbial notion about being -- aging being that is in of the population is growing older and some people call it the silver synonymy as if it is a disaster. More people who are aging [Indiscernible] there's a need for changing the perception of what they are doing is very important is presenting -- The key -- The Geeze & Me is at the downtown arts Center in San Diego. Thank you so much.

"The Geeze & Me" is a new musical about a group of baby boomers trying to figure out if there is a good way to get older.

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The musical is written by a La Jolla couple, Hedges Capers and Nancy Locke Capers, who used research from UC San Diego's Center for Healthy Aging to inform its content. The director and executive director of the center also served as a consultants for the production.

Dr. Dilip Jeste is the director of UC San Diego's Center for Healthy Aging. He and Hedges Capers joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to talk about the musical's portrayal of aging.

"The Geeze & Me" runs from Friday to April 29 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center in downtown San Diego.