Summer is officially over. Thoughts of summers past came to the forefront while on vacation in Ocean City, during the changeover from summer to fall. While sitting with my husband on the boardwalk one evening, watching all the people go by, I wondered if these same couples, who appeared to be around my age, walked the boardwalk every summer, as I did as a teenager. 

In those days, my family vacationed in Ocean City every summer, traveling from Washington, D.C., and taking the ferry across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore. We often stayed at a hotel on the boardwalk — its name has changed slightly, but it is still in business — or at apartments around 40th Street, which was not that built up then. What a difference 50 plus years makes.

This time we are staying at 94th Street and I was surprised to find a National Institute on Aging brochure among the Ocean City guides and newspapers in the foyer of the building.  The brochure discusses NIA's clinical research studies for which they are recruiting.  Some of the studies are for younger people but I just want to highlight those for older adults who might be interested in helping advance the research on aging.  There are four studies of note.

The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging is investigating how people age, quantifying physiological changes with age and understanding why older persons tend to develop disease and disabilities. A participant in this study is eligible if over 70 years and healthy.

NIA's Etiology of Anemia study is an in-depth evaluation of anemia and its causes. The reason for this study is because there is an increasing need for new treatment and for a better understanding of the range of causes of anemia in the elderly. You must be age 70 or older to participate in this study.

The Testosterone Study evaluates how two known medications raise testosterone levels in men over age 65 who suffer from low testosterone levels. Males, age 65 years or older, with low testosterone levels are needed for this study.

The last one, Treatment Study Alzheimer's Disease, is a research study, which tests the use of an FDA-approved drug for Alzheimer's. Participants need to be over age 65.

NIA is at 3001 S. Hanover St., fifth floor, in Baltimore. Parking is free. To volunteer to participate, call 410-350-3941 or email NIAStudiesRecruitment@mail.nih.gov. For more information, go to nia.nih.gov.

Going back to summers past, the terrible tragedy at the Navy Yard in the District also brought back memories of the four summers I spent working there for the Navy Department while I was in college.

Back then, there were Marine guards on the gates and you felt secure and peaceful inside its walls. It was there that I got my first glimpse and photo of President John F. Kennedy, when he came to christen a new naval ship.  I guess reminiscing about the past is all part of aging.

Congratulations to Neighbor Ride for being the only finalist from Maryland named in the fifth annual Tom's of Maine "50 States for Good" community giving program.  Neighbor Ride now has a chance to win $10,000 to grow its volunteer-based program and you can help them realize this prize and bring this funding to Howard County.  Go to 50StatesforGood.com and vote for Neighbor Ride once a day through Oct. 15. At last check, Neighbor Ride was number six on the list of 50 states.

To learn more about this transportation service, go to neighborride.org or call 410-884-7433.