As a Gerontologist who studies and promotes the successful aging of human beings, I want to see all of us becoming more mindful of our decisions and activities as we age.
Gerontology is a social science that specifically addresses aging after 60, but I am a firm believer that positive aging begun early makes good sense. Paying attention to your future today, no matter what your age, is just the right thing to do (thank you, Quaker Oats and Wilford Brimley!).
Aging well—success in aging—is that activity we do that is birthed in our attitudes and spreads to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves.
In 1984, Drs. Kahn and Rowe defined “successful aging” and listed its three determining factors:
1. High capacity for physical and mental functioning
2. Low risk of disease and disability
3. An active engagement with life
You can guess which one of those I am going to talk about today! I address the third element and define “success in aging” as:
1. An active engagement in life (based on one’s preferences), which is consistent with how an individual wants to age as one grows older;
2. Aging well within one’s limitations (based on one’s realities), whatever they may be: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and/or financial;
3. The ability to make good decisions (based on good information), which allows pro-active participation with one’s own aging process.
There are so many variables in choices for positive aging; it is the good choices we make today that help us have better tomorrows. Being actively engaged with the things we can control—sound nutritional choices, good exercise habits, mental strengthening through new activities, dancing, laughter, volunteering, practicing friendship, and positive attitudes, to name a few—have been scientifically proven to make us more able to cope with the challenges that aging can and does bring.
Aging well within one’s own limitations—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and/or financial—can be one of the greatest testaments to our lives. Books and screenplays have been written around the concept of being able to attend your own funeral and hear yourself eulogized. To hear those closest to you praise your determination, kindnesses and wise choices is the epitome of a life’s celebration.
The importance of good information is foundational in making good decisions. When we actively seek out wisdom through good information, then use it to improve the quality of life for ourselves, those we influence and those who love us, we really do achieve success in aging.
©2010 Di Patterson, MSG, CPG “If good real estate is about location, location, location, then success in aging is about attitude, attitude, attitude!”