Photo from David Matos on Unsplash By Theresa Reid One of the many life experiences 30-year-olds share with older people is their fear that age will rob them of physical and cognitive health. In a large and rigorous nationwide survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago and West Health Institute a few years ago, 70% of people aged 30 and up said losing their memory and physical health were top worries about aging. I am happy to report that for most of us, these fears are overblown. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Several factors [...]
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Photo from Unsplash By Theresa Reid A few months ago, we moved my husband’s 91-year-old Aunt Evelyn into a beautiful new elder living facility — a light-filled, upscale, roomy place with loads of common areas for conversation, lectures, art-making, movie-viewing, and eating. On my first visit to her there, I asked her how she liked it. She leaned in, placed her hand on my arm, and said, sotto voce, “Well, dear,” shaking her head slightly, “a lot of these people are too old.” I smiled (it’s impossible not to smile around Evelyn), and asked for more detail. “Well, you see dear, [...]
Photo from Unsplash By Theresa Reid Let’s look at a conundrum most of us face: we all want to live lovely, long lives, but none of us want to get old. How’s that supposed to work? This basic conflict causes all kinds of unnecessary human suffering. Unnecessary because we could actually embrace aging as a phase of the human condition—not just inescapable, but beautiful, necessary, life-enhancing. I’m no Pollyanna. Aging is also painful, loss-filled, challenging, scary, and sometimes terribly sad, along with being—potentially—a uniquely beautiful phase of human development. I’m 66 (more on how to say that below!), older than most [...]