"A bold New Path To Living Your Best Life at Every Age"
by Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP with Boe Workman
If you are one of the many baby boomers, ages fifty and older, who are as Jenkins describes, "makers and doers" and want to seek out possibilities for living your best life, this one is for you.
Jo Ann Jenkins focuses on three main areas health, wealth and self and encourages changes in aging attitudes. The Disrupt Aging movement was jumpstarted started with the release of her book. Here's a short video from a top Age Disruptor - Cindi Lauper. Yes, Cindi - "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" Lauper. She's 64.
Remember the "Aging Is Living" manifesto? If you're alive you're aging! What gets me excited about this time in life are the opportunities for growth as we move from a time in our lives where we grow from asking: What do I want to be?" to "Who do I want to be?". As Dr. Gene Cohen, expert on creativity and aging suggests, this kind of growth can't be forced; it has to unfold in its own time. Find practical, hands-on information in Disrupt Aging that will help your growth unfold.
Read To Discover
Thoughts on designing your life
Ways to take control of your health
How to choose where you live as you age
Facts about financing your future
Design Your Life
Many of us find ourselves asking, "What's next?", once the children are no longer at home and our career is winding down. This is when the importance of mindful living comes into play. "It's really the beginning of a journey-a midlife quest for happiness and fulfillment"; says Jenkins. Dr. Cohen, states that "the passage of time is not a deficit, it's an asset". Ways of finding meaning and purpose become more focused because you have experience to decide what matters in your life and how you will act on it going forward.
The MacArthur Foundation conducted a ten-year study and came up with a formula of healthy aging: disease avoidance, excercise of mind and body, and connection or engagement in life.
Jenkins notes: "For many of us, good health is a goal we strive for but believe we will likely never reach, and we often see health as separate and distinct from other parts of our lives, not as the foundation of personal fulfillment, heappiness, and contentment."
Yikes, she nails it. To take control of your health is to put welbeing at the forefront of your life, especially as you get older. Jenkins mentions Dr. Atul Gawande and his book Being Mortal, an important read for all of us. Dr. Gawande writes that "We have medicalized aging, and that experiement is failing us." There is no pill for moving what can still move, being mindful about food choices, and decisions that concern how you relate to the world around you. These are all important factors in taking charge of our own health. The issues of caregiving and dementia are also addressed as they are two primary concerns of people who are aging.
. . . . . Caregiving - Jenkins notes that more innovation is needed in this area. Personally I am excited about the new aging in place movement where neighbors help neighbors to remain in their homes in communities as they age. Local volunteer led efforts offer opportunities for connection, access to transportation and other services. I volunteer for our local Davidson Village Network.
. . . . . . Dementia - Most notable in this part of the book is the reasearch by Dr. Paul Nussbaum. His research stresses the five parts of good brain health: regular excercise, learning more (playing games, puzzles, learning a new language etc.); time for mindfulness and relaxation; eating nutritious food (avoiding processed food and bad fats); being connected (getting involved in something that matters to you, a hobby, community).
Choosing Where You Live
I love the three questions designed by the Age Lab at MIT to help you think about the where and how you want to live as you get older. Each one of them have deeper implications.
1. Who will change my light bulbs? (Everyday tasks)
2. How will I get an ice cream cone? (Transportation)
3. Who will I have lunch with? (Social connections)
Finance Your Future
A four pillar model is offered as a consideration for planning your financial future:
1. Social Security
2. Pensions and savings
3. Health insurance
4. Earnings from work.
The growing shared economy offers ways to supplement income. A large number of Uber drivers are fifty or over. You can find other opportunities listed in this article from Money.
Moving Forward -
AARP has become a dynamic, relevant organization that serves as a voice for the baby boomer generation and older. Check out their website for information and guidance.
Check out the Disrupt Aging site for inspiration.
In the back of the Disrupt Aging book you'll find ideas for reflection and writing that will help you unfold your growth and live your best life.