Getting Old: Ideas for Delaying the Onset, Reasons to Look Forward to It and Ways to Prepare
Contemplating your future as an older person can:
- Help you create a better plan and make higher quality decisions now for that future.
- Upgrade your experience in the here and now. (Usually, if it’s good for your future self, then it is good for you now!)
- Improve your ability to prioritize what is really important to you. (Thinking about aging and even about your own death is scientifically proven to help you re-prioritize your goals and values.)
- Enhance your attitude toward aging.
Below are a few multimedia presentations that can hopefully inspire a positive, fun attitude toward what is going to happen no matter what: getting old.
How Celebrating Shabbat at Wendy’s Illustrates the Importance of Community
The documentary film “Wendy’s Shabbat” is a about a large group of people, ages 80 to 98, in Palm Springs, California who get together every Saturday for an inexpensive, but meaningful, celebration. You really can not watch this video and not hope that you will have something similar when you get old.
This gathering was an incredibly modest idea that has had enormously meaningful consequences.
The movie drives home the importance of friendships and a sense of belonging. As Roberta Mahler, 87, says, “Living by yourself and having a group like going to Wendy’s gives you a feeling of belonging.” And, 97-year-old Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin opines, “In Judaism, ritual is what keeps the people together.” It is clear that this weekly ritual does bring a large group together.
Research backs up the importance of feeling bound to something. Lewis Richmond, author of “Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser,” cites scientific research about the importance of belonging, and how essential a factor it is for healthy aging.
Watch the trailer for “Wendy’s Shabbat” here.
Interviews with the Very Old Teach Us About Happiness
John Leland wrote a fascinating series of articles about being old. For him, these stories were about the fears and hardships of aging: a fall in the kitchen, an aching leg that did not get better, days segueing into nights without human contact.
However, what he found was something quite different. From Helen Moses and her love affair with John Sorensen and his love of opera, Leland discovered that when these older people described their lives they focused on what they could do, not what they could not do. They looked forward to little things. At 92 years old, Ping Wong declared, “I try not to think about bad things. It’s not good for old people to complain.”
Getting Old? You Can Compete in These Olympics!
“Age of Champions” is a documentary about the people who compete in the senior Olympics. From women’s basketball to pole vault, the very old have not lost their competitive spirit, nor their athletic ability.
How Your Grandkids Can Keep You Vital Through Play
Stuart Brown is a pioneering researcher on the very serious topic of play! In his TED Talk, he makes the compelling argument that play is vital for both children and adults.
Brown claims that the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression. Keep playing!
Is There a Fountain of Youth?
The Ted Radio Hour is a podcast that brings together snippets from numerous TED Talks around a particular theme. In the “Fountain of Youth” episode, the following experts offer advice on living longer and better lives:
- Dan Buettner shares the secrets of centenarians from around the world.
- Aubrey de Grey talks about his research that is trying to prove that medical technology may enable human beings to live indefinitely.
- Cynthia Kenyon explains what a simple genetic mutation in a worm might inform how to extend human life.
- Harvey Fineberg talks about how technology may extend life.
- Isabel Allende argues that you need to adopt a good attitude and just make the best of getting old.
Don’t Forget Your Retirement Plan
If you hope to live to a very old age, it is critically important that you create and maintain a strong financial plan for your retirement. The planning process can help you be financially secure. It can also enable you to imagine your future self and develop a positive attitude toward getting old.
The NewRetirement retirement planning calculator has received a lot of praise for being a highly detailed tool that asks questions you might not have considered. It’s easy to get started and create a plan that will hopefully take you to a happy secure old age.