Inspirations for the Aging
A few positive antidotes for negative thoughts
True confession: Although I try always to be an apostle of positive aging, there are days when I do not wake up happy. Some days, I wake up grumpy, sleepy, and dopey. On those days, I seek out inspiration to restore my sunny outlook and remind myself how fortunate I am just to be breathing. Here are some inspiring reads I’d like to share with you, for those times Mama said there’d be days like.
This is that rare instance when you can judge a book by its cover. Moreover, the title does not overpromise. Author Stephanie Raffelock’s book is a series of short reflections on friends, grieving, creativity, ageism, gratitude, failure after fifty, laughter, and more, from the perspective of one approaching 70. Her writing is personal, thoughtful, and surprisingly light, offering much food for thought in bite-size, easily digestible portions.
This is an authoritative source on the current scientific understanding of aging. As a bonus, Professor Levitin leads you through a fascinating survey course on how the brain works, a short course on the psychology of personality differences, and useful explanations of how the brain processes memory, emotions, and pain. Levitin is a master teacher, handling complex material in terms that are clear and understandable to the non-scientist. Eventually (this is a 528-page book), he deals with the factors we can affect – our personal choices of diet, exercise, and sleep – that increase our odds on more years with less distress. And when he name-drops Joni Mitchell, it’s earned; Levitin’s amazing career includes stints as an accomplished musician and record producer.
Author David Lereah discovered positive aging the hard way. In his early 60s, he survived a brutal case of esophageal cancer, felt himself aging rapidly, and didn’t know how to cope. His search for answers brought him to a positive mindset about the physical and mental changes of age. Through this book, as well as through his nonprofit group United We Age, he promotes positive aging as “a belief systems that helps individuals better cope with the inconveniences one experiences throughout the aging process.” He shares what he has learned about mindfulness, balance, emotional intelligence, healthy habits, and other aspects of successful aging.
If you need role models of older individuals who have continued to be explorers, adventurers, and creators late in life, this book has plenty. Ramona Oliver, a 70-something former human resource director, encourages people to embrace an attitude of incline – as opposed to decline, which is society’s ageist expectation for elders. She encourages embracing an attitude that makes every day count, incorporates play, and accepts challenges to grow and evolve.
I hope you find one or more of these books helpful in lifting your spirits. Do you have other favorite sources of inspiration? Please share with us.
On Marketing Aduhelm:
A gerontologist writes:
“General teaching from dementia specialists - from docs to docs - is that the amyloid plaque begins to form many years before any clinical evidence of dementia. The controversy is whether removing such plaques will change the underlying progression of disease (and/or whether the plaques are a marker but not the direct cause of the illness). I agree with your basic point - “screening” asymptomatic individuals who are anxious, with PET scans, is quite problematic and imprecise.”
On Nursing Home Redesign:
“Green House concept sounds like an interesting and promising one. Love the finish with Woodstock (funny!) and Van Morrison, whom I love too!”
“I can live with Woodstock!”
“I also like the new places that have either a balcony or patio. Sitting outside in good weather is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon with friends.”
Thanks for your comments, and thanks for reading!