Readers Answer: This is the Essence of "Good Aging"

Readers Answer: This is the Essence of “Good Aging”

(Elizabeth von Ohsen/The Washington Post)


When we asked what “good old age” looks like, more than 500 readers answered. But one idea has come up time and time again – aging is a lifelong process, so start thinking about aging well when you’re young. Below is a sample of what our readers have told us.

Catherine Delanoe, 90, Eagle, Colo: I created a book collection in my 80s, which gave me something to look forward to, volunteered to help out during election years, and write letters to the editor here and there—all of which help me mentally.

Janet Ellis, 39, Washington, DC: I’ve embraced eating healthy (a healthy 80/20 ratio to “junk food”), staying active (formal exercise and being busy with a young family that gets me moving!), spending my time when I feel it’s essential to my mind, getting as much rest as possible, and meditating stay hydrated, and have a positive overall outlook on life.

Michele Justiniano, 54, Hampton, Virginia: Once you reach your 40s, you need to realize that the body will not react to the same environment it did when it was 20 years old. We all want to stay young, but realistically the body is not made to stay that way. “Age well” means we’re still alive to read that book, climb a hiking trail and eat that late-night dessert. For me, the real key is to stay positive and optimistic once this reality hits.

David Ritchie, 79, Portland, Oregon: Idle resistance!

Stephen Bomber, 60, Portland, Oregon: Looking for an age to start thinking about “good old age” misses the point. The best strategy is to create a lifestyle that promotes the goal before it becomes a problem.

Juliette Powell, 55, Bellevue, Washington: Good aging for me means that the society in which I live respects the aging process. I can access services, interact socially, and contribute without being rejected or forgotten.

Phoebe Gerrard, 74, South Dartmouth, Massachusetts: Create a circle of older friends with the idea of ​​sharing different points of view and comparing notes. Seniors Circle can be fun!

Pam Lushee, 68, El Cajon, California: In our culture, getting old is not a value we value. However, there is beauty and wisdom that comes with age and age. Good aging is about embracing and accepting the limits of our bodies, while fully living and appreciating the wisdom that has come from life experience of six or seven decades.

“Adopt with an open mind.”

Bonnie Hughes, 78, Rochester, New York: Build an open mind. This made me healthier and allowed me to beat the inevitable punches.

Alice Kobunovitz, 64, Kent, Ohio: I worked as a pharmacy technician for 10 years, and I got the feeling that people felt they could smoke or live on candy and chips, and there would be pills to fix that. They end up with huge pharmacy bills every month and don’t have a good quality of life. At the same time, there must be a balance. I don’t feel like eating anything but grilled chicken and greens while running miles a day would age well. Trying to make good decisions about your health and finances, making time for family and friends, and traveling are all important.

Rita Lisewski, 69, Grafton, Wes: The only ‘practice’ I developed is… I’m going to die soon, so what does it matter? It is very liberating. I’m the old lady I wanted to be!

Patti Rasmussen, 62, Conyers, Ga: To help my mental and emotional health, I pray morning and night, and write in a journal. I try not to hold onto anger or negative feelings.

Judith Sonder, 70, East Providence, Rhode Island: For good old age, one needs adequate housing, regular exercise and checkups, hobbies, a reliable handyman, and a good support system.

At any age, a healthy diet can extend your life

Margaret Lorenz, 58, Temecula, California: As a professional guardian and executor, I had the privilege of getting to know so well hundreds of seniors. Successful people over 80 can still do all the things they want (physically and mentally) to not smoke, avoid strong alcohol, and not gain weight. another thing; embrace your ultimate vulnerability; Get your property plan in writing, and keep it up to date.

Mark Tochen, 77, Camas, Wash: Digging in the garden evokes my memories, and a walk along the beach or a walk in the river is more appreciated than ever. We must cultivate our relationships with good friends and loving family – none of them should be taken for granted, and we must find oases nearby.

Cynthia A. Critnet, 65, Durham, North Carolina: I never tell myself that I can’t do things because of my age. This should be developed as a lifelong position. I know people in their 30s and 40s who actually think they are old!

Linda Jarrow, 82, Boca Raton, Florida: You must choose life with all the adventures that come your way, good or bad. Aging brings you many losses in family, friends, and certain activities you used to do. If you maintain a positive outlook and take it one day at a time, getting older isn’t so bad.

Sylvia Smith, 69, Illinwood, Ga: We should start thinking about aging well in our twenties and thirties because what we do next can affect our health in our later years. I compare it to an investment. The earlier you start, the higher your return in the long run. Healthy eating, regular and consistent exercise, social activities, and religious participation! By all means, spend yearly time with a counselor! Getting rid of baggage and issues early in life makes for a healthier future.

Abby Dart, 66, Brooklyn: At 63 (now 66) I decided to try the opposite approach to many (move to Florida, embrace an older community, retire or just stay put), sold my house and car and moved from Ann Arbor to a tiny apartment in Brooklyn. I had to learn a whole new lifestyle from the subway, the dense urban life and the usual challenges of a city like New York City. However, I think a big part of aging well is always trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone.

“It’s about vitality…not age!”

Barbara Holp, 75, Springfield, Virginia: Stay in touch with your inner child. It’s about vitality, not age!

Erin Bethea, 60, Akron, Ohio: Watching my elderly father’s decline, I learned that even when you know that you have become a burden to your loved ones and that your world has become so small, you can still make a positive contribution to their lives simply by expressing their gratitude to them. Provide care, accept their help rather than fight it, complement their efforts, say something smart or tease them, and generally maintain a positive attitude. My dad lights up with happiness when he sees he made me laugh or smile. He knows he made my day a little better.

Janet Anderson, 75, Vancouver, Washington: This month I added a smartwatch and wireless earbuds to help monitor my vital signs and provide a lifeline in the event of a fall. I can listen to books and music while participating in my latest activity, Nordic Walking.

Roger Harms, 75, Edmund, Okla: Long before you get too old, select a home that is within walking distance of a number of stores and services. It is better to deal with life freely in the absence of total dependence on cars. Just walking to the grocery for a few things or doing some banking will boost your health.

Jan Potocic, 74, Poland, Maine: The biggest hindrance to aging is aging, and all the negative messages that older people are exposed to every day and are often internalized. It is never too early or too late to fight anti-aging discrimination in our society.

Kizza Kay, 61, Machiavelli, North Carolina: I often feel invisible because I am sitting here in this little house surrounded by my ghosts and memories. I have to force myself to go out and try relentlessly to make new memories over and over again. Sometimes I miss everyone. Good old age means willingness to jump in the river and swim. It means getting ready to sleep outside under the stars. It means waterfall walks, and it means accepting things that change irrevocably.

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