Author of the award-winning book, Live Long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging and President of Masterpiece Living.
What does retirement look like for the new older adult?
First of all, why are we talking about a new older adult?
We know that each generation has been affected in some ways by the historical context of their lives. For example, the Greatest Generation by the Great Depression and WWII. The current group of older adults 65 and over saw an explosion in possibilities of civil rights, wealth, and technology (to name a few). Additionally, there was a trend, which continues today of a more self-oriented view of life.
This all has resulted in a generation which expects much more from their Third Stage of life: more experiences, better health, more opportunity. They are acutely aware of the fact that their own choices, including where they live, are major determinants of how they will age.
The result of these trends is an older adult who intends to remain at high levels of function for longer and longer, and they know that to do so requires them to keep moving, learning, staying connected and have meaning and purpose.
So, expect the new older adult to seek out places where she will be stimulated to keep moving, learning, staying connected and find meaning and purpose; where the culture that surrounds her will reflect these attributes; and where there is more than just words or promises, but a genuine commitment (with proof of outcomes) to providing an environment that will allow and stimulate her to thrive and age successfully.
So, this has changed our whole view of aging, hasn’t it?
Indeed, it has. Rather than a time when we withdraw from productive work in order to reap the benefits of our earlier labors, aging is becoming a time when we actively seek out our next stage of continued growth and contribution. The new term of “mentern” (a combination of mentor and intern) describes this well.
Yes, there will be more and more challenges to our abilities, but when we live lifestyles of movement, connection, learning and purpose, we are much more likely to weather these “slings and arrows” … minimizing impairment and maximizing continued highest possible function. The Lifestyle Review and Mobility Review offered by Lifespace Communities and Masterpiece Living are time-tested tools designed to assist both residents and associates to do just this.
The research is clear: decline only is not the only option. Growth is indeed both a possibility and a requirement to a longer, productive, and more fulfilling life. We know our muscles, brain, and in fact our bodies in general, can function as well as someone significantly younger if we use them. So, why not choose to use them, grow and make your aging journey a time you can look forward to with optimism and confidence?
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