Category Archives: Aging Well

21 Unvarnished Truths About Retirement

Jonathan Look being “attacked” by baby elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand [Photo credit: Jonathan Look | lifepart2.com]

By Jonathan Look for Next Avenue

Six years ago, at 50, I took early retirement, sold almost everything I owned and began traveling the world. I had been living a good life but longed for something more. My passions have always been travel, photography and writing, so I decided to take a calculated risk and create a new life on “the road less traveled.”

Hunter S. Thompson said it better than I ever could: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” I am fortunate to have done many extraordinary things since I retired, but none of them would have happened had I not dared to take a few tentative first steps and begin to live differently. read more

What We Can Still Learn From Mister Rogers as Adults

6 gems from the late, great PBS star [Photo credit: PBS PressRoom]

By Shayla Stern for Next Avenue

Hi neighbor.

You cannot say those words, even many years since Fred Rogers last created new TV shows, without knowing that they’re from Fred Rogers. That gentle voice with the slight drawl soothed even the most restless spirits.

I remember coming home from preschool and having my babysitter turn on Channel 12 – my local PBS channel – to calm me before “rest time.” But it doesn’t matter if you were a child in the decades that Mister Rogers was on TV. Rogers, who died in 2003, created nearly 900 episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood — and in the process, cultivated life lessons to last the rest of our lives. And so much of his wisdom applies to us in our many stages of adulthood. read more

The Case for Swedish Death Cleaning

A bestselling book argues for a new approach to decluttering. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Shayla Stern for Next Avenue

Although I’ve never visited Sweden, I find myself attracted to simple, clean-lined architecture and furniture. I love Swedish pop music. And herring. Plus, I live in Minnesota, with our cold but beautiful winters where I (a short brunette) am surrounded by tall blonde people.

It’s no surprise to me that I would also be drawn to another Swedish import of a darker nature: Swedish death cleaning.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson

Swedish death cleaning, or döstädning, is the premise of a recent best-selling book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson — a Swedish artist and author who is “between 80 and 100,” and quite charmingly reflective about her life and the things surrounding her. read more

5 lessons from the oldest old

Photo cedit: Adobe Stock

By Robert DiGiacomo

New York Times reporter John Leland thought he knew how to write about the “oldest old” — people 85 and up. For a proposed year-long series, he figured he would chronicle a laundry list of their issues: things like the dangers of falling, financial pressures and family conflict.

As Leland delved deeper, however, he realized the people in this age group were more than the sum of their problems. And he saw how much he didn’t know about the realities of aging. The resulting “85 & Up” series took a more holistic view of their lives. “I thought aging was about decline and loss,” he told Next Avenue. “I found the problems, but none of the people defined themselves by that.” read more

Tell Your Doctor What’s on Your Bucket List

It’ll help direct your health where you want it to go. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Grace Birnstengel for Next Avenue

Your doctor can’t read your mind. A doctor assumes everyone wants to live and continue to live the best, healthiest, happiest life possible — but that means something different for everyone. If your doctor knows about your long-term goals and “bucket list” items, however, that can be used to direct your health plan and goals.

Dr. VJ Periyakoil, an internist, geriatrician and palliative care professional at Stanford Health Care wrote a piece for the New York Times about how she regularly asks her patients about their bucket lists. read more

5 Life Lessons From Stephen Hawking

As his death is met with grief, we remember his wisdom. [Photo credit: hawking.org.uk]

By Bryce Kirchoff for Next Avenue

As the passing of renowned physicist and public intellectual Stephen Hawking is met with grief and remembrance the world over, Next Avenue wanted to honor the man who educated the world on a host of issues by sharing five important lessons we learned from him:

1. Trust in science, but remember that we haven’t uncovered all its mysteries yet.

At 22, Professor Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neuron disease and told he only had a few years to live. For most of his adult life, he was wheelchair bound and could speak only with the aid of a vocal synthesizer. Yet, against all odds, Hawking had a successful career and rich family life until passing away at the age of 76. read more

One Surprising Way Older Adults Can Get Healthier

You know about the obvious things. Now try this. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Dr. Ann Hwang for Next Avenue

Whether or not we actually do the right things to improve our health, many of us probably assume we know what they are. Walk more. Quit smoking. Eat healthier.

It’s a familiar list, and a good one. As a primary care doctor, I spend plenty of time counseling people to do exactly these things. But here’s another, less familiar thing I think you should consider: get engaged in your community.

The Benefits of Connection

Civic engagement may not be on the top of everyone’s to-do list, but it probably should be. There is intriguing evidence to suggest that people who are engaged in their communities — through activities like participating in local organizations or volunteering — could also have better health. read more

7 Reasons Why You Should Travel

Reap the benefits of health, happiness and gratitude on your next journey. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Wendy Sue Knecht for Next Avenue

Some people are just lucky — they’re born with it. I’m not talking about good looks or money. I’m talking about wanderlust …. that something inside of you that just makes you want to go places, explore and of course, wander.

My own wanderlust was cultivated at a young age. Although my family never took anything but road trips growing up, my father used to regale me with bedtime stories of Gee Gee Go-Go, a fictional character who traveled all over the world on his tricycle. It’s no surprise I became a Pan Am flight attendant! read more

The Power of Sharing Our Stories

Playing a game at an assisted living facility opened up connections [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Reyna Marder Gentin for Next Avenue

My friend runs an assisted living residence not far from where I live. When she called to say she had a mitzvah (a good deed) for me that was “right up my alley,” I was wary, to put it mildly. She explained that she was running an event where the residents would play a game encouraging them to share, open mic style, stories from their lives. My friend knows I write — essays, memoir pieces, a novel. I tell stories.

“Will you come?” she asked.

I wanted to say no. As my children will tell you, with the rare exception of a Shabbat round of Scrabble or Bananagrams, I don’t play games. Maybe I’m uptight, or just no fun, but games are not my thing. The idea of helping to facilitate an octogenarian quiz show was not high on my list. read more

8 Ways to Preserve Your Family Memories

How to save precious images so future generations can enjoy them [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Claire Zulkey for Next Avenue

Does that box of unsorted family photos in your closet give you a gnawing feeling? Always wonder what you’re supposed to do with your old slides? Make it a winter project to organize and annotate your family images and records, not just for your current family but for future generations.

After all, said genealogy consultant Maureen “The Photo Detective” Taylor, “It’s your identity. It’s who you are. And you can’t see where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” read more