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Are You An Evolving Elder? The SeniorScape®

This past weekend I delivered my talk at Deer Park TEDx Women. I’m both honored and proud that I was able to achieve this long-held goal. I’ll be happy to share the link when I receive it from the TED organization. The talk was based on an important question that begs an answer, “can we change how society views older adults?” As I said in my talk, and have written about in the past, aging is a process. We are all both getting older and aging. The difference is that aging has a negative connotation. We are older than we were a year ago, a month ago, a week ago, a day or even a minute ago. While getting older is often thought of as maturing with the progress and passage of time, aging is often associated with being aged, or old, and with declining mental and physical ability. Hence, the reason adults over the age of 60 may likely identify themselves as aging, while those 40 and below, would more than likely themselves as getting older. Oddly enough, an aged steak has more value, as does a wine that becomes finer with age. There is no denying the effects of time on our bodies. Though we can slow the impact of decline in some areas, we cannot prevent them altogether. Moreover, science does not yet fully understand the complex interplay of factors that cause us to age as we do. We know factors that affect aging include: genetics, diet, exercise, illness, and a host of others. Aging is a gradual, continuous process of natural change that actually begins in early adulthood. When we reach our 30s, the early signs of aging begin to become apparent. Some of the tell-tale signs may be seen in our skin, bones, joints, digestive, cardiovascular systems, nervous systems, etc. Experts suggest that the normal skin aging process begins at about 25 years of age when there is a progressive reduction in the amount of collagen manufactured, causing the skin to lose elasticity. Another example may be that our metabolism starts to gradually decline. (a process that may begin as early as the age of 20) Other more noticeable hormonal changes may begin to occur in the 40s and 50s as well as other more visible outward changes (i.e., hearing, vision) The cosmetic industry would have us believe that we should use whatever means necessary to reduce the appearance of aging, in order to defy the negative stereotypes associated with our age, for society and for ourselves. There is considerable research being done to reverse aging or to apply remedies for people to live longer free of some of the diseases we normally associate with the aging process. It seems integral to the conversation on increasing the life course, is respecting or valuing older adults, offering a quality of life, what would be the point of living longer? It can be said that the appearance of age on our face and in our body is not the real determinant of how a person is defined. That it is more measured in attitude, vitality and mindset. The evidence for this is clear when you think of a person in their 70s, 80s or 90s who has the spirit, vitality and attitude of a person half of that age. Much of this spirit, vitality and attitude can be found in a person’s ability to continue pursuing adventures, to live with purpose, dreams, goals, desires and passion. An adventure can be nothing more than taking chances. Are we capitalizing on opportunities or creating some of our own? If not, can we? I’m reminded of the video of Granny, who became a Tik Tok sensation in her 90’s, an adventure that she never would have ever dreamed of pursuing. Indeed, it was her grandson that facilitated her becoming a social media sensation, but Granny embraced it. She didn’t let fear, society’s mores, friends or detractors, influence her decision. She went with it, and I for one am glad she did. For me it was eye opening and inspiring. Can you look at your own life and take small steps which can seem like an adventure? Do you think you would feel more fulfilled, gratified, and even experience a sense of freedom you hadn’t previously? If we can think of ourselves as evolving elders, an active process that lives inside of each of us from the time we are children, we may be able to move the needle on how society views older adults, and ultimately how we view ourselves as we get older. As an evolving elder we strive to reach our wisdom years but have also earned the right to pursue our passions, desires, goals with freedom. This is a stage to be celebrated and exalted which commands dignity, respect, and quality of life. The option is certainly not desirable. Limitations are only the ones we place on ourselves. For information on creating a Longevity Care Plan or Wellness Action Plan so you can continue to age healthfully, with vibrancy, energy and positivity, email: Remember: Make the Rest of Your Life, the Best of Your Life!!!! Feel Fab…..Look Fab…..Be FAB – U – Lous YOU!!!!!! Be An Adventure Capitalist and AGE MAGNIFICENTLY!!!!!! Look out for my TEDx talk.

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