Updated: Sep 24
In 2014, Paul Irving coauthored a book entitled The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose which describes the expanding roles and opportunities for the ever-increasing shift in population to an older demographic, not only in America but across the world.
It dispels a common belief about aging which is typically associated with decline in mental and physical function, transition from independence to dependence, and a downward spiral from which the only way out is one’s last breath.
The book explores a variety of areas as contributing to the premise that there is an “upside” to aging. They include:
· Exploring scientific discoveries about emotional intelligence and qualities of our brains as we age.
· The fact that there is ample evidence that the purchase power as well as the needs for much needed products and services contributes to a powerful longevity economy, now estimated to be worth $8.3 trillion, the 3rd largest economy in the world, certainly nothing to be sneezed at in terms of its value.
· The awareness of Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Choices available in education, practices, strategies, and products are affording us the opportunity to continue to live, learn, and indeed thrive on this journey into advanced years.
· The emphasis on financial security to that we can support a longer life with ease and comfort.
Despite the book which outlines this “upside” to aging, has there been a societal shift in attitudes when thinking about aging and older adults?
Have you yourself shifted in your own feelings about getting older? Do you consider yourself “old” or talk about other people as “old”?
I thought it apt to discuss this as September is Healthy Aging Month.
It’s not only that we should embrace choices to ensure our own healthy longevity, but what is a healthy societal attitude towards aging?
I’ve written and spoken about our progression from childhood across the decades many times. I thought it apt to discuss again here as it pertains to attitudes towards Healthy Aging, society’s and our own.
When we are three and are asked how “old” we happily and clumsily try to raise our fingers to show our age? It’s sooooo cute.
When we’re nine we can’t wait for our birthday when we move to double digits and proudly declare, “I am ten years old!”
Then thirteen, and we reach the teenage years, WOW, we’re really getting there.
Alas, sixteen years old and we can drive.
TADA!!!! Eighteen years “old” and we can vote, are draft eligible, and depending on the state, we’re “drinking age”. Hello world, we’ve arrived.
Then on to becoming twenty years “old” It’s official, adulthood here we are.
Then the dreaded thirties. Remember when we were thirty and were considered “over the hill”?
From there we continue moving upwards, career, possibly purchasing a car, marriage, family, buying a house?
Has the forties become the new thirties? We’re still good, right?
But then, omgoodness, we’re the ripe “old” age of fifty, middle age….reality finally sets in.
The AARP mailings begin. Impending doom has arrived!!
In 1999 AARP, originally known as the American Association of Retired Persons, shifted its message beyond the retired adult and repositioned the brand so the ‘RP’ in the acronym shifted to stand for "Real Possibilities" . A 2013 press release described the shift in purpose to deliver a message empowering individual choice so that each person or their target 50 and above audience, could carve out a path for how they desire to live. An ad campaign to spread the word on the shift in vision and mission began with digital and social media ads on more lifestyle related outlets.
But has this change in tagline and ad campaign been effective in shedding the stigma that goes alone with getting older? Just a few years ago when visiting my son in LA, I had my own AARP experience.
One night we decided to go to the movies. I proudly pulled out my AARP card for the discount when my son turned to me and said, “so, you’re old now”? At the time I was in my early 60s. I hadn’t thought of myself as “old” then, a few years hence, I still don’t think of myself as “old”.
I actually don’t even really know what that means. That is to say that society may have its definition, but I haven’t internalized it though I do know I'm an older person. To me, that is one of the healthiest aging statements I can make.
Who defines us as “old”? Do we let society define it for us or should we not be empowered to define it for ourselves? Much of our self-concept about aging is based on society’s ageist attitudes and beliefs which have been reinforced from the time we were young.
As the largest growing demographic in the nation, and indeed the world, what can we do to affect what we can call an “aging revolution”. A revolution aimed at changing views about older adults that truly embraces the real possibilities and benefits of the elderhood years. In order to inspire and positively impact that conversation, I’m pursuing a film project about the value older adults represent in society. http://spot.fund/VjbyBy
Does it begin with becoming the CEO of our own health and wellness, showing the world who we are, and what we’re capable of being and contributing? How can we remain strong, productive, engaged, and valued, without embracing a healthy longevity plan?
The Wellness CEO – by Phyllis Ayman
Your health is YOUR business.
Are you the keeper of your well-being?
It’s NEVER too late.
The place to begin is within,
The time to begin is NOW!
Your Health is Your BUSINESS!
You are the CEO of your well-being.
If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter, but
If you mind, make it MATTER!
The Place to Begin is Within, The Time to Begin is NOW!!!!!
Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life!
Feel Fab…Look Fab….Be FAB – U- Lous YOU!!!!
and most importantly…….
AGE MAGNIFICENTLY! (click link to find out how)
To read Phyllis Ayman's latest chapter as coauthor in the USA Today and
WSJ #1 Bestseller grab a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B6WV351V/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_api_KBMMJDSRNA2DYZNQ6T37
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Follow Phyllis Ayman on the podcast: SeniorsSTRAIGHTTalk at: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3911/seniors-straight-talk