It is funny how we think about older people. I was recently working with a webmaster and we needed some picture of older people, 55+. that were frustrated with chronic pain. The person that I was speaking to was a young woman probably in her 30’s and college educated. What she sent to me for my approval was just too funny. She sent 10 pictures of people, not 50-65, not even 70-75, but people over 80 years of age and to top it off, all of them were laughing and having a good time. In her mind, people 50-65 are too old to be active and look 80+. Though I work with many very active people over 80, the pictures she sent were pictures of inactive or sickly people. That is the normal picture of older people. Sadly, too many older people have that same perspective too.
Most of my clients are over 50 years of age and are very active, including the clients over 80. So I have to wonder if the vision of a sickly older man or woman is so strong in the heads of older people that the vision becomes their destiny? If so, what are the active older people doing so differently? Or are the active older people just the lucky few?
I have ask many people over 80 and 90 years old about how they think and what they do daily. I also ask if they think that what they do is the secret to aging better? The responses are very similar and are laughed at by their peers, but the truth of the matter is, they understand the secret to aging better.
The common threads are, they always have a project for tomorrow, next week, and next year. They believe they can still do the work inside and outside like they did years ago. They read a lot, work puzzles, work on their computers to figure out software, and they get out into the sun daily to sweat. Their diet is healthier with less calories as they age. they love to exercise, typically tennis, biking, walking, or swimming is at the top. Golf seems to be too slow for many of them. All of them maintain great relationships with spouses, family, and friends and remain active in their social organizations too. They do think about getting older, but only from the perspective of running out of time to get their projects completed.
I have had some great conversations with my older clients and though they are 80+, their mindset is equal to that of a 50-60 year old. These are lessons we all can follow.