Point of View: Shifting the attitude of aging as something to avoid – towards one to enjoy

Community Living

“It’s kind of like living in an all-inclusive resort, I just don’t know how you can get bored!” says Eunice, a resident of The Springs at Greer Gardens. “There’s something to do every day, or nothing at all. It’s all up to you.”

Eunice’s unique outlook on aging- that the power is in your hands to enjoy your day by doing activities, or enjoy your day by doing nothing at all- is the new mindset that many studies are proving may be the key to healthy aging, no matter where you are.

Of course it helps that residents of The Springs Living are surrounded by community instead of living alone, and have numerous options for activities, but the overall theme of aging now is changing the narrative.

Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, started a conversation with the goal to disrupt aging. AARP Real Possibilities calls for change in the narrative that restricts women and men over fifty. Jenkins’ campaign has gone viral, and is supported by women who defy limits, like Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Cindy Lauper.  AARP’s decision to actively feature stories of women over 50 is yet another way pop culture is working to weave new threads of diversity and opportunity in the post-fifty cultural narrative.

The idea of second chances and proactively changing as you age is something new. No longer do aging Americans feel the need to just settle in and accept quiet hobbies, sitting at home alone while thinking about medical ailments or missing social opportunities. The new aging generation is changing the stereotypes. Mainstream media is also contributing to the shifting view on aging, as evidenced by the portraits of people in their 80s and 90s included in Sharon Jayson's Washington Post article on "superagers."

Their heartwarming stories raise one basic question -- what sets people who are perpetually, mentally young, apart? Research is revealing that mindset is one of the biggest factors when it comes to keeping the brain young.

Eunice, and several other residents of The Springs Living communities, are living in a mindset that says each day is a gift. They are all living life to the fullest; with strong, capable mindsets that are young despite any physical aging they may be experiencing. They all agree that staying active mentally and keeping in a “young” state of mind influences their outlook to be positive and youthful, regardless of outside factors. We could all benefit from changing our mindset and remembering that we ultimately can control our thoughts and reactions to any situation, including aging.