Is ‘Successful Aging’ Even Possible?

We hear the term “successful aging” quite a bit these days, and it’s usually accompanied by advice about exercising or eating healthy or how to look and act younger. That’s all well and fine, but most of us just age anyway. Endurance and stamina decreases naturally with age, and we reduce our level of activity to match. Very few actually run marathons into their 90’s. An increasing number of foods have increasingly bad side effects on older tummies and bowels, so we eat more comfort foods that aren’t good for us but at least they fill us up. Fancy make-up and creams work when one still has some collagen in the skin, but there comes a time when it all just makes one look older than we actually are. So what then? What does successful aging become? It becomes less about trying to recapture something and more about creating a new reality centered on what we finally realize is important in our lives. Think of a 3-legged stool where each leg is an integral part of successful aging: Neighborhoods, Accessible Environments, and Purpose for Living…all supporting the seat of “Successful Aging.”

NEGHBORHOODS would represent our connections to other people – family as well as friends and acquaintances. Gates Mills Club is a neighborhood filled with neighbors and each apartment is an individual home for each resident.
ACCESSIBLE ENVIRONMENTS would refer to not only our homes (are they functional for our current needs) but our ability to access additional care and services as needed. GMC offers a range of amenities to choose from and caring people to help in the provision of those amenities.
PURPOSE FOR LIVING reflects the inner life we live…are we still filling our souls with experiences important to us, sharing ourselves with others, appreciating each other for the breadth of experience and skills picked up throughout our lives so far?

With all 3 legs firmly in place, we can rest assured we are aging successfully. If your stool is missing a leg, maybe it’s time to do what you need to do to sit firmly on the new seat of successful aging and stop listening to the inadequate advice on how to age successfully.

Vickie Sheppard
Executive Director

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