Successful ageing

Dylan's recipe - Forever Young

 May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift 
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of change shift

Ageing has some benefits. You don’t have to look your best. You don’t have to speak, but when you do, you have permission to say more or less what you like. I’ve had a lifetime of saying the wrong things and it’s no better now. If your friends and relatives are still talking to you, they might fondly regard you as a grump (or in my case a legend - maybe). You might then have some wisdom to pass on if anyone is still listening.

Clic on Happiness - week 36 - simple philosophical ideas. 

Over 12 months into the lockdown and I still ponder on stuff that was happening or about to happen before. Exaggerated or accelerated after. Home working and internet shopping for example.

What about successful ageing? What is it and which way has it gone? Alan D. Castel cites a 1987 book by John Wallis Rowe and Robert Kahn. They list the following as key:
  •  being free of disability or disease
  •  having high cognitive and physical abilities
  •  interacting with others in meaningful ways 

Biomedical model

There is no simple definition of successful ageing. Is it about health - complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organisation 1948)?

Is ageing a medical condition that doctors can fix? Geriatric physicians are good, but not that good. So the aim is unrealistic. Living and thriving with disease and disability however is. 
'Wearing out' is determined by genetics. So are cognitive abilities. Lifestyle comes on top of this - weight, diet, exercise.

Turn the biomedical around and it could be misinterpreted as all doom - don't want that.

Psychosocial perspective 

In addition to physical issues. Bowling and Dieppe - BMJ 2005. 
'Suggested psychological resources for successful ageing include a positive outlook and self worth, self efficacy or sense of control over life, autonomy and independence, and effective coping and adaptive strategies in the face of changing circumstances. For example, when some activities are curtailed (say, because of ill health) strategies need to be activated to find new activities and to maximise one's reserves. Successful ageing is seen as a dynamic process, as the outcome of one's development over the life course, and as the ability to grow and learn by using past experiences to cope with present circumstances while maintaining a realistic sense of self.
Understanding who we are and our place in the world - 'getting over ourselves'. Continuing to grow. Regular reality checks within relationships.

Looking backwards into the gloom. Rumination. No help. One 84 year old guy recently on Today radio4 recommended meditation. Why go over stuff or worry what might happen. Easier said than done, but there is the bottomless sit.

(1) Simon Barnes is one way forward. (2) Simon Barnes

I cannot suggest how Covid had made a difference - can you?

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