Forget Aging Gracefully — Age Successfully!

The MacArthur Foundation’s landmark ten-year study in 1998 showed that 70% of how we physically age, and 50% of how we mentally age are determined by the lifestyle choices that we make. It was this study that sought to break the stereotypes that equate aging to sickness, senility, slowness, weakness, and that longevity is predetermined by genetics.

(from Successful Aging: The MacArthur Foundation Study by Dr. John W. Rowe, and Dr. Robert L. Kahn)

Dr. Rowe and Dr. Kahn posited that one’s aging journey is mostly determined by one’s lifestyle choices - not genetics. There are four main factors that are needed for successful aging:

  • A physically active and mentally stimulating lifestyle
  • Strong social engagement
  • Purpose and meaning in one’s life
  • Environments that support this lifestyle

Many senior living communities, whether focused on independent living or assisted living, focus on providing for all four of those factors.

When visiting communities, make sure you

  • take a look at their activities and events calendar. Are the activities fun, challenging? Do they get you thinking? Do they get you moving?
  • visit their fitness room or fitness center, and other fitness amenities like walking paths or swimming pool. Is the equipment friendly for seniors? Is there a personal trainer on staff? Are there regular exercise classes that interest you?
  • review their daily menu. Are they health-conscious? Do they accommodate low-sodium diets? And would you enjoy the food?
  • get a sense of the culture. Do residents seem to be involved in the planning of activities and events? Are there resident-run groups or clubs? Are there opportunities to volunteer within the larger community or are there intergenerational activities?

Find a community that engages your mind, your body, and your soul. Kithward can help!