December 1, 2012

What older people know about life that we don't

Karl Pillemer, professor of human development and gerontology at the Weill Cornell Medical College, author of Lessons for Living,  gathers advice about what older people know about life that the rest of us don't  in the Washington Post slideshow, 12 Ways to Live a Better Life.

2. Act as if you will need your body for 100 years.. Don't worry about dying. Worry about chronic disease. . . . The smokers, overeaters and coach potatoes among us are too focused on the comforting thought that the worst that can happen is dropping dead one day . . . You need to change your lifestyle early in life, not to live longer, but to live better in your 70s, 80s and beyond. Matt McClain / For The Washington Post

4. Be able to look everyone in the eye. To avoid later-life remorse, one word was repeated again and again: "Honesty.'' . . . With a consistency that surprised me, they advise us unconditionally to be honest, to have integrity, to be someone others can trust. . . . If not, we will regret it.

7. Send flowers to the living.. Hal Phipps, 81, was married for 55 years until his wife's death. "I regret that I didn't tell her how much I loved her as much as I should have. And I didn't really realize that until I lost her.'' Who knows why it is so hard, even in the closest relationships, to say what needs to be said until it is too late.

12. Don't waste time worrying about growing old.  Many experts described later life as embodying a serenity, a "lightness of being,'' a sense of calm and easiness in daily life that was both unexpected and somewhat difficult to describe. . . . They acknowledge that growing old is uncharted territory. . . but many experts described it with a sense of exploring a new land.
Posted by Jill Fallon at December 1, 2012 12:07 PM | Permalink