Until the end of my career or life, whichever comes first, my journalism beat is going to be Successful Aging. Since beginning my first reporting assignment more than 50 years ago at The Charlotte Observer (I was the textile reporter), this is the first time I’ve been able to pick my own assignment.
I chose this topic because, after about 15 years specializing in writing articles and books about aging, health, and retirement, I believe these were just the “prelims” and that nearly everything of import in our later years is part of the universal quest to successfully age and come to terms with our brief time on Earth.
I don’t pretend to have the answers for what successful aging means to you. That’s your job, and there are no “averages” here or thresholds to meet. Your unique mix of attributes, values, and priorities will define what successful aging might look like.
What I can offer is a guide to the building blocks of a successful life and the roles they can play in shaping this definition. I don’t claim to know all these variables, and look forward to your help in defining more. But I have a beginning list, and it’s pretty long:
Age Friendly Communities
Aging in Place
Budgets and Spending
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Charitable Giving, Divorce
End of Life
Long Term Care
Paying it Forward
Preventive Health Care
List or not, you are the real experts here. I can tell you how a program works, its cost-benefit analytics, and what research experts have found about its role in successful aging. But your experiences and advice are hugely important here.
So, please flood my inbox with your thoughts. What have been the most important elements of your pursuit of successful aging, and why? What new elements would you add to this list?
Most importantly, please tell me a bit about yourself. Success, especially as we move into our 70s and beyond, doesn’t mean an idyllic life with no setbacks or physical constraints. It is shaped by how we deal with these universal companions of aging.
I will share your stories with the appropriate concern for your privacy. I also will be doing stories about the building blocks on my list, and any you convince me to add. These will not be click-bait pieces but will include extensive facts, comments from experts, and links to reports and websites.
The goal of these stories is to provide you with enough information to make an informed choice of what you want to do. That should be the goal of every story but of course it is not.
At the end of this process, or at least my role in it, you will have access to an archive of anecdotal and reported material that will help you as far along the path to successful aging as you are willing to travel.