AGING: 7 Meta-Themes

aging in place

As an improviser, my nature is to take a theme and constantly rework it.

~Jason Moran


Aging in Place

Throughout my career in gerontology, I have uncovered re-emerging themes that find their way into THE WORK repeatedly. They stand the test of time and in fact are so enduring I just continue to employ them in various forms to fit the occasion. And like a well-made blue blazer and jeans, they never go out of style.

Here are Seven:

1) Historical Gerontology focused on what went wrong with Aging. The emphasis was on pathology, the disease medical model was privileged, and the PEAK and DECLINE model of the industrial machine was the predominate metaphor.

Critical Gerontology uses critical theory to question cultural assumptions about aging. Here the underlying assumption is Human Development is possible not just in the early stages of life, but throughout the entire lifespan.

2) Life satisfaction improves with aging and gets higher after age 50.

“Contrary to the popular view that youth is the best time of life, the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade.”

~Laura Carstensen, Director of the Center on Longevity at Stanford University

We get happier and more satisfied with life as we age.

3) Creativity Declines with Age, has been historically misinterpreted. In the past creativity was equated with productivity—that is, the more work, the more creative. Younger creatives may be more prolific and produce more works, but older creatives are no less creative in all fields. Frank Lloyd Wright and Virginia Woolf are two examples of creatives who did their best work later in life.

4) The Healthy Aging Brain requires two essential elements: 1) NOVELTY 2) COMPLEXITY to grow and strengthen dendrite connections. Routine is the death of dendrite growth.

5) Longevity is the by-product of a life of PURPOSE. Having a meaningful purpose will outdo jumping jacks every time…But both will synergize to longevity.

6) Your BIOGRAPHY becomes Your BIOLOGY (how you live is how you age)

7) Aging in Place involves both Down-side Risks and Up-side Risks. Normal life is a balance of downside and upside risks and older adults should be afforded the opportunity for both—like any other aspect of life.





Safety surplus and the Upside of Risks

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