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Life Lessons: How Older People Can Show Us How to Stay Young

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

December 15, 2015 — Hopefully at this point your children have been raised, your career is behind you, and you have amassed enough money to start enjoying a comfortable retirement. Now you have a new job: a happy and fulfilling retirement. But what is the best way to do that, and avoid wasting what are supposed to be your golden years?

One really good place to start is to examine the attitudes and behaviors toward retirement and aging of the people who have gone before us. You most likely know or remember some people who you admire for the way they lived their lives. This article will examine some of the life lessons we have seen firsthand or read about in famous people. Lessons that you can apply to make sure that your retirement is a happy one, and avoid one consumed with worry, pettiness, or a sour attitude.

Let’s Start with Dorothy
The first few life lessons come from observing your editor’s mother, who recently passed away at age 102.

Dorothy Brady

Be interested in others. Dotty thrived on what was going on with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Not to brag about them, but sharing our lives provided her with life.

Stay connected with the world. Almost blind and very hard of hearing, she could no longer play the games of bridge and golf that she loved so much. So she adapted – devouring books on tape, TV news, political debates, and old movies on TMC. If the governor had a mishap or if it might rain tomorrow, she was in the know.

Have younger friends. Mom collected interesting people, and seemed to absorb energy from their relative youth. And they got a kick out of someone so aged being interested in them.

Keep trying. If there was an outing at her assisted living facility, she went on it, even if she wasn’t feeling great. If you asked her if she wanted to see a play or go to a museum, she could tell you all about it – she’d usually just been there!

Stay hydrated. This Dorothy life lesson comes from my sister, Lisa: Mom considered coffee and Manhattans/Martinis to be excellent ways to hydrate. (it worked for Mom anyway!)

More from all over:
The next 2 are from Jay Bazzinotta at – who shares 8 other great life lessons too.
The things you didn’t do. They will be a bigger source of regret than your mistakes — the girl you didn’t kiss, the trip you didn’t take, the grandchild you didn’t visit, the time you could have helped someone. Do it now. You may never get the chance again.
– “If you don’t take care of your body early then it won’t take care of you later. Losing mobility, continence, and sight will make your world smaller and smaller.”

Artful Aging
Liz Fedor, also at had more anti-aging tips from her piece on two famous 89 year olds – Tony Bennett and Dick Van Dyke. It is part of a great series that includes one on Lauren Kessler’s “Becoming a Ballerina at Age 55“. The multi-part series is called Artful Aging.
Don’t retire before you want to. Ms. Fedor cites the example of some very famous people who have chosen not to retire, and still lead remarkably productive lives: Queen Elizabeth, Janet Yellen (69), Sen. Diane Feinstein (82), not to mention Tony Bennett and Dick Van Dyke. Working keeps them young.
Look for the silver lining. Don’t dwell on what you can’t do, focus on what you can.
Indulge your passions. Dick Van Dyke loves (lives?) to dance. So he works out so he can keep those famous feet moving.

Comments? What life lessons have you learned, from anybody, that will help you enjoy a happy and fulfilling retirement? Please share them in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on December 15th, 2015


  1. This is a great article. I was recently talking to a friend in her 80’s. She said you always have to remember life is an adventure.

    by Debra — December 16, 2015

  2. I love this approach to life from Eleanor Roosevelt:

    “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley)

    by Jan Cullinane — December 16, 2015

  3. Save your money. The nice asssisted living residences and board and care homes are expensive and not covered by medicare.

    by Robin Caltabiano — December 16, 2015

  4. My 82 year sister just had a knee replacement so she can resume tap dancing in musicals. We figured Mom made it to 97 and Dad 94, so she hopefully will have a lot more time to enjoy life. They played golf into early 90s and traveled the world until he turned 90. They worked hard, raised 6 kids and then enjoyed their own lives. All of us and our children and grandchildren learned lessons that life is meant to be enjoyed while you have it.

    by Barbara — December 16, 2015

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