As today’s ‘retirees’ continue to blaze new trails on living long, it’s clearly evident an ageless mindset is at the core. Since we know what we think matters, more and more older adults are definitely challenging the traditional image of aging by revolutionizing their thinking about what’s possible — and the results are both inspiring and life changing.
Sister Madonna Buder, at 88-years young is one such example. Known as the “Iron Nun”, she holds an impressive record of completing 45 Ironmans (including at age 75, where she became the oldest person to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii) and 340+ triathlons. And earlier this month, she took the top spot (in the 85-to-89 female age group) at the USA Triathlon National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.
As a gerontologist studying the aging process, people often ask me, “What’s the secret?”
While some of the most exciting research in this field focuses on this area, current studies indicate there’s not just one thing, but rather a number of things that contribute to not only living long, but perhaps more importantly, living well. Most of us really don’t care how long we live, like to a specific age per se, but instead it’s how do we maintain a healthy, happy, quality of life as long as possible, that seems to matter most.
There’s certainly an abundance of medical and scientific aspects that contribute to the outcome, but it seems it’s the real life stories of the people themselves, and their lifestyles which support the research, that is perhaps the most effective in helping us understand and ultimately incorporate the behaviors responsible for living long and living well.
Aging is definitely changing … and as a result, the concept of retirement is changing right along with it. But have our beliefs about aging and thoughts about retirement kept up with these changes? And if not, what role does that play in our lives?
What we think matters. In fact, according to a Yale University study, those who have a negative image of aging are twice as likely to die of a heart attack, versus those with a positive perspective, who are likely to live 7 years longer! Without delving into all the specific aspects of this outcome, clearly what we think and believe affects how we live our lives. But it also affects how we plan our lives … particularly, financially. If people don’t really understand how long they’ll likely live (let alone, the financial cost of longevity) and/or look forward to this new life phase, they’re far less likely to make the financially sacrifices necessary for a time they’re not only not real excited about … but unlikely believe will even happen anyway.
Have you ever thought, ‘Wow … a Gerontologist would be great for my business, great for my life?’ I’ll bet you’ve never even met a Gerontologist before … but I’m sure it was on your ‘bucket list’ of things to do, so now you can wipe it right off!
Do you know what a Gerontologist is? Gerontology is the study of aging, but I’m not your typical Gerontologist … and believe it or not, for those of you in the financial space, we’re in the same line of work. You obviously do it from a different perspective than I do, but we have the privilege and pleasure to help people make the right choices in their lives.