With the exception of accidents and injuries, the crippling effects of aging we see are the result of poor health choices, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and most of all, the acceptance that this is a "normal" part of the aging process. It is not.
If you interview older people you will soon to begin to notice several characteristics they all share.
Something that has been demonstrated to me personally, and is shared by many active people in their 80's and 90's and even older, is that they continue to be engaged in careers that they enjoy or some other activity that keeps them occupied and gives them a feeling of contributing. They are engaged in volunteer work, a part-time endeavor, or even self-employment.
I'll always remember Frank Krause, a former client of mine. When I first met Mr. Krause, I always addressed him that way, not so much because he cared but because it always seemed appropriate. He was in his early 80's and was the owner of two businesses.
One day we drove in his car to mid-town Manhattan, in the heart of New York City to look at some trade show displays. I had been working with him in developing a trade show booth for one of his companies. When he parked the car at 53rd Street and 6th Avenue, I grabbed my attaché case and jumped out so that I could help him out of the car.
After all, he was over 80!
But when I got out and looked around for him, he was half a block down the street and I had to practically run to keep up with him. I realized right then and there that his boundless energy was in part due to his love for his business, and the fact that it gave him challenging experiences to look forward to each day. He also exercised several times a week and, of course, he ate sensibly, but it was his love for his work and the companies he'd built, that left him feeling connected and provided his "joie de vivre"
(Excerpt for the forthcoming book by Jim Donovan, "Don't Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body")