In the past, I have given more than a few presentations on the benefits of laughter and humor; those benefits are many. So I was not surprised to read about an older adult who aged well AND had a sense of humor. From "Want to age well? Laugh it up" (The Globe and Mail):
In her new book, You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready?, sociologist Lyndsay Green interviewed 40 seniors identified as role models for aging well by the people who know them. What she discovered is that money matters far less than learning to laugh about your hearing aid.
In your opening chapter, you give some simple advice: Be charming. Is one of the most important lessons of aging well making sure you are fun to hang out with?
It's absolutely the most important lesson. Once you are older there are often very few reasons for people to hang out with you unless you are charming. You aren't offering them networking opportunities or career advancement prospects. Who will hang out with you when all you have is yourself?
You describe your Aunt Jean who made close friendships with the staff at her nursing home, partly because she couldn't relate to her fellow residents. She certainly appears to have been that great-aunt you'd always like to visit. What are the most important things you learned from her?
She made an enormous effort to put on her face for me – in the metaphorical sense. She prepared herself for her visit with me. She would have clearly boned up on some topical event, some public issues that she wanted to debate and would ask my opinion on.
She did not talk about her failing health or her medical problems. She asked me about myself and remembered things I talked about at our last visit. She stayed really curious, engaged, and genuinely seemed interested in what was going on around her.
But Aunt Jean, she was very mentally spry. She had a lot of advantages in the charming area. What if you can’t remember things or you are struggling in those areas?
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