Tell Next Avenue What Successful Aging Means to You
Your insights will help us produce a series with advice on successful aging
I have a big ask for Next Avenue readers: Help me create a guide to successful aging that Next Avenue can publish as a series of articles to help you, and the people you most care about, age successfully.
The question I'd love you to answer: What is your greatest challenge to successful aging and what are you doing about it?
At a younger age, I thought successful aging meant great health, enriching family relationships and financial security.
In one way or another, successful aging is the most important pursuit of our later years. It's part of the near-universal quest to come to terms with our brief time on Earth.
At a younger age, I thought successful aging meant great health, enriching family relationships and financial security. Now, after spending years writing books and articles about things like Medicare, Social Security and aging, the 75-year-old who stares out at me from the bathroom mirror thinks that successful aging means how we deal with the inevitable challenges and limitations that arise as we grow older.
What I Thought, and Think, Successful Aging Means
Now, I've decided, my journalism beat is going to be successful aging.
But you are the experts here, not me. Your stories and your responses to the mix of issues that confront and engage you can help define successful aging. I would love you to share them with me and initiate a dialogue that will shape stories I'll write about successful aging for Next Avenue.
What is your greatest challenge to successful aging and what are you doing about it?
Fill out the form below and send us your thoughts.
Once I've heard from you, I will follow up to find out more what the effort to age successfully looks like from where you sit.
For starters, I believe, having a shared vocabulary to talk about successful aging would be good. There are about four dozen terms on that theme that have repeatedly cropped up in my reporting and research. They range from age-friendly communities to volunteering and include everything from downsizing to resilience to spirituality to travel.
I see them spread over four ways we focus on our priorities for successful aging: financial, lifestyle, health and legacy.
What the 'Successful Aging' Columnist Says
There is solid research behind all these successful-aging terms from many experts. Personally, I've written more than 900 articles and columns about these topics for U.S. News & World Report. But I'm hardly a trailblazer. Helen Dennis, an author and a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging, just celebrated the 20 anniversary of her Successful Aging syndicated column for the Los Angeles Daily News and affiliated outlets.
Here's what she wrote, looking back at what she's covered in her nearly 1,000 successful-aging columns: "The overall three top issues typically are financial security, health (including the fear of dementia) and having a sense of purpose. Since my area deals with non-financial issues, the concerns often center on loss of identity, finding a new sense of purpose, staying independent, caregiving and keeping socially connected."
I'd like to know from you: What have been the most important elements of your pursuit of successful aging, and why? What new elements do you hope to add, and why? Most importantly, please tell me a bit about yourself.
The goal is to provide you with enough information to make an informed choice of what you want to do to age successfully.
In my Next Avenue articles, I will share some of your stories, with appropriate concern for your privacy. I also will write about the building blocks of successful aging from my list and ones you think should be added.
The goal is to provide you with enough information to make an informed choice of what you want to do to age successfully. Exactly how you decide to travel along this path will be up to you.