Independent, Cognitively Sound, Mobile

Samain and the Decided Moon

BTW: If you’re new to Ancientrails, I wanted to welcome you and tell you about my noun capitalizations. After I read Braiding Sweetgrass, I decided to do as the Pottawatomie do and capitalize all nouns referring to living things. As I’m an animist/Taoist, living things covers a lot of territory as you will see.

Saturday gratefuls: New readers. Creativity. Rabbi Jamie. Religious leadership. Cold weather. Snow. Thanksgiving. Ruth, getting help. Gabe. Jen. Sarah. BJ. Annie. Chemo. Prostate cancer. Judy, may her memory be for a blessing. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate. The Ancient Brothers. Marilyn and Irv. Induction cooking. Remodeled kitchen. Mini-splits keeping me warm. Diane’s book club. The Donald. Ukraine. War. Peace.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Pet Ramp for Kep


Aging. It’ll be in the news a lot. With 80 year old Joe Biden and 76 year old Donald Trump as the leading contenders for their parties nomination for the 2024 Presidential race. An interesting article in the NYT today discusses age as a factor for Biden. See some quotes from it below.*

A couple of years ago a new primary care doc told me, “You don’t get healthier as you get older.” Came as a shock, said so bluntly and from my physician. She’s no longer my PCP. Still, it’s generally true and it’s silly to ignore the ravages that age can produce on our bodies and our minds.

Evidence abounds in my own life of healthy aging however. As I mentioned last week, all 12 men in my men’s group now together for over 35 years are still alive. Not only alive, but mobile, cognitively sound, and independent. Our ages range from 69 to 89 with three of us over 80. My cousin Diane, 74, jogs up a hill near her San Francisco home and picks up trash every other day. At CBE my friends Alan and Marilyn are both in robust health at 70 and 75. As is my sister Mary.

Even my own situation can be included. As the AARP new definition of healthy: independent, cognitively sound, and independent suggests, even having a potentially terminal disease like prostate cancer does not automatically indicate diminished life capacity. I get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, often over 200 to 250. I take care of my own home, cook for myself, have a strong social network, and exercise my mind through classes, writing, reading, and travel.

This is not your grandpop’s retirement. We may all fit the definition of super-agers: “…a subgroup of people that maintain their mental and physical functioning and tend to live longer than the average person their age.” UIC study.

An interesting article from the NIH, also mentioned in the NYT piece, says that executive function and attention may actually improve with age. And, that the gains can endure well into a person’s aging even if they level off in the late seventies.

Most will not fit this definition of super aging, but many may still fit AARP’s new definition of health as leading an independent life, having a sound mind, and being mobile. It’s important to remember that our own views of aging were formed when looking at our grandparents and others of their generation. Confirmation bias leads us to look towards those instances of aging which reinforce those older memories.

Should either Trump or Biden run for office? I hope not. But not because they’re old. That might even be an advantage.



“…while the risk of life-threatening diseases, dementia and death rises faster with each passing decade of a person’s life, experts in geriatrics say that people in their 80s who are active, engaged and have a sense of purpose can remain productive and healthy — and that wisdom and experience are important factors to consider…

It is true that older people tend to decline physically, and the brain also undergoes changes. But in people who are active, experts say, the brain continues to evolve and some brain functions can even improve — a phenomenon experts call the “neuroplasticity of aging.”

“This idea that old age is associated with only declines is not true,” said Dr. Dilip Jeste, a psychiatrist who has studied aging at the University of California, San Diego.”

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