Healthy Aging Book Club

Last month I had a lovely visit with a group of 60 and 70 somethings to discuss the book A Long Bright Future by Laura Carstensen. The book club was hosted by Meghan Marty, a local Geropsychologist.

In her book, the author suggests cultural shifts that would better allow us to live long prosperous lives. She claims our current model of aging is built for short lives, not long ones. We cram the majority of our work in the beginning of our lives, and most of our relaxation at the end. One idea she suggests is that we redesign our work lives to have a more relaxed mid-life (for example, taking more time off when you have small kids at home). Then instead of “retiring” at 65, we could work differently, say mentoring younger people in our industry, or working part-time or at a more limited capacity into our 60’s, 70’s, 80’s…

One of the highlights for me was her 5 myths of aging (spoiler alert – elderly people tend to report greater happiness than those in their 20’s). Stress, worry and anger all decrease as we age. The author says it’s never too late to change, and regardless of genetics, our individual choices matter as far our long-term mental and physical health.

The author also stresses the importance of community as we age.

Having fewer than three people in your social circle with whom you feel emotionally close is a risk factor for all sorts of physical and psychological problems.

Our group discussed how this book could benefit not only those over 65, but people my age (40’s) as we think about successful ageing. Some ideas include keeping our minds sharp, our relationships strong, and setting realistic financial goals so that we feel safe and secure going into retirement. I liked the positive spin on this (not to worry, aging is not all doom and gloom) and how the author not only suggests cultural shifts, like major changes to social security, but also action steps we can take personally to improve our golden years.

Meghan is hosting her next book club Friday July 27th. We will read Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons Learned From a Year Among the Oldest Old by John Leland (2018).

Want to join this lovely group? Message Meghan directly to reserve your spot.

More about Meghan:

Your host Meghan earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2012. She completed a geropsychology-focused pre-doctoral internship (2011-2012) and a palliative care-focused post-doctoral fellowship (2012-2013), both at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System in Palo Alto, CA. Since 2013, she has been licensed to practice psychology in the state of Oregon.

She has spent years providing services to older adults and their families, in a variety of settings, dealing with anxiety, bereavement; end-of-life issues; chronic illness/injury; family caregiver stress; and varying degrees of cognitive impairment. She takes a strengths-based approach to her work, using interventions based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), person-centered/Humanistic therapy, and multicultural counseling to facilitate the mental health and well-being of her clients. Her clinical research has explored coping and adjustment in older adults, as well as protective factors against late-life suicide.

Want to join this lovely group? Message Meghan directly to reserve your spot.