A thoughtful review of two books on aging with purpose, and the manifold benefits that accrue both to the person doing the aging and to the many others whose lives that person touches. I took away enough inspiration from the article, that I’m now reading Dr. Agronin’s book and find it so far to be fascinating.

What’s the best way to develop a healthy perspective on old age? Spend more time with elderly people and discover what brings meaning and pleasure to their twilight years despite the losses, both physical and social, they may have suffered.

Too many in our youth-focused culture currently regard the elderly with fear or disdain and consider them costly consumers of resources with little to offer in return. Given the explosive pace of technology that often befuddles the elderly, they command little or no respect for the repository of wisdom that was once cherished by the young (and still is in some traditional societies).

As one of Dr. Agronin’s youngest informants said, even when physical decline and losses restrict one’s options, there remains the capacity to appreciate and approach each day with a sense of purpose. “It’s all about how you frame what you have,” she told him. […]