Walt Disney knew a thing or two about having fun. He is credited with saying, “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional!” Having worked with older adults for over thirty years now, I have come to believe that whatever temperament a person had at a younger age often gets more pronounced as they get older. Kind and compassionate 40-year olds tend to become very kind and wonderfully compassionate 70-year olds.
The same is true of the decision to “grow old”. I love seeing residents of our retirement communities take charge of their retirement choices. Where some are content to do the “normal” older person activities, some really lean into new experiences, new hobbies and constant discovery. The great thing about living in a community with one (or more) full-time activities directors is there is almost always something going on. Older adults who take advantage of this tend to have more and deeper friendships, sharper minds and much more social interaction which science tells us leads to a happier and more fulfilling life. While we do have to age, we never have to “grow old”.