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Living Longer, Growing Stronger

Rabbi Richard Address D. Min Written by Rabbi Richard Address D. Min
SeniorLiving.Org Expert on Judaism | Aging And Mortality | Healthy Aging

My wife and I have an escape apartment in Palm Beach county in Florida. I try and get there (never often enough) to tune out the world and re-charge.

Living Longer, Growing Stronger

Of course, Palm Beach county is sort of a living laboratory on the "art" of living long. Other than driving (especially "in season") you can learn a lot about the impact of the revolution in longevity that is now surrounding us.

A few weeks ago, the Palm Beach Post carried a feature piece on "Living Past 90". (Palm Beach Post. Sunday January 1, 2012). The article traced the fact that the over 90 set is one of the fastest growing cohorts of American life. According to the article people over 90 are:

  • Mostly women, outnumbering men 3 to 1
  • Not wealthy having a median income of $14,760 with about half from social security
  • Living alone or with a family member (74%) or the rest mainly in an assisted living type facility
  • living mostly in California, Florida and New York

The interviews all focused on the "secret" of longevity, active longevity at that. Other than one's genetics, the mood of the article was that one needed to keep active; physically, emotionally and spiritually. Boredom, loneliness and isolation are more dangerous, it seems, than disease. As one of those interviewed said: "the secret to a long life is getting up in the morning and knowing I have something to do". There is a reality testing that seems to be present among the group interviewed, a sense that you deal with what "is" and not what "could be". A 91 year old man summed it up: "I thank God I was able to reach this age, but it is hard to be alone. Most of my friends are gone now....You have to learn to take the punches."

Health, in all of its aspects, is a key to growing stronger and living a fuller life. The spiritual aspect of this will be a focus of much of what I want to discuss with you and I invite your comments.


Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min

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