This is a simple “yes” to the book “Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development“. Ok so the title is a tad long, but it describes this book completely.
Amazon: In a unique series of studies, Harvard University has followed 824 subjects from their teens to old age. Professor George Vaillant now uses these to illustrate the surprising factors involved in reaching happy, healthy old age.
It is based on decades of research (over 60 years) and offers some solid advice on what we can do to ease the aging process. What is most beneficial is that it highlights the effects of those things that are under our control. This is important since the loss of control and independence is a prime source of angst amongst the aged.
Here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite (along with my own little comments):
- moderate drinking (good news indeed!)
- don’t smoke (duh!)
- stay physically active (just enough)
- keep the weight down (but not skinny!)
- altruistic behaviour (focus on others reduces unnecessary concern for oneself)
- continued education (the body may slow down but the mind can keep growing)
There is a great deal of evidence to back these facts. But the best way to assess information remains to read for yourself, think about your own living situation and whether making some of the changes suggested might ease the aging journey and make it just a little more pleasant.