Life after 65 really can be the best

By David Cravitt and Larry Wolf

Let’s consider the phrase itself: “The best years of your life.” It sounds nice, but are they really?

Not in the past. Life after 65 was (a) short and (b) often painful. You didn’t have much time left – maybe 10 to 12 years or so – and the best you could hope for was to be relatively free from illness and pain and debilitating decline. “Best years of your life,” indeed.

But today, a 65-year-old can reasonably aspire to another 20 or 30 years – maybe more. In fact, the fastest-growing age group, in percentage terms, is the centenarian.

Welcome to the Super Aging revolution.

We didn’t coin the term, but we’ve embraced it as the perfect way to describe the new reality: Now you have plenty of time to make new plans, learn new things, explore, achieve, be fulfilled in exciting new ways.

You can get older without getting old. Okay, but how?

We came at this from a layman’s point of view, from the perspective of people who are actually doing the aging. We surveyed the current wisdom, talked to the experts, and tried to act as our readers’ eyes and ears, navigating the crowded and often confusing information landscape to arrive at a concrete, actional blueprint for making Super Aging a reality. We identified seven key pillars:


People with a positive attitude live longer. But it goes beyond just a vague, feel-good notion of optimism in general. It’s anchored to a concrete vision of what you want to do. Can you make yourself optimistic? Can you create such a vision? Yes.


When it comes to longevity, so many new things are happening so quickly that there’s a lot more to know and a lot more to keep up with. Super Agers are active seekers and consumers of information on topics from health to finance to tech to “reinvention.” This requires a systematic approach.


This applies to diet and fitness (including brain health). You have to be a proactive manager of your own health and wellness. In particular, there area some important new methods and ideas to know about.


It may be a refusal to retire “on schedule” at 65; it may be semi-retirement; it may be coming back out of retirement, or having a side gig, or staying active through volunteer work. The Super Aging years can, and should, be years of achievement. Did you know there are coaches that can help?


Super Agers want to be independent, and a sense of independence definitely contributes to duration and quality of life. Autonomy includes physical independence (aging in place) and financial independence (a challenging issue since you’ll need funds to cover a much longer lifespan).


Research demonstrates conclusively that isolation and loneliness exert a seriously harmful effect on health. While everone wants to maintain strong existing relationships, Super Agers are more likely to reach out for more – for example, to go beyond their immediate networks and create digital connections.


Negative influences must be resisted. These include frauds and scams, ageism in the marketplace, and obsolete advisors (possibly even your doctor) who, with the best intentions, don’t understand the new realities of Super Aging.

Can you be a SuperAger? It’s more possible than ever before. Through our book and its companion website,, hopefully we can help.

David Cravit and Larry Wolf are co-authors of “Superaging: Getting Older Without Getting Old.” They work in the media and marketing industries.

’Tis the season to turn your home into a candy cane kingdom, gingerbread castle, or winter wonderland — with or without the snow.

With the holiday season upon us, LawnStarter just released its 2023 Holiday Decor Trends report. They surveyed U.S. adults about their plans for decking the halls (and yard), including holiday budgets and Christmas tree preferences.

Here are some key stats from the survey results, along with demographic insights such as age, income, and gender:
Christmas (88.3 percent) is the most popular winter holiday for celebrants this year, followed by New Year (65 percent ) and Winter Solstice (19 percent). The living room (71 percent) is the most popular area of the home to decorate for the holidays, followed by the home exterior (65 percent) and front yard (54 percent). 36 percent of respondents say it’s too early to start decorating before Halloween — yet 17 percent admit to doing so. When decorating for the holidays, 37 percent of respondents pick out their Christmas tree at a local tree farm, while 25 percent opt to order it online.   
Demographics: Women are nearly twice as likely as men to air their grievances on Dec. 23 for Festivus. Adults between 25 and 34 are most likely to splurge on decorations, with 9 percent budgeting over $500. Among those aged 55 to 64, wreaths are over five times more popular than outdoor displays like inflatable snowmen or carved wooden characters. Among all groups, Democrats are the most likely at nearly 55 percent to prefer artificial trees. 20 percent of respondents aged 55 to 64 have an artificial tree that is older than 10 years old.
The support that family caregivers need

By Marguerite Ro

More than 48 million Americans, including 820,000 here in Washington state are family caregivers. It is one of the most important jobs we will ever do, and one of the most difficult. Family caregivers help their older parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently – managing medications, preparing meals, helping with bathing and dressing and so much more.    

These individuals are the backbone of our long-term care system. Washington’s dedicated family caregivers provide 770-million hours of care every year, adding up to $16.8 billion in unpaid labor per year, saving Washington taxpayers billions. The physical, financial and emotional toll on them is great. Many family caregivers work full or part-time at paying jobs, and many cut back their hours or quit their jobs entirely to make sure their loved one gets the care they need.

November is Family Caregivers Month. Family caregivers deserve our recognition, but simply saying thank you is not enough. That’s why AARP is advocating for commonsense solutions to save caregivers time and money and provide more support.

If you’re new to family caregiving, we encourage you to check out AARP’s “10 Tips for Family Caregivers,” which provides advice and resources from experts and fellow caregivers. Among the most important:

Don’t go it alone. Being a family caregiver can be exhausting and intense; look to fellow caregivers for support.

Build a support network. Enlist family, friends and community members to assist with caregiving tasks; don’t be shy about asking for help and accepting assistance.

Make a budget. Family caregiving expenses can quickly deplete your savings if you’re not careful; create a financial plan and stick with it.

Get paperwork organized. Organizing medical information and legal documents provides peace of mind, and it’s a real time-saver when you need that info on a moment’s notice.

Know your limits. Although it isn’t easy, sometimes being a family caregiver means knowing when it is time to seek professional help to care for your loved one. 

For far too long, family caregivers have gone unnoticed by many lawmakers. That’s why AARP is launching I Am a Caregiver, a nationwide movement to support family caregivers and the loved ones they care for. We’re tapping into the power of family caregivers to urge elected officials to pay attention to this important constituency. But we need your help. To find out how you can raise your hand and join in the effort, visit 

Marguerite Ro is AARP Washington’s state director.

Make room for family


By Christina Clem

AARP surveys consistently find that older adults want to remain in their current homes and communities for as long as possible. There are some new developments at the community level that will help provide additional housing choices for older adults, and recommendations for how to make any home safer for us and our loved ones. 

This past state legislative session, new housing bills were passed that will open the market to new housing options that have been difficult to find in the past.  Legislation to reduce barriers to building accessory dwelling units (ADU) or “mother-in-law” spaces, gives homeowners the ability to adapt their property to meet their current and future needs.  ADUs can fill many roles, like providing a place for an aging parent to live instead of a nursing home. They can also be used as living quarters for a caregiver or a relative who requires care, or for an adult child who may need to return home after college. ADUs can also provide a steady income stream for homeowners on a fixed income.

In addition to easing the path to ADU construction, new “Missing Middle” legislation will allow for smaller housing units and multi-family housing, like duplexes, fourplexes, and cottage courts.  These more modest-size homes can be tucked into existing neighborhoods and provide more options for folks, including empty-nesters and older adults who want to downsize and stay in their community. Creating more affordable housing for low-income and moderate-income levels is critical to achieving the state’s housing goals. This may also help family members who would like to live closer to loved ones who would benefit from having support nearby.

Most houses and apartments aren’t designed to meet the physical changes that occur as we age and are generally not designed for people with disabilities. But there are plenty of tips to make them safer. Adapting a home for aging involves making modifications and adjustments to accommodate the changing needs of elderly individuals. AARP has a program called HomeFit, which includes a room-to-room guide with more than 100 tips and suggestions to make a home more livable for the long run. It includes several no-cost to low-cost ideas, along with projects that will require a handyman or contractor. Here is a list of modifications that are doable regardless of housing type (single-family house, apartment, mobile home, etc.) or ownership status (owner, renter). 

  • Eliminate tripping hazards. Secure rugs and carpets to the floor or remove them altogether to prevent tripping. Keep the floor clutter-free and cords out of the way. 
  • Lever-style door handles. Replace doorknobs with lever-style handles, which are easier to use for individuals with limited hand strength or dexterity.
  • Bathroom modifications. Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bathtub to prevent slips and falls. Place non-slip mats inside the bathtub or shower to prevent slipping while bathing.
  • Proper lighting. Improve lighting throughout the home to reduce tripping hazards. Use brighter bulbs, add task lighting, and consider motion-sensor lights in key areas.

You can learn more about housing options for caregivers and other tips to aid in your caregiving at

Christina Clem is a communications analyst for AARP Washington.