Aging vs. Growing Old: Betty White as a Role Model

A real standout this summer on TV – amidst all the youthful faces or wanna’ be’s botoxed, lifted, heavily made-up ones – has been Betty White on the new sitcom Hot in Cleveland. As Betty said in a recent episode, “I had to wait until I was 88 to learn I had game.” Paired with blind date Carl Reiner, also 88, the two personified the goal of aging without growing old.

How does she do it?

With the population of older adults growing, the percentage of adults over 65 is projected to grow from the current number of 12% to 19% of Americans in the next twenty years. Given this expected exponential growth, the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has compiled numerous reports providing the results of current research and suggestions for achieving healthy aging.

If you’re looking for some ideas about how to age without getting old, we’ve got some tips for you this week. Here are three to get you started – using Betty White as your role model:

Cultivate humor in you daily life. Enjoy some belly laughs, even if the joking is aimed at you. Be playful, have fun and do something silly for a change. If you don’t have friends with a good sense of humor, watch a comedy movie or TV show, read the newspaper “funnies,” get a book of jokes. The more pleasure you bring into your surroundings, the happier you will feel. You may even be increasing your lifespan and improving your health, indicates the National Institute on Aging.

Hang out with your peers. You’ll find, like Betty and Carl did, that you have lots of shared memories and can relate to the same music, references and events. Studies show that, even though it’s heartwarming to spend time with your adult children and grandchildren, active seniors sometimes prefer relating to others in their own cohort. To meet new friends with similar interests, contact your local university or community center for a schedule of their life-long learning opportunities.

Find the time to interact with younger friends too.
You’ll enjoy their different perspectives and the challenges they may open up to you. If you share the same interests and hobbies, the fact that you are from different generations is less important than what you can each contribute to one another. When Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live, she had fun, the show registered it’s highest ratings in years and it recharged her career.

And for some tips about how to increase you brainpower as you age, especially if you are a Sandwiched Boomer, visit our blog on Vibrant Nation. We’ve gots lots of good ideas there to help you keep your mind young an active.

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