About Enlightened Aging

Dr. Eric B. Larson’s book Enlightened Aging is filled with practical advice based on his decades of his work as a research scientist and physician. That experience revealed one quality that’s consistent among those who age well and happily: resilience — the capacity to adapt and grow stronger in the face of adversity, to stay healthy or bounce back from illness and other challenges. His book describes three interrelated steps on a PATH to resilience:

1. Pro-activity, which means taking charge of your own health and happiness by preventing illness and managing chronic conditions that may develop. It also means learning to be a partner with your health care providers, sharing important decisions, and getting care that’s just right for you — i.e., not too little and not too much.

2. Acceptance, which means knowing change will come with age, an approach that allows you to anticipate the future with equanimity and mindfulness — in large part by understanding your own values. Research has shown that we generally seek more meaning, fulfillment, and purpose in our lives as we grow older. We want stronger relationships with friends and family. Many of us want to keep contributing to the world through work, volunteerism, and hobbies. And most of us want to stay as independent as possible. As many patients have told me, we don’t want “to be a burden to others” in old age. Being open and realistic about the changes that aging brings will help you to keep such values in mind as you plan for the times ahead.

3. Three reservoirs, which is about building reserves of well-being in three ways — mentally, physically, and socially — for the long, fulfilling road ahead.

His book explores how our attitudes of activation and acceptance can change the way we approach not only aging — but death itself. By taking an enlightened approach, we may come to a place where we can relax and grow very old knowing we are safe, comfortable, and well cared for — an ideal Dr. Larson has seen many of his patients, research subjects, family, and friends experience near the end of life.

Filled with inspiring personal stories and up-to-date medical advice, Enlightened Aging helps readers determine what their own paths can look like given their own experiences and circumstances. While especially relevant to the baby boom generation, this work is really for people of all ages looking for encouragement and wise counsel in order to live a long, active life.

For more information about the book, email joandeclaire@comcast.net.