Staying engaged in life
All of this squares with the experience of Claudia Landau, M.D., Ph.D., chief of geriatrics and palliative care at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif, and an associate clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.
Early in her career she remembers working with a group of World War I veterans, all over the age of 90. Asked to account for their longevity and relatively good health, they cited a common reason: a desire to learn and stay engaged with life. One of them had just started to study Japanese.
“When people feel more engaged and involved, they have more motivation to do other things that will keep them well,” Landau says. Those can include physical exercise, paying attention to their diet, and simply getting out of the house more.
You may already have a sense of purpose in life, but if not, retirement, and the flexibility it provides, offers a wealth of possibilities. And it might pay to pick several of them. In Landau’s experience, “people who develop multiple ways of engaging with the world do the best,” she says.