Happy to 102 is written by a highly qualified team specializing in geriatrics, senior care and psychology. While it’s a perfect gift for the centenarians in your life, its added benefit is the wake-up call to all of us, both about caring for seniors and becoming the best senior we can be.
As each generation lives longer, the quality of those extra years requires good health. Without it, we lose our ability to care for ourselves and, thus, our independence.
The authors pose an interesting question in Happy to 102.
At age 70, if you knew you would live to 102, what would you do differently?
Believe me, if I knew age 70 still left me with 30 percent more life to live, I would do as the authors state: concentrate on personal health and safety.
This book offers the opportunity for a frank discussion about the dichotomy between the value seniors place on their savings, as compared to the value they place on themselves. Perhaps people now in their senior years have been too focused on living frugally in order to leave a legacy to their children. While most parents want the best for their children, we need to do the same for our parents. When it comes to senior care, a family’s decision to find the least expensive care is the opposite of what our parents did for us all their lives; they gave us the best care, education, housing and opportunities for a rich life.
The concept of a structure to plan for care of seniors wasn’t necessary a generation ago, when friends and family were nearby, with vibrant communities, public transportation, and shops. Yet, aging isn’t the only determinant of our need for a society that is willing to support its people. There are similar needs for households with two working parents, or a single parent who needs our help.
So the authors advise: “Independent living does not necessarily mean doing everything yourself: It means being in control of how and when things are done. From birth to old age, we live and thrive in interdependent communities; there is no justifiable reason for modifying our lifestyle drastically just because we require some personal assistance in our later years. Make a Declaration of Interdependence for yourself and for the seniors in your life."