When asked her secret to longevity, one nonagenarian replied, "It's four easy words—never, never, never retire. Keep going, keep moving, keep thinking, keep living." Being involved in meaningful work is one of the best things you can do for successful brain and body aging, says Dr. Dennis Popeo. "It's 'medicine' in the best sense of the word. Working offers an older person the benefits of social engagement and purpose."
Working may also stave off cognitive decline, according to the National Institute on Aging. Their surveys show that retirees don't perform as well on cognitive tests as those who are still working, and global research supports this: in the United States and Denmark, where workers stay employed longer, people score highest on cognitive tests. So far, researchers can't pinpoint the aspect of "working" that benefits brain function, whether it's social interaction or the physical aspects of a job, but whatever the longevity secret of employment, it's working!
Even if you do choose or have to retire, it’s important to make an extra effort to stay intellectually engaged. Consider consulting part time or doing pro bono work. If you do wish to stay employed, bear in mind that finding your new role in the workforce can be challenging. AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, has taken up this crusade, working with large companies to promote the hiring of older workers. See www.aarp.org/work/job-hunting.
Working on a volunteer basis or as an intern are two ways to try on a new career for size. Ask to fill in for someone on maternity/paternity or sick leave; this is called locum tenens, Latin for "place holder," when someone temporarily fulfills the duties of another.
-Segue to a New Career
Re-careering may involve refining or renovating your skill set. Or you might try something completely different—an interest or a hobby that you want to focus on for this new phase of your life. One woman turned a lifelong love of birds into work as a wildlife rehabilitator. After taking classes and getting a state license to handle wildlife, she rescues ospreys and other raptors.
-Look for New Opportunities
Start with your own expertise, whether it's your vocation or avocation. If you've always loved art, for instance, channel that passion and knowledge into being a docent for a museum. If you had a career as a tradesman, ask home improvement centers if they are hiring people with your skill set. "Never before have so many people had so much knowledge and so much time to use it" is the belief of www.encore.org, a website that helps middle-aged and older adults transition into second careers that help the greater good. It maintains listings of resources that include programs, people, and preparation for a later-life career. Look for opportunities around you: ask to shadow someone who’s doing a job you’re interested in.
Revue de presse
"In my Foundation’s health initiatives—and in my own life—I’ve seen again and again how even small measures to improve your health can make a big difference. Living the Good Long Life is full of simple ideas that can be incorporated into daily routines to help you feel better and keep on doing what you love."
—President Bill Clinton
"For thirty years, Martha Stewart has carefully coached us on how to take care of our homes, our menus, our crafts. And now in Living the Good Long Life, she has brought her brilliant skills to the mission of helping us take care of ourselves. With sparkling prose, no-nonsense instruction, and, as always, oceans of wisdom, Martha implores readers not to recoil from their advancing years, but to embrace and celebrate them—with invaluable tips on keeping our diets healthy, our bodies pumping, and our outlook forever sunny. I just loved this book."
"In this lovely book, Martha Stewart shares her experience and wisdom about how best to care for yourself and others as you go through life. The pages are filled with practical tips and useful advice for aging gracefully. I recommend it."
—Andrew Weil, M.D.
"Living the Good Long Life is the latest in Martha Stewart's arsenal of masterful advice. She inspires you to nurture your body, emotions, and total life experience, focusing on the opportunities that comes into life with an its-never-too-late-to-take-action approach. Martha offers lessons in strength, grace, and a complete glimpse of how to get up and keep going with the best of taste!"
—Tracy Anderson, author of Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method
"Only Martha could have written the definitive book on looking after ourselves as we grow older. I have found the value of a daily practice that incorporates yoga and writing, two disciplines that help me balance my spiritual and physical life. I hope that through this book, you will find what works for you."
—Alexander Vreeland, Luxury Goods Executive, President of the Board of the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Greater NY