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Third Third – Beliefs about Aging

Published On August 26, 2022

“I want to tell you about a fascinating new book I’m reading.” That’s how Mark Roberts, our friend at the De Pree Center’s Third Third Initiative began a recent article. I was hooked. As I read the article, I realized that Mark was talking about the same book Kim had been reading and quoting to me all that week. The book is Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and How Well you Live by Becca Levy, PhD.

Levy is a professor of public health and psychology at Yale University and her research on aging is fascinating. Commenting on research she did on folks in a small town in Ohio, Levy wrote… “I found out that the single most important factor in determining the longevity of these inhabitants—more important than gender, income, social background, loneliness, or functional health—was how people thought about and approached the idea of old age. Age beliefs, it turns out, can steal or add nearly eight years to your life.”

Filled with careful research and fascinating stories, Levy demonstrates that “many health problems formerly considered to be entirely due to the aging process, such as memory loss, hearing decline, and cardiovascular events, are instead influenced by negative age beliefs.” There are two appendices that are especially helpful –’ABC Method to Bolster Positive Age Beliefs’ and ‘Ammunition to Debunk Negative Age Stereotypes.’ I thought some of you might be interested in this book. It will be available in the church library in the near future.

Do you subscribe to the monthly email newsletter from the Third Third Initiative? It’s filled with articles, videos, blogs and book recommendations for thriving in the third third of life. Mark Roberts is in the midst of an excellent series called “Clarifying Your Purpose.” If you are unsure of your purpose in this third third season of life, I encourage you to check out this series. (BTW – Mark has just finished the revisions to the “Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Course” that we partnered with him to develop. We will be offering it on Sunday nights, Oct. 2–Nov. 6, in person and on Zoom. More details coming in September.)

Celebrating aging with you!

Steve McLean
Pastoral Fellow – Discipleship
(518) 791-6249

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