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Changing Your Mind About Aging

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Physical Therapy at Jackson Square Nursing Center

Dr. Bill Thomas thinks differently when it comes to aging, “In our society we’ve created an illusion that youth is perfect and that’s why we’ve come to believe something that’s not true: the idea that aging is decline. So I advocate for people to move away from that illusion of decline and embrace the idea of aging as perhaps the sweetest kind of human development.”

Dr. Thomas has dedicated his career to shifting traditional paradigms on aging, pushing older adults to change their mindset about growing older. The idea is simple: change the way you think about aging, change your life.

Tommie Marsh, who is proud of his greying hair, is living proof of this idea in action, “I love the grey that I have because it’s like a horse’s mane. When you see a horse’s mane you know they’ve ran good races. Don’t be ashamed of anything, your lines, your wrinkles.”

Dr. Thomas says, “This is not to deny aging. It’s real, it happens, it changes you. What I’m saying is…what does it mean? What does aging mean to you? Because the struggle is over the meaning and I’m advocating for disrupting the conventional wisdom.”

Ok, but how?? Dr. Thomas shared his top tips for changing the way you think about aging:

Don’t focus on Limitations.

Bill says: Older people who begin to focus on physical ailments or limitations actually wander down a pretty unhappy path.

Maintain Relationships.

Bill says: Aging is really a team sport, and it’s important that older people build and maintain a network of social relationships, because that’s where the strength is, and that’s where the joy is.

Embrace the Slower Pace.

Bill says:  Slowing down sounds bad, but it’s actually good. Aging offers you a chance to dive deep into your own self, your own interests, your passions, your loves, your dreams deferred.

Bridge the Generation Gap.

Bill says: Too often in America, older people are actually segregated and separated from the rest of society. That separation of elders is harmful to older people, but it’s much more harmful to school children and adolescents.We actually need them with us.

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