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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Beyond Work #2 Physical Aging

         I hope that you found something interesting in step #1 of Beyond Work. The second step deals with physical aging. In the first paragraph of this section Dr. Bill Roiter asks the following question. “After all, once you get past 60, isn’t aging all about deterioration, the inextricable slide into disability and dependency?” This question sets the stage for further discussion.  He goes on to say that …”new adults (this is the title he suggests that will help us become more realistic about our aging process) are healthier than we believe we are; we are just not as robust as we once were.”
         The next thing he suggests we distinguish between “aging” and “old age.” Aging can be thought of in two ways. In reality it is “…the simple count of years from date of birth that cannot be changed by our “health status.”  A better way to frame changes in health status is by using the term senescence which is “…a highly variable assessment of your health status including our functional abilities, which can vary widely due to your health status.”
         He then asserts that we can improve our health by managing our expectations. Three ‘rules” are suggested. First “Don’t “look back.” “Respect who you are today and don’t long for the person you were 20 years ago.” “Rule number two is ‘Look ahead’ Aging is scary when you are ignorant of the future. Learn about the future and you will reduce your fears.” Finally rule number three is “Get past negative assumptions. Expecting that things will get worse can actually make them worse.
         Next is a section discussing the meaning of subjective well-being, which is defined as “how people evaluate their lives.”  This is because “subjective well being is defined as your internal experience.”
         I will end this blog entry showing you how Dr. Roiter describes subjective well-being.[i] The material is expressed as: Measuring Subjective Well-Being” Satisfaction with Life-scale

Using the 1-7 scale below, indicate your level of agreement of the five items by placing the appropriate number on the line preceding that item. 
7 Strongly agree
6 Agree
5 Slightly agree
4. Neither agree nor disagree
3. Slightly disagree
2 Disagree
1. Strongly disagree

1.____ In most ways my life is close to my ideal
2.____ The conditions of my life are excellent
3.____ I am satisfied with my life.
4.____ So far, I have gotten the important things I want in life
5.____ If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Total your scores and compare your score to this subjective well-being scoring template,

31-35   Extremely satisfied          15-19   Slightly dissatisfied
26-30   Satisfied                           10-14   Dissatisfied
21-25   Slightly satisfied                5-9     Extremely dissatisfied
20        Neutral

Near the end of this section, he recommends that if you are not happy with score you should take your results to a trusted personal advisor.  Let me know if this blog entry is helpful to you.

[i]  Source: Diener, Suh, and Oshi, “Recent Findings on Subjective Well-being

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