February 22nd, 2011 at 4:43 am
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‘Over 90 and Loving It’ glorious look at aging well

by Carol Bursack

Much of what we read in the news is about how to care for our aging elders, many of whom are living their last years sadly diminished.

However, there are remarkable exceptions. Our culture tends to ignore the fact that many people do age well and remain productive citizens until the end. A PBS documentary that will air early March, titled “Over 90 and Loving it,” shows people living lives of a quality that flies in the face of the stereotype.

This uplifting film stars seniors who love life. They’ve beaten the odds inherent in the aging process, living their last decades with vibrancy and passion.

One of my favorite examples is a couple, Ernest and Annell Rogers. Their romance began after both had passed the age of 90, though they’d known each other as friends for over 60 years. This loving couple had a church wedding when Ernest was 93 and Annell was 91.

Producer Susan Polis-Schutz says, “Like Peter Pan, these are people who made a point of forgetting to become old…”

The press release for “Over 90″ states that, “Ten distinctive characteristics are revealed that are common denominators for people who are doing much more than merely aging gracefully. They lead authentically, fulfilling lives by breaking barriers and extending themselves in new adventures and challenges.”

Polis-Shutz says these folks are, “…driven by a passion…All are mindful of taking care of themselves, but also love, care about and sacrifice for other people as well.”

When reading Polis-Shutz’ words, my sons’ Great Uncle Bill, who recently died a day after his 95th birthday, comes to mind. Here was a man who lived his life to serve others; one who believed in the good of others and spent his life volunteering to help those less fortunate. He also kept his mind active by researching and writing about the history of railroads, a life-long hobby. I believe these aspects of his personality kept him mentally sharp. The last time I saw him he was nearly 94, and his kind, sparkling blue eyes were as keen as they’d ever been.

Like Great Uncle Bill, the people you’ll see on the PBS special are shining examples of healthy aging. They are examples of how people can really live life in their elder years, rather than just existing until they die. Loving, learning, and serving others are some of the keys to living life to the fullest. “Over 90″ spotlights these attributes.

Ernest and Annell, and all the other people featured in “Over 90,” are joyfully living their lives not in denial of aging, but without focusing on it. The documentary is a remarkable piece of work that can remind all of us that some people do age well into their 90s and beyond. To get your own DVD, go to http://www.ironzeal.com.

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