Erie County Stay Fitness Program

By Richard Derwald,
Senior Fitness/Wellness
Consultant Erie County

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I have met a few people who actually have a pre-set a number in their mind regarding the age they will start the final phase of their life known as old age. For some this number may be determined by a when they apply for Social Security. Some still believe that age is 62 the minimum age at which we are eligible to collect Social Security marks the beginning of old age for others it may be age 70 the maximum age at which we can claim Social Security benefits. Even today there are those who are calculating their onset of old age and longevity based on that of their parents. All of these “calculations” are completely without merit. Unfortunately, there are those who are actually functionally old at age 60 while conversely there are others who are not functionally, definably or truly old at age 90. WHY?

NOTE: Obviously there are premature aging and longevity factors such as physical or mental damage caused by genetics, injury or disease. BUT these are the exceptions. The question is -- within the majority or general population, what is the overriding reason for the disparity between those who seem to successfully age and those who do not‘?

I believe that real world knowledge gained by living, questioning, experiencing and observing the process of aging tops all classroom learning. Those who know me know that physical fitness is my lifelong fixation. Today at age 87 I am most certainly a senior and during the past 24 years as the coordinator of the Erie County Senior/Wellness Program I have had occasion to spend most of my time in senior centers and adult living complexes being engaged in daily conversations with the participants and residents in these facilities. Most often these conversations delt with their former careers, life events, likes and dislikes, diet and family. In effect I have conducted a 24-year study on aging and the how and why some seem to thrive well into their 90s and beyond while others fail to harvest this good fortune. I believe that my age and lifelong pursuit to attain strength, health and fitness combined with my 24-year study on aging now provide me with a true and accurate understanding of the foundation of successful aging. Beginning in January 2023 in every monthly issue of AFTER 50 MAGAZINE I will be sharing with you THE POSITIVE TRUTH ABOUT SUCCESSFUL AGING based on the knowledge I have acquired over these past 80 plus years.