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Monday, June 21, 2010

Human Development and Aging

Our attitudes about longevity and aging mirror the conflicting montage of beliefs and ideas we have about the subject. This is wonderful, isn't it? Aging in the modern world is not just one thing or way of being it is many practices. There is no "right" way to age! But, perhaps there is one theme that will allow us to think about the aging process differently....Developmental Aging.

Developmental Aging, as geriatric physician William Thomas says, is the concept that allows us to see the aging process and old age specifically as part of the "ongoing miracle of human development". The fetus becomes the newborn, the infant becomes the girl, the girl becomes the mother, the mother becomes the grandmother, the grandmother becomes the elder in her community.

Each stage of life requires a different set of skills, knowledge and way of being. The question is are we willing to acknowledge this set of acquired attributes in old age as worthy and positive or are we going to be stuck with the view that aging is a disease and must be thwarted at every turn.

If we fully engage in our own intentional aging process we gain clearer insight, acceptance and respect for the human condition. Isn't that what we all secretly want!

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