Actively aging — it's going to be a busy week

How does your week look? Since retiring, my husband and I use that query to initiate a ritual in which we compare planned activities and our respective calendars. We do it during a game of Scrabble on Sunday evening or over Monday-morning coffee.

Aging brains have a lot of information to carry around, and it's easy to get distracted from a task. This sit-down-together moment ensures we show up for appointments on time and prompts us to commit to daily exercise.

It's going to be a busy week. My husband will, once again, host the AARP-sponsored Rogue Valley Community Cable Television show "Age Friendly Rogue Valley" (on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.). It took gentle arm-twisting before I agreed to be one of his guests. Hopefully, I won't use "honey" or "dear" when I respond to his questions.

On Wednesday, I will be in my second session of co-facilitating the "Living Well" (chronic disease self-management) series. Good group of participants — I learn from them and they learn from each other. The series uses an evidence-based Stanford University curriculum. If you're interested in learning more, check it out at or call 541-864-9611.

On Valentine's Day, I've agreed to offer an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute lecture to their membership titled "An Ounce of Prevention."

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That would be the Benjamin Franklin who struggled with obesity and gout throughout his middle-aged and later years. But then, he also lived to age 84 at a time when many people died decades earlier.

OLLI folks asked me to provide a lecture to members months ago, and I'm excited about sharing current research and from-the-heart information on aging well. These OLLI audiences are quite amazing — they push presenters to excel with their high expectations and excellent questions. (If you're interested in exploring membership, check out

As preparation for this presentation, I'm reading "A Short Guide to a Long Life" by Steven B. Agus, M.D. It's a practical book with a few unexpected ideas. Dr. Agus reminds us, "Be sure to ask mom or dad what killed Grandpa and Aunt Marge."

And there's a wonderful chapter in the book called "Get Naked."

Agus believes restorative sleep is significantly more important than nutrient-dense foods. His book has caused me to think more about my sleep needs before important events. For the week upcoming, perhaps I should put "8 p.m. bedtime" on my calendar.

It overwhelms me a little to review our upcoming week's activities. I am about to submit this column to my editor, and I can envision him rolling his eyes and remarking, "This column looks more like a community bulletin board."

So be it. Aging is better done actively. You might consider putting that phrase at the top of your own calendar.

Sharon Johnson is a retired Oregon State University associate professor emeritus. Reach her at

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