A happy old age


COVID-19 has been hard on the elderly – but it hasn’t devastated them.

In the May 4 issue of AARP The Magazine, the title of an article by Christina Ianzito says it all: “Older Adults Give Their Mental Health High Marks, Polls Find.”

She writes, “In many ways COVID-19 has been particularly hard on older adults, who are more vulnerable to complications from the virus. But when it comes to their mental health, the older they are, the better they’ve felt, according to recent surveys.”

Ianzito sites a newly released University of Michigan poll in which two in three adults ages 50-80, or 65%, rated their mental health as excellent or very good; 27% rated it as good; and 8% as fair or poor.

“More than 80 percent said their mental health is as good as, or better than, it was 20 years ago,” Ianzito wrote.

The article “Growing Old,” posted at Chabad.org and based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, states, “The Torah considers old age a virtue and a blessing. Throughout the Torah ‘old’ (zakein) is synonymous with ‘wise’; the Torah commands us to respect all elderly, regardless of their scholarship and piety, because the many trials and experiences that each additional year of life brings yield a wisdom which the most accomplished young prodigy cannot equal.

“It describes Abraham as one who  ‘grew old and came along in days’ (Genesis 24:1) – his accumulated days, each replete with learning and achievement, meant that with each passing day his worth increased. Thus, a ripe old age is regarded as one of the greatest blessings to be bestowed upon man.”

And having a happy old age is a win-win for all generations: as we age and gain wisdom, we can add more value to our world and society, and our knowledge and our experience can be passed down to influence the coming generations.

PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence. She is a recipient of the Providence Business News 2020 Leaders and Achievers award.