For those who are senior, perhaps more than 60 years of age, John Murphy and Frederic M. Hudson identify 10 characteristics of successful elders in their book The Joy of Old: A Guide to Successful Elderhood:
1. Seeing time as life
- Successful elders consider time as a precious gift and common activities as enjoyable: e.g. walk in a garden, sunset, talk with a friend.
2. Being present
- Successful elders live in the here-and-now, with awareness, moment by moment.
3. Engaged in living
- Successful elders make new connections, pursuing their interests and values of highest priority: health, family, friends, community.
4. Expressing mature adaptability.
- Successful elders adapt to a broader world with integrity, expressing their strong individuality, central values and beliefs.
5. Feeling free
- Successful elders learn to live by their internal guides and set their own priorities and schedules. They find joy in the process of daily living, being who they are.
6. Being candid
- Successful elders are clear, frank and direct about things they care about. They say what we think, moving beyond pretense.
7. Being generalists
- Successful elders think in terms of unity, moving beyond self to include family, culture, community and all humanity.
8. Expressing essence
- Successful elders express their essence in words and in action, with integrity, eliminating out what is nonessential.
9. Finding peace
- Successful elders find peace in the world they live in.
10. Practicing humour
- Successful elders stop taking themselves too seriously and practice their sense of humour, finding the funny things in life.
Prepared by Wally Lazaruk, November 2019