"We are disturbed not by events but by the views we take of these events."
This quote by Roman philosopher Epictetus is one of Dr. Joseph Casciani's favorites - it sums up his mission to help older adults navigate hurdles that can come with getting older so that their aging journey is more enjoyable. He has spent the last several decades as a geropsychologist and manager of mental health practices. In 2018, he extended his professional interest in aging to his new venture, the Living to 100 Club, to help older adults rethink traditional stereotyped views about getting older so they can strive to overcome self-limiting beliefs.
Living to 100 Club
After shifting from clinical psychology, Dr. Casciani started sharing the insights he'd gained during his career in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and applying them to people who are living independently.
"A lot of it has to do with not only staying positive but helping with setbacks that come along because everybody's going to hit some potholes now and then. My focus these days is on tools you can adopt when you have those setbacks.
Whether that setback is temporary, such as a hip fracture, or something that's not going to get better, such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's, the setback has to be managed.
So my Living to 100 Club is all about the notion of living longer and setting some long-term goals. It's a destination, but really, more than that, it's a mindset. It's something that allows us to keep moving forward."
Getting rid of self-limiting stereotypes
Dr. Casciani has seen a significant shift in attitudes toward aging. When he started his career, there were stereotypes about aging: it's no fun, we're going to decline, we're going to become dependent, helpless, and frail.
But, in recent years, the outlook has been much more positive,
"We are no longer suffering from that ageist stereotype. Now there's a strong movement to view aging as a time of positive life experience. It's time to celebrate our aging and recognize our wisdom, confidence, experience, and tolerance."
He cites an important finding by the National Institute of Health in 2016,
"They published an article that talked about how long we live. And they calculated that our longevity is only due to our genes about 30% of the time. The other 70% is due to lifestyle. Longevity is due to lifestyle, and that's largely under our control."
He says there's a hunger among older adults to do more with their lives. They want to stay engaged, start second and third careers, have fun, and explore new opportunities.
In his upcoming sessions, Dr. Casciani will talk about the importance of looking at our thinking patterns and being careful not to go down negative roads by interpreting events as negative.
"I want to assure people that we have a lot of control over our views and our mindset.
I'll talk a little bit about depression and how to manage depression, like the importance of learning how to take our blinders off and see the whole picture, not just what's wrong.
I'll talk about getting out of our comfort zone and being able to try out new things, take new classes, learn a new language, or take up music.
It's all about getting away from that negative place to something really positive and uplifting about our future."
And attend his upcoming sessions, Looking at the Upside of Aging Well and Managing Setbacks beginning April 28.