For seniors, maintaining a “young” outlook on life–keeping an open mind, pursuing hobbies, fun and dates–depends on attitude, stress levels, physical health and relationships, said Richard Citrin, a psychologist at Iatreia Inc. in Ft. Worth.
“One of the factors is how you approach life,” Citrin said. “If you have an attitude that you’re not getting anywhere, that’s going to create a mind-set of powerlessness and frustration,” which in turn leads to rigid, or “old,” thinking.
Many years ago, Gege Parks promised herself to stay intellectually and physically active. “The day I do not learn any more, I die,” said Parks, a 73-year-old native Parisian who teaches French out of her Ft. Worth home and at a junior college.
Like the Mendozas, Parks and her husband socialize mainly with younger people. Her best friend is 48. They traveled to Europe together this summer.
Vera Coker took up running at age 68 and just recently retired her athletic shoes at age 80. “I don’t know how you’re supposed to feel at 80,” she said.
Attitude and activity–including Monday dances at the senior citizens center–fuel her fire. “If I die dancing out on the floor or unloading groceries at the center or running in a race, well, that’s OK,” she said.