A new era for me

Kathy, Age 70

I read about this website in the book “70 things to do when you turn 70”, a birthday gift from my sister. A birthday card from another friend said “I’m sorry you’re birthday was ruined by a global pandemic. It sort of was ruined. I had a beach trip planned with my daughters and their families which was cancelled. A celebration trip with my sister was cancelled. Birthday lunches with friends were cancelled. A family party was cancelled. I did not handle my self-imposed quarantine well. I drank and ate too much and binge-watched endless tv series. My disabled son, who lives in a group home, was in lock-down, and I couldn’t take him out for lunch and a walk like we always did.
I was dreading turning 70 and it was worse than I could have imagined. I feel terribly old, especially since I let myself get in worse shape in quarantine than I already was. However, I got the biggest birthday present of my life, a house!
Having thought about it for a couple of years, my daughter and I, along with her husband, bought a house together that had an apartment for me on its lower level. We moved in 3 weeks ago and now I enjoy life with my precious 7 year old grandson, my 24 year old grandson, and dinner each night with all of us together. It’s a new era for me. I can relax about trying to maintain my living space or worrying about being alone if my health fails. Mostly, though I love being part of my family!
I feel loved and have people around me to love, life is good.
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Curiosity about the new normal ahead

Ann Fox, Age 70

Hello Jane & Ellen,

First let me say I hope you’re both doing fine wherever you may be hunkered down.  I’m in central Ohio and am doing fine . . . this is just a long time to go without spending much time with real people . . . 

On to my curiosity.  I read ’70 Candles’ a couple of years ago now as preparation for becoming 70 last fall.  I was very intrigued by the last section of the book, the story of Nina and her life in the future.  I’m wondering just how far into the future your vision of Nina’s life takes us.  (I haven’t read Michio’s book yet.)  I can’t help but think if we were moving ahead faster with the robot/android technology, the load for front line workers during this virus pandemic might have been lessoned.  

I’m really looking forward to what changes in life will stick with us after we’ve been distanced for so long and will likely be distanced from strangers for a while longer.   Now that we’ve learned to “like” the way we look on camera courtesy of Zoom and Skype and now even Facebook has a new conferencing capability, will we not feel the urge to go out as much?  Will we get dressed even less often – i.e. want to be able to stay at home in our comfy pants rather than even put on jeans to go out?  Will we bring the restaurant to our house and have friends over for take-out nights?   Here in Ohio the restaurants can deliver mixed drinks with your order.  

Anyway, I was just wondering if in your mind the story of Nina was a 2030 vision or a 2040 vision?

Make it a great day!

Ann Fox

Longevity Coach, Explorer & Guide


Aging is Living

Posted in Stories | 13 Comments

Hunkering down

What a strange development. All of us are at home….could be for weeks and weeks. Some will be ill, and some lives will be in danger. We send our thoughts and very best wishes to all, for your health.

Many hunkering down at home, while concerned about this pandemic and the people we love, will remain well. Oddly, this a great leveler for 70Candles women, as that which seems to differentiate us in ordinary times has to do with health status, mobility, and involvement in the world beyond our nests. What to do while we’re at home and not sick, to make the most of this new ocean of time?

Easy choices to start the day are the ever present meal prep, dishes and laundry routines. But what to follow? I thought I’d become restless, but lo and behold, a world of online options is opening daily. Beyond the TV movies I’ve always meant to see, are the newly emerging public streaming programs I can access on my iPad.

The Metropolitan Opera is streaming great performances nightly at Metopera.org. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is offering an outstanding concert each day at MyDSO.com. At Playbill.com Broadway shows can appear on my screen, My painting class, usually at a local Senior Center is converting to Skype, so we can work with our talented instructor from home, and my favorite exercise guru is setting up a private FaceBook group for a variety of video classes she’s creating. (I’m encouraging her to offer a set for women like us, so let me know if you’d be interested.)

The political activities I’ve been involved with during this important election year, can be advanced from home.

I promised myself I’d take a long walk each day, thinking that out in the fresh air is surely the safest place to be. And I speak on the phone to someone I like everyday.

It’s strange to be the old lady who needs help, but I do appreciate the neighbors and friends who have offered to shop for us when we need food. I’ve finally acknowledged that yes, I am in the vulnerable group of seniors who should stay out of stores.

How are you doing? Let us all know how you feel about this historical moment. How are you spending your time, and what are you thinking?

Maybe we can exchange ideas and offer some comfort to each other as we all travel through this almost unthinkable, world-wise disaster.

Posted in Stories | 18 Comments

I turned 70 in October and I am so unhappy.


My friends have died and my children wish I would die. I was a psychology Professor and retired 21 year ago. I live alone and can’t find things to do. School was my whole life but now they want younger people.

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Aging, Death and dying, Loneliness, Sad about aging, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments


Mary Ellen Age 70

I’m elated I’ve found this blog (or whatever they call it)! Hoping I will be able to participate and listen to all of our stories. Been searching (books, magazines, internet) for a long time as 70 was approaching. Exactly what I was hoping to find. Not so alone anymore.
Thank you!

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Aging, Attitudes about aging, Networking, Older women connecting | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Ellen’s Keys to Positive Aging

What have I learned about living well in old age? We all know about the importance of diet and exercise and good sleep habits, but this is my list:

(1) Name ageism when you see or hear it. Be aware of your own inner biases toward old people.

(2) It’s never too soon or too late to reach out to others and gather together. 

(3) Everyone wants to be an important part of something important. “Important” is a relative term. For one person it might be walking to the mailbox every morning, for someone else it might be writing one poem a day, or face-timing with a grandchild or great great-grandchild once a week, or becoming a political activist, or continuing in one’s job or career.  My recently retired husband says, at least for the moment, his purpose is designing his second childhood.

(4) Express Gratitude. Everyone benefits. Keep a gratitude journal, count your blessings every night as you fall asleep. 

(5) Find something to smile or laugh about every single day for the rest of your life.

(6) Cultivate optimism. When something bad happens, as it will, find hope. 

(7) Identify and celebrate your strengths. Use one of your top strengths in a new way every day. Or just notice when you’re using them.

Let us know what you think.

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Happy New Year- Welcome to 2020!

 A new year and a new decade ahead!

We, Jane and Ellen send all our best wishes to you, our 70Candles community.

We value your thoughts and all your wonderful contributions to this 70Candles.com blog.

Along with you, we benefit from the inspiration and wisdom on these pages.

We wish you health and pleasure in small wonders, and large. We hope for more peace and harmony in the world and here in the U.S.

Treasure each other, find beauty in each day, and remember, you’ve never been this age before. No telling what’s ahead. Make each day count.

On to 2020! What is your vision for the time head?


Jane and Ellen

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, Goals ahead, Inspiration as we age, Looking ahead, Stories | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Ellen on Positive Aging Part 4: Cultivate optimism

Cultivate Optimism (Hope)

“New evidence that optimists live longer”—The Harvard Gazette—August 30, 2019

After decades of research, a new study links optimism and prolonged life.

Researchers from Harvard, Boston University School of Medicine, and the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System, have found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer and to achieve “exceptional longevity,” that is, living to age 85 or older.

Optimism refers to a general expectation that good things will happen, or believing that the future will be favorable because we can control important outcomes. Whereas research has identified many risk factors that increase the likelihood of diseases and premature death, much less has been known about positive psychosocial factors that can promote healthy aging.

The study was based on 69,744 women and 1,429 men. Both groups completed survey measures to assess their level of optimism, as well as their overall health and health habits such as dietsmoking and alcohol use. Women were followed for 10 years, while the men were followed for 30 years. 

When individuals were compared based on their initial levels of optimism, the researchers found that the most optimistic men and women demonstrated, on average, an 11 to 15 percent longer lifespan, and had 50-70 percent greater odds of reaching 85 years old compared to the least optimistic groups. The results were maintained after accounting for age, demographic factors such as educational attainment, chronic diseases, depression and also health behaviors, such as alcohol use, exercise, diet and primary care visits.

I want now to learn how to cultivate optimism. Like so many other things, I’m sure there’s a biological predisposition to optimism or pessimism, but also a massive amount of opportunity to change negative habits and patterns. Scientists estimate that our genetic make-up accounts for about 25% of our well-being; the other 75% has to do with how we live our lives.

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Ellen on Positive Aging Part 3: Gather together

Gather Together—Social Connections

“There is no such thing as a happy hermit”(Chris Peterson).

Substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections are at risk for poor health and premature mortality. The risk associated with social isolation and loneliness is comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality, including those identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—including physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes, substance abuse, mental health problems, poor environmental quality, and lack of access to health care.

One article I read, published in Psychological Science in 2015 predicts that social isolation and loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless society recognizes the risks.

And what about those who have deep social connections and strong networks? One of many studies shows that “SuperAgers” in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, with such connections, have cognitive or physical function equal to that of people decades younger.

Researchers from a Northwestern University group recognized some time ago that that cognitive SuperAgers have distinctive brain features: thicker cortexes, a resistance to age-related atrophy, and a larger left anterior cingulate (a part of the brain important to attention and working memory).

But brain structure alone doesn’t fully account for SuperAgers’ unusual mental acuity. For their new study, the researchers asked 31 SuperAgers and 19 cognitively “normal” older adults to fill out a 42-item questionnaire about their psychological well-being. The SuperAgers stood out in one area: the degree to which they reported having satisfying, warm, trusting relationships. (In other areas, such as having a purpose in life or retaining autonomy, they were much like their “normal” peers.) This finding is consistent with other research linking positive relationships to a reduced risk of cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia.

Loneliness and isolation are health epidemics.

Gather Together— with age-mates, friends and family, and across-generations. Share stories and hugs—avoid Social Isolation, even (maybe especially) if you tend to be an introvert. Embrace those “organ recitals.” Share, share, share.

Posted in 70candles, 70Candles! Gatherings - the experience, Networking, Older women connecting | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Ellen on Positive Aging Part 2: About ageism

I have recently been trying to develop something akin to guidelines for positive aging. This is a work in progress. There are, so far, three items on this list, with new and exciting research to demonstrate their importance. 

LET’S END AGEISM and negative stereotypes

In spite of the repugnance of ageist stereotypes, we are not likely to have escaped their clutches. This is no small matter. Ageism is everywhere, and it is not good for our health or happiness or longevity

There are serious consequences, as we reported in our 70Candles! book:

Many institutions won’t hire anyone over 55, for fear we won’t be in tune with the younger generation or with the newest technology.

“I’m in a business where I know I wouldn’t have been hired if I admitted my age.”

 “I feel invisible in a crowd of younger people, and when I do get repeated attention, and think I’m being admired, it turns out I remind that young person of a grandma or favorite aunt!”

We hear terms of endearment from receptionists, and on the phone, like “dear,” “sweetie,” “honey,” that we use to address our young grandchildren or our pets.

When someone says something like “she’s 70 years young” they think they are being cute and flattering.  I want to scream, “70 is old!  And that’s okay!”

Social change is needed to educate about and eliminate ageism, particularly now as the population ages and the baby-boomers now reach their senior years.  

And, by the way, there is a significant negative impact on one’s health, life-satisfaction, and actual longevity, if even as children we have negative views of old people. 

The first response by many, to the thought of a 70-year-old and older woman, as supported by the preponderance of current literature, is failing mental and physical functioning.  When I began my literature review for my thesis, I typed “70 year-old women” into Google Scholar.  Nine entries fit onto page one, and titles included “Balance training in 70-year-old women,” “Periodontal conditions in 70-year-old women with osteoporosis,” Epidemiology of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures,” “Cost effectiveness of treatment to lower cholesterol levels in patients with coronary heart disease,” and so on. My husband suggested I call my thesis “Look at All the Pills on Granny’s Night Stand.”

Then this summer, for the first time, I typed “70 year-old men” into Google Scholar, and the first three articles that popped up were “Sperm output of older men,” “Fertility and the Aging Male,” and “Erectile Dysfunction in the Elderly.”

Becca Levy, a professor of psychology at Yale found that “Children as young as 3 or 4 have already taken in the age stereotypes of their culture.” “These age stereotypes are communicated to children through many sources, ranging from stories to social media. Individuals of all ages can benefit from bolstering their positive images of aging.”

She found that older adults with positive beliefs about old age were less likely to develop dementia, including those who are genetically disposed.

Levy explains, “We know . . . that exposing older individuals to negative age stereotypes exacerbates stress, whereas exposing them to positive age stereotypes can act as a buffer against experiencing stress.” 

In fact, the results of her research make the case “for implementing a public health campaign against ageism and negative age beliefs.” Even “individuals in their 80s and 90s can strengthen their positive images of aging.”

Finally, a physician has written about ageism in hospitals. “Over the years, I’ve become more and more aware of ageism in health care — a bias against full treatment options for older patients. Assumptions about lower capabilities, cognitive status and sedentary lifestyle are all too common. There is a kind of ‘senior profiling’ that occurs among hospital staff, and this regularly leads to misdiagnoses and inappropriate medical care.”

In other studies it’s been demonstrated that all too often negative attitudes about aging arise from anxiety over impending changes in physical ability and appearance, or worries about loneliness, or boredom. However, many studies of older adults debunk these perceptions. Older adults can and do live enriching and very active lives — so these perceptions aren’t rooted entirely in reality.

The bottom line for me is that we have a unique opportunity, now, to redirect the discourse about aging so it includes the positive aspects of old age. Our health and well-being depend on it.

Let’s do whatever we can to end Ageism. Hear Something, Say Something…TELL YOUR AGE!

Posted in 70candles, Ageism anecdotes, Aging, Attitudes about aging, Men aging, Stories | Tagged , , | 8 Comments