6/25/2012 – Unafraid of Aging

The signal public health achievement of the 20th century was the increase of the human life span. Now, as that achievement helps raise the proportion of the aged around the world, what once seemed an unalloyed blessing is too often regarded as a burden — a financial burden, a health care burden, even a social burden.

“It’s nuts,” said Dr. Linda P. Fried, an epidemiologist and geriatrician who is dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. “To assume defeat from what every one of us as individuals wants suggests we’re not asking the right questions.”

Read the full article at The New York Times.

6/4/2012 – It's time to rethink retirement

When Social Security was created in 1937, the average American lived to age 60. Since then, medical advances have added decades to life expectancy. Most 55-year-olds today will see their 82nd birthday.

Problem is, we haven’t adjusted the way we work, the way we save, or the structure of our public programs to support these extra years, says psychologist Laura Carstensen, head of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity and one of the nation’s top researchers on aging.

Read the full article at CNN.

4/10/2012 – Why Learning Leads to Happiness

Your mind may be the closest thing to the Holy Grail of longevity and happiness. Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.

Read the full article at U.S. News and World Report

3/20/2012 – Aging Myths: 5 Big Misconceptions About Growing Older

The longevity revolution is well underway, and everything we’ve thought about aging is up for grabs as we live and work longer than any other generation in human history. Many great minds are committed to redefining aging and retirement models that embrace this new reality. One of them is Laura Carstensen. Carstensen has been on the forefront of research on aging for nearly 30 years. She’s a professor of psychology at Stanford University, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, the author of several books and recipient of numerous distinguished awards.

The following five biggest myths about aging are based on her book, A Long Bright Future.

Read the full article at Huffington Post

3/19/2012 – It's Enough To Make A Unicorn Blush: Our Problem With Talking About Sex

“Not long ago I wrote a blog called “Sex, Love, and Unicorns,” describing the ambivalence I was encountering when I talked about sex among us older folk. Everyone seemed to be embarrassed by the topic. When I called my friend Laura Carstensen, who runs the Stanford Center on Longevity, she was intrigued. The thing is, she mused, sex performed by aging bodies is as taboo a subject as aging itself — even among those who study our behavior. ”

Read the full article at Huffington Post

3/8/2012 – Aging And Happiness: Why People May Be Happier As They Age

“Every age has its happiness and troubles,” famous French uber-centenarian Jeanne Calment once said. And every age, quite literally, looks at happiness and troubles in different ways. For that nugget of wisdom, we can tip our hats to Derek Isaacowitz.

In the early 90s, Isaacowitz worked as a research assistant to Laura Carstensen while pursuing undergraduate studies at Stanford University. Carstensen is a renowned field expert in the study of aging who’s forged significant new ground in the link between aging and happiness.

Read the full article at Huffington Post

2/17/2012 – Look for new roles for older citizens in an aging America, says Stanford's Laura Carstensen

The country’s percentage of older people is rising rapidly. But that’s not just a problem, says Laura Carstensen, an expert on aging, it’s also a chance to improve transportation, redesign the suburbs and gain from the talents and experience of our elders.

Read the full article at Stanford News

1/29/2012 – It’s Not Me, It’s You

Psychologists consider it an inevitable life stage, a point where people achieve enough maturity and self-awareness to know who they are and what they want out of their remaining years, and have a degree of clarity about which friends deserve full attention and which are a drain. It is time, in other words, to shed people they collected in their youth, when they were still trying on friends for size.

Read the full article at The New York Times

1/1/2012 – The Resolution of a Lifetime

Assuming you are a typical American, you are about 2 inches taller than your great-grandparents were at the same age even though you are genetically no heartier than your ancestors were 10,000 years ago. You are stronger, healthier, smarter and living an average of 30 years longer than Americans were at the turn of the last century. That’s because scientists, educators and activists in the 20th century changed culture, the crucible that holds science, technology and large-scale changes in behavior. We are living longer because the food supply is steady and debilitating diseases are prevented before they ever occur. Improved sanitation reduces the spread of contagious diseases, and education is available to all school-age children. Information flows ubiquitously from written and electronic sources.

Read the full op-ed at AARP

11/29/2011 – Working Into Your 70s: A Smart Retirement Move

“As people get older, they care more about how they’re spending their time, and their motivation changes,” says Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Read the full article at U.S. News and World Report