Bodymind Pearls for Aging

Have you ever attended a conference that gave you hope for our collective future? I attended one last week — the American Society on Aging (ASA) in Atlanta. I was pleased with my presentation, “What Part of Your Bodymind is Retired? What Part of Your Bodymind Says, ‘Never?’” I was thrilled to meet many people dedicated to affirming a positive life for older adults.

Here are some conference take-aways.

Gerontologist and psychologist Ken Dychtwald (author of 18 books) —

  • In the “olden” days people did not retire; they just died. Consider that many individuals only lived to age 18. [Many babies and youngsters did not live that long.]
  • We simply are not prepared to have people live really long lives. No one teaches about saving for retirement.
  • We need to match brainspans to lifespans. We need “guides.” You can be a “guide.”
  • The biggest aspect of ageism today is to not ASK anything from this growing population. Young people are planting trees to save the planet. There are a billion people over 60; why not get them to plant trees?
  • Loneliness increases the risk of dementia.

Jessica Frederickson, Brain Health program manager for Goodwin House Inc. (Alexandria, VA)

  • The Stronger Memory program consists of 3 activities to be completed for 30 minutes, 5 days of the week. Early research from George Mason University finds improved memory for those with mild cognitive decline.
  • Strengthen your own memory! Here is the prescription: Spend 10 minutes reading aloud any material of your choosing. Read to yourself, your partner, or pet. Set a timer.
  • Take 10 minutes to work quickly on simple math exercises. NO worries about getting the right answers! We are talking about basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division problems. Buy an elementary school math workbook or download a free copy of the Stronger Memory Workbook.
  • Write by hand for 10 minutes. You can use the writing prompts suggested in the program workbook [or start writing your memoir]. NO worries about spelling or grammar! After writing, read your essay out loud.
  • The entire free curriculum can be downloaded on Goodwin House’s website: 

Neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, interviewed by an AARP representative, Sarah Lock

  • Grow new brain cells! Growth happens at ANY age!
  • We use 10% of our brain 90% of the time! You have to do things in different ways. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Variety is key.
  • Eat right. Sugar is bad for you. The brain blood vessels just turn off. You are over-stuffing your body and starving your brain.
  • You release cortisol when you exercise hard core; moderate exercise [like brisk walking] is better for the brain.
  • Movement is key to brain health; when you move, you send the signal, “I’m living!”

You can bloom at ANY age. Read this blog aloud!

Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz

173. What can you do TODAY to use more than 10% of your brain?

174. What diet will you choose TODAY?             

By Janis Johnston

Janis Clark Johnston, Ed.D., has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She has worked with children, families, and groups (ages 3-83) with presenting issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and relationship concerns. She initially worked as a school psychologist in public schools and was awarded School Psychology Practitioner of the Year for Region 1 in Illinois for her innovative work. She was a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee-assistance therapist and a trainer for agencies prior to having a family therapy private practice. Recipient of the 2011 Founder’s Award for her dedication to the parenting education of Parenthesis Family Center (now called New Moms), and the 2002 Community Spirit Award from Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center, Johnston is an active participant in numerous volunteer activities supporting children and families in her community. A frequent presenter at national psychology and educational conferences, Johnston has published journal articles, book chapters, and two books -- It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development (2013, hardback; 2019, paperback) and Midlife Maze: A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery after Loss (2017, hardback; 2019, paperback). In addition to augmenting and supporting personal growth in families, Johnston is a Master Gardener and loves nurturing growth in the plants in her yard.


  1. Strong wisdom dear Jan!

    Many thanks for todays words, similar thoughts to help heal my brain!

    Trust you are well…our family will celebrate many of us on Sunday, gifts!

    Hugs til sometime…🤗💕MR

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. LOVE LOVE the blog entry today, Jan. So much practical advice that I will start using today!!! Thank you. Stephanie What about your presentation? A link?


    1. Wonderful blog which I missed last week! So many wonderful ways for those of us in our 70’s and 80’s to keep involved! Thanks Jan!


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