The Art of Aging: What Everyone Should Know About Getting Older
Brian Carpenter / Washington University in St. Louis
No matter how old you are, you’re aging. You started aging from the moment you were born, and you’ll continue aging until the moment you die. That’s the brutal, universal fact. But people age differently, as you’ve noticed if you’ve looked around and compared yourself to your peers. Are you aging better than they are? Worse than they are? In what ways and for what reasons?
In this expanded intensive class we’ll review what biological, psychological, and social research has taught us about growing older. Along the way, we’ll discuss what’s common with aging (everybody shrinks a little), what’s not normal (Alzheimer’s is a disease not everyone gets), and key components of successful aging (friends and family are important, but perhaps in different ways). The trajectory of aging gets shaped very early in life, but there are powerful forces that guide it along the way, and steps you can take to maximize your later years.
Brian Carpenter is a professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. His primary research interests focus on relationships among older adults, their family members, and their health care providers. In particular, he studies communication among those three parties, with an eye toward developing interventions to improve knowledge and enhance health literacy. Dr. Carpenter teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level that address the psychological needs of older adults, with a particular emphasis on end-of-life care and dementia, and has received the David Hadas Teaching Award at Wash U.