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 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.