Successful aging event at Abington on April 2

Abington community events
Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa. — How does one live a long life with a sense of integrity and satisfaction? This question has no definitive answer, so a Penn State Abington expert will lead a free public discussion on successful aging from psychological and biological perspectives at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 2, in Woodland Commons, next to the Woodland Library.

Judith Newman, associate professor of human development and family studies, will present historical research on personality development, and then segue into more recent studies in neuroscience and economic theory across the life span. It offers an encouraging picture since there is more potential and resilience in older people than was believed.

“It’s a positive, hopeful arc,” Newman said. “We are reawakening to the inherent wisdom we had as children.”

Studies indicate that areas of the brain that dominate in childhood — reflected in children’s authenticity, creativity and spontaneity — can serve the same function in older people.

“We are reawakening to the inherent wisdom we had as children.”

— Judith Newman, associate professor of human development and family studies

Newman will present findings that indicate that not all changes that come with aging are negative. Barring serious disease, older people are encouraged to become fully engaged, to keep their minds stimulated —the use-it-or-lose-it syndrome.

The more lively, the more playful the activity may be, these findings suggest, the more likely those older people will find satisfaction in life. But some older people are perfectly happy sitting on the porch, reading or watching the sun set. There is nothing wrong with that, as Newman’s talk will affirm.

Using both psychological and biological perspectives, she will present a wide range of positive options for growing old successfully.

The presentation is sponsored by Abington Cultural and Community Events.

Penn State Abington, formerly the Ogontz campus, offers baccalaureate degrees in 18 majors at its suburban location just north of Philadelphia. Nearly half of our 4,000 students complete all four years at Abington, with opportunities in undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more. Students can start the first two years of more than 160 Penn State majors at Abington and complete their degrees at University Park or another campus. Lions Gate, our first residence hall, will open this August.