While setting out to write a book about how to Age to Perfection, Award-Winning Author and Podcast Guest Judy Gaman met Lucille Fleming, an amazing woman who Judy noted redefined my life, perspective on aging, and concept of success.  Lucille introduced Judy to the beautiful, wonderful, tender side of old, became a dear friend, and provided Judy the hope that maybe she could have that much fun when she’s 100-years-old.

A Necessary Change in Life Perspective

As soon as Judy met Lucille, she explains that her life began to change.  She wanted to learn about the people who live to be 100, but gained a new friendship that she would cherish for over three years until Lucille’s death.  In her book that documents her relationship with her best friend: Love, Life, and Lucille: Lessons Learned from a Centenarian, Judy provides a roadmap of how to adapt our perspective from one of workaholism to one that appreciates the people around us, especially those who we love the most.  From watching Lucille relate to strangers and see the beauty in everyone she meets, Judy realized how focused she was on herself, her career, and her long to-do list. Lucille helped redefine Judy’s life by teaching her how to appreciate life, enjoy the people around her, and handle problems with grace. She recalls that “Lucille lived every day of her life fully expecting to enjoy her day.”

Lessons About Aging and the Elderly

In addition, Judy and Host Annette Hines discuss many of the biases about the elderly that many in the United States have that result in our society treating seniors disrespectfully.  Although Judy’s book shares the beauty she finds in Lucille and aging, Annette praises the brave look into the dark and dirty side of aging and how poorly the elderly are treated in rehabilitation or residential homes.  We don’t want to look at these dark areas of our communities that Judy called “the pits of hell.”  Yet we allow these injustices in treatment of the elderly to continue because we devalue them in the same way we devalue people with special needs. Our society is so backward in that we exaggerate the importance of actors or people who have a lot of followers on social media and completely overlook the value and lessons of seniors.  Judy notes how in many other countries, elders are honored and given places of respect in society; meanwhile, in the U.S. we are sacrificing a huge knowledge base due to our prejudice.

Judy Gaman is CEO of Executive Medicine of Texas and an award-winning author, speaker and host of the Stay Young America! podcast.

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