The secret of life is to let every segment of it
produce its own yield at its own pace.

Every period has something new to teach us:
The harvest of youth is achievement;
the harvest of middle age is perspective;
the harvest of age is wisdom;
the harvest of life is serenity.
~ Joan Chittister

Optimal Aging Portal for Evaluated Health Advice

A trusted voice on how to stay healthy and active as we age

A new online resource that will provide health professionals and the general public with trusted, evidence-based information about how to stay healthy, active and engaged as we grow older has been launched by McMaster University.

The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal brings together research evidence about questions related to aging, and presents it in various ways that discuss the key messages from the research, how trustworthy it is, and how it can be acted upon. The Portal also includes links to a wide range of other online resources that have been rated for quality.

The website’s ratings system can be compared to that of the popular movie-rating site Rotten Tomatoes.

The Portal has been developed to appeal to a broad range of audiences, including older adults, patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, decision-makers, and anyone interested in optimal aging.

For more details on what the Portal includes, click here.

Other valued websites for seniors health information

Just for You – Seniors – Health Canada

Seniors Health (US National Institute of Aging)

Medline Plus

Mayo Clinic

Reading Fiction to Understand Your Life

Most older adults are familiar with the Self-Help section of the bookstore or the library, where you can find books on dealing with most age-related issues, from planning for retirement to family caregiving to coping with specific age-related health conditions or with the range of emotions that can take over life from time to time. Fiction would not typically be the first place where people would seek assistance.

Yet, reading fiction can be an effective strategy for learning about aging – the positives and the negatives, especially to go beyond group statistics to varied personal experiences. As Joseph Gold wrote in 1990, reading novels allows us to experience many varied situations vicariously, builds empathy, and helps us widen our array of coping strategies. Such reading conveys the impact of reframing, when a character becomes the master of his life as opposed to the victim by taking charge of the story of his life. Moreover, reading a novel on a theme of personal struggle can provide the vocabulary for identifying feelings, information needed for asking for help, and assist exploration of the struggle via discussion of the characters and situation in the book.

Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin provide a current recommended reading list of novels addressing many personal topics.


Berthoud, E., & Elderkin, S. (2013). The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You. New York: Penguin Press.

Gold, J. (1990/2001). Read for Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Writing Exercise

Select ten years – past or future (e.g., 1947, 1969, …., 2015, …2027) and write a few sentences about your life in each of these. For example:

I burst upon the world in the new year of 1947.  I imagine my older brother Donnie marching toy trucks around the kitchen floor wondering when the new baby would join in.   …

Marrying in 1969, I was looking forward to new adventures – a bit apprehensive about how to build a family along with two careers. That year we walked on the beaches of Prince Edward Island and through the woods of northern Maine.   …

RyanShadows-RioGrande walk

With this shadow photo of walking along the Rio Grande,
I bid you adieu