Joseph M. Casciani, PhD, has specialized in older adult care for over 30 years as a psychologist, has owned and operated several professional corporations during this period, and has trained and supported other professionals and caregivers on the psychological needs of older adults. The Living to 100 Club is the next step in his journey to provide insights and inspiration about aging, and to provide an opportunity for seniors to do their own “retail therapy” in the online store. For more information, see his LinkedIn page, Facebook company page, and the Living to 100 Club website and store. “Living to 100” and the tagline, “turning aging on its head,” are pending service mark registrations with the USPTO.
1. You founded the Living to 100 Club. Can you tell us about this organization and what inspired you to create it?
As we know, there is no shortage of articles and books about how to live longer by improving our diet, exercising, and so on, to stay healthy into our later years. However, having worked with seniors and their caregivers as a mental health professional for over 30 years, I felt a need to underscore the importance of our mental attitude about growing old. I started the Living to 100 Club, first, to promote the notion that our outlook determines how we face and overcome the stresses of aging and to provide a voice for delivering insights and inspiration about aging with a positive mindset, no matter how easy or how hard the journey. Second, I want to establish the Club as a resource for those who want to enjoy their later years with little indulgences and comfort measures, and offer items in our store for personal fitness, healthcare, and safety. To me, the Club is a frame of mind, a metaphor for maintaining a positive outlook about ourselves and our future – with no dues or meetings, or a place to hang out for our Members – only a mindset.
2. The mission of the Living to 100 Club is “turn aging on its head!” How is the organization defying conventional wisdom and changing the society’s views on aging?
Age is just a number – the number of times the earth has gone around the sun since we’ve been born. Some 80-year-olds are more spry and energetic than many 60-year-olds, and there are centenarians who swear by their chocolate cake and red wine. Our tagline, “turning aging on its head,” is meant as a rallying cry to defy the stereotypes that come with old age, and instead set a goal to continually redefine oneself as someone who is strong, and is motivated to push ahead no matter what bumps are encountered along the way. “Turning aging on its head” says we should think about growing old in the opposite way to the way it was originally seen by our culture. For too many older adults, conventional wisdom says we should slow down when we turn 70, or if we develop a heart condition, or stop driving, or lose a spouse of 60 years. Or, even upon retiring, some just want to sit back and take it easy – “After all, I’ve worked hard for 40 years – at my age, it’s too late to learn a new career.”
We need to remove all the baggage and negative clutter in our heads that stop us from writing a new chapter about what we want in our future. Most of the time, no matter how limited we are physically or mentally, there are always some strengths to build on and that can be used to lift our spirits. So, to “turn aging on its head” is to say I won’t let my age blind me to what I can still do or who I can still become.
3. You are currently in the process of writing a handbook about creating a positive frame of mind as we age. Can you tell us a little bit about the principles you outline in your book?
The Club’s Member Handbook: 9 Principles to Create a Positive Frame of Mind as We Age is now finished and uploaded to the site. It serves a guide to maintaining a positive frame of mind, helps the reader examine his or her usual thinking patterns about aging, and to consider a different perspective on what we can accomplish and what we can expect of ourselves – and it’s peppered with a few of our store products. Some of the Principles are What color is your setback, I am not defined by my body, Stepping out of our comfort zone, and Projecting a new self-image on a blank screen.
I modeled my Handbook after Ozan Varol’s Contrarian Handbook: 8 Principles for Innovating Your Thinking. The content was direct, and not too lengthy, a vehicle that was just what I needed to contain my original “Rules for Club Members.”