Dr Vic Strecher, Professor in Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan and Visiting Fellow, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute's Wellbeing and Resilience Centre emphasises the importance of 'Purpose' in healthy ageing. The evidence points to the benefits of volunteering, having a hobby, engaging with family, friends and community. He refers to research out of Chicago which shows people who lose their purpose at retirement are 2.4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's at seven years as compared to people who have a strong sense of purpose. They are also less likely to develop stroke and heart attacks, as well as being more likely to have heathy behaviours around sleep, nutrition and relaxation. Purpose is Primary!
You can catch his interview on Australia's Radio National with Fran Kelly here
He uses the acronym SPACE as a compact way of thinking about the elements in healthy ageing:
S - Sleep
P - Presence eg Mindfulness
A - Activity e.g. Purpose, Exercise
C - Creativity
E - Eating