: June 5, 2022 Posted by: Maureen Comments: 0

By Maureen Santini © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

This is Chapter 9 in Write Your Life Story for Posterity. If you’re following the decade-by-decade method, you’ve just finished writing about your eighth decade.

Your ninth decade, ages 80 and beyond, begins at your 80th birthday. If you were born in 1940, for example, your ninth decade began in 2020.

Your tenth decade, ages 90 through 99, begins at your 90th birthday. If you were born in 1930 your tenth decade began in 2020.

For the sake of convenience, all ages after 80 are addressed in this post. Write about your eighties as in previous decades. If you are in your nineties or beyond, write down the same categories of information about those years, however many there have been. At this point, there is no need to wait until the end of a decade. You can always update the information in the future.

Longer Lives

More and more people are living longer. The 85 and older population is projected to grow from 6.6 million in 2019 to 14.4 million in 2040, an increase of 118 percent, according to Profile of Older Americans, a report compiled by a unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There were 100,322 persons aged 100 and older in 2019, more than triple the 1980 figure, the report said.

Better Health

In some cases, better health and welfare accompanied the increase in longevity. In the past decade, many older adults have increased physical functioning, vision, and hearing, and lowered rates of dementia. As a result, fewer are living in nursing homes and assisted living, according to National Health and Aging Trends.

“Does life begin at eighty?” That was the headline of an article in the Daily Mail a few years ago. The gist: beware of presuming that physical and mental decline is inevitable.

Aging Stereotypes are Often Wrong

Having purpose keeps many alert and engaged, researchers say.

“The stereotypes that people have in their minds about old age are just completely wrong,” says Katharine Esty, Ph.D., the eighty-something author of: A Practical Guide to Letting Go, Aging Well, and Finding Unexpected Happiness.

“The array of what people Eighty Something are doing in their 80s is stunning. Many people are pain-free and living full lives and traveling,” she said.

Basic Information

Begin writing about your eighties and beyond the same way as previous decades: by recording basic information in the categories below. Write about anything that was important to you during this time – people, places, events, ideas, politics, lessons learned, and changes in your life, your community, and in the world.

The types of information to record in each decade are similar. What changes from decade to decade, often drastically, are lifestyles, beliefs, activities, health, outlook, and relationships.

Basic Information

  • List the addresses of the places you lived during these years.
  • Add the names of others in your household and their relationships to you.
  • Note the people and places you visited frequently, such as friends, relatives, churches, restaurants, and parks.

An easy way to jog your memory for each decade is to reconstruct the highlights in each category. Reviewing your list of residences, for example, may evoke associated memories.

Friends and Family

Describe the main relationships in your life during these years. Identify friends and family members you spent the most time with and the activities you engaged in most often. If these are similar to the people you’ve mentioned in previous decades, describe how your relationship or activities changed.

Hobbies, Skills, Interests

Describe your lifestyle, including the way you typically spent days and evenings.

List your top three or four hobbies and interests, such as walking, reading, exercising, playing games, socializing, dancing, travel, crafts, movies, television, and watching sports.

Explain how your routine changed in your eighties or nineties, if it did, such as whether you started new activities or dropped old activities.

Write about the high points, low points and turning points of the decade.

Health and Welfare

Physical, mental, and emotional challenges often occur in life. If relevant, detail ways in which you personally faced such challenges or helped close friends and family members do the same.

For the purpose of leaving behind a factual account of your life and times, tell your story regardless of whether it fits into any specific frame.

  • List the names of your medical professionals.
  • Specify dates and places of major medical events, such as operations.
  • Describe the overall state of your health. 
  • Assess total health – mind, body, and spirit – during the decade.

Current Events

Describe the political and social environment of these years and your positions on issues. Recount whether unforeseen events, such as health epidemics, floods, fires, terrorism, or riots, affected you and your family.

Explain the ways in which your opinions and beliefs evolved or stayed the same throughout the decade. Identify the causes and organizations that most represented your beliefs and passions.

Conclusion

Add information about any person, place, event, or idea that was significant during this time. Explain why.

Congratulations on getting this far. Quite an accomplishment. Only two chapters to go: compiling your family history and summing it all up.

You can encourage others to write their life stories by posting comments on this website and sharing these posts on social media. We hope you are enjoying the process.

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Note: This post has been updated from the original.