You might recognize Jo Ann Jenkins from the television commercials that have been popping up all over lately. Sheâ€™s been singing the gospel of AARPâ€™s philosophy both on-air and in her new book, Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age, due out next month. Here she shares some keys:
Q: Why do we need to disrupt aging?
A: I think itâ€™s such an exciting way to think about aging. Itâ€™s almost like weâ€™re igniting this movement that itâ€™s OK to be 50 or 60 or 70 and for people to really own their age and feel good about where they are in life. Thatâ€™s exactly what I want the book to do: for people to recognize that they are in charge of their life and itâ€™s not so much about aging, itâ€™s about living your best life and being the best person you can be regardless of where you are in your stage in life.
Q: What advice do you give about how others can maintain their best lives as they age?
A: I like to focus the book around three areas: health, wealth, and self. We need to focus on our own personal health; we really need to be empowered users of the healthcare system and not dependent users; we need to start eating healthier and exercise at an earlier age. We need to think early about our financesâ€”itâ€™s not too early in your 20s to start thinking about saving for your later years. We absolutely donâ€™t want to outlive our money and we canâ€™t depend on Social Security to make sure that weâ€™re going to have the money weâ€™re going to need. And the last area is around self: how do we start thinking about what our purpose is in lifeâ€”getting people to focus on thinking about what they truly want to do with this extra 20 or 30 years that weâ€™re going to live beyond what our parents and grandparents lived.
Q: What does your best life look like?
A: I think Iâ€™m living my best life. I was asked to come over to AARP in 2010 to head up their foundation, and at that time I had almost 25 years in public service, so I could have retired. I decided no, that I really felt like it was time for me to do something different, that both my kids were out of college, and that I had all of this expertise and free time. I have been very fortunate over the years to be put in very significant places in my work life but I have to tell you I think Iâ€™m having the best time of my life doing the work that Iâ€™m doing now at AARP.