Looking Ahead to Life as an Octogenarian

in Independent Living

Written by PARC Retirement Living

Have you heard? Seventy is the new 60. And 80 is the new 70 (or is it 65?). Working in the independent living industry, we often hear statements like these about aging. And although they sound like common clichés, we see the proof daily – in the faces and lives of our vivacious PARC residents. 

Seniors today are living not just longer, but more richly, looking forward to life in their eighth decade and beyond. So, let’s dig into some key themes that we see emerging in the lives of octogenarians and soon-to-be-80-year-olds – with appearances from PARC residents who embody this dynamic age group. 

Anticipating the Journey: A Change in How We View Aging 

Alongside advances in medicine and lifestyle that are allowing people to live longer and healthier than ever before in human history, there has also been a shift in the way we collectively view our octogenarian years. 

“Getting older is an honour, and I’m filled with gratitude for my privileged life. I will continue to practice using that privilege by making books that, hopefully, bring awareness to social issues.” 

–Marlene Cheng, Westerleigh PARC resident 

Some experts attribute this change partly to the feisty and formidable Baby Boomers, who simply aren’t willing to “go gently” or slow down in their retirement years. Instead, this generation is seizing opportunities to explore new travel destinations, bask in leisure, tackle new projects, and strengthen family ties well into their 80s, and even 90s.

A Commitment to Movement and Fitness

“People are friendly, there are lots of activities and I do exercise every day. I would like to stay here forever.” 

Ali, Mulberry PARC Resident 

Today’s 70- and 80-year-olds are are prioritizing their health and wellness, and it shows! Their commitment to physical well-being through exercise, especially, is not only contributing to their longevity, but also creating a much more vibrant quality of life.  

This is why movement and exercise are built into the core of PARC’s Active Living™ program. Fitness classes, strength training, walking, and more contribute to improved heart health, and increased muscle mass, bone density, and joint flexibility. This, in turn, promotes physical resilience, and ease of movement, reducing the risk of falls and fractures. The ability to move freely and independently is essential to quality of life at any age – enabling people to actively participate in daily activities and pursue their passions. 

Exercise isn’t just beneficial for the body, of course; it has profound effects on cognitive health as well. Studies show that physical activity can help stave off cognitive decline, improving memory, concentration, and overall mental acuity. For life in your 80s, this means staying sharp, engaged, and able to fully enjoy the experiences and relationships that make life fulfilling.  

The link between exercise and emotional well-being is also well-established. Regular physical activity releases endorphins, “feel-good” hormones that help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. For adults in their 80s, this emotional resilience is invaluable, improving the ability to adapt to life changes, maintain a positive outlook, and cultivate happiness. 

A New Appreciation for Eating Well 

At any age, a well-rounded diet can contribute to better overall health, immune function, healing, and energy. It also plays a crucial role in managing chronic conditions and preventing age-related health issues.  

But 80-somethings are also realizing dining is a life-enriching experience, to be anticipated and savoured. It’s never too late to add new flavours and epicurean adventures to our lives.  

PARC’s chefs are Red Seal Certified, and they come from some of the finest restaurants, hotels and culinary settings – serving meals that are as creative and beautiful as they are healthy and balanced for senior nutrition.  

Vibrant Social Lives and New Passions 

“I started watercolour painting in my 80th year. I’ve been doing it five years now and enjoying it immensely.” 

Cathy, Cedar Springs PARC resident  

The importance of friendships and social connections can’t be overstated at any age. But we’re seeing more and more 80-somethings – surrounded by their like-minded and lively community of other PARC residents – strike up brand new friendships and relationships. This is during a phase of life when many assume their social circles will be diminishing. But this simply isn’t true anymore. And certainly not in the friendly and buzzing social atmosphere of PARC residences.  

Social engagement isn’t just good for the soul; it also has tangible effects on physical health. Studies show that individuals with robust social networks tend to have lower levels of stress and mental health issues, with improved immune function, and even a longer lifespan.  

PARC Active Living™ offers enriching programs, from art classes to educational workshops, music, writing, painting, and theatre. Activities, events, and cultural excursions offer opportunities to socialize, alongside pursuits like knitting, crafting, cards, choir, and woodworking. 

Being part of a community also provides a new sense of purpose and meaning, which is crucial for well-being. As individuals look ahead to their 80s, knowing they’ll be part of a supportive and engaged community lends to a life of vibrancy, connection, and joy. 

Moving to PARC: Look Forward to Your 80s Sooner 

 “I think people wait too long to move in. I moved in with my husband, we wanted to move in together and we wanted to make that decision ourselves. And every month we’re here, we know it’s the right decision. You’re independent and well looked after.”     

–Dolly, Cedar Springs PARC resident 

Clearly, we now live in a world where age is just a number. People in their 80s are breaking free from traditional expectations and embracing lifestyles that are active and fulfilling. And PARC is committed to fostering exactly this kind of lifestyle. So, the sooner you make the move to PARC, the better life can become 

As PARC residents have shown us so clearly, living longer isn’t just about adding more candles to your birthday cake. It’s about cultivating vitality, purpose, and an unwavering commitment to well-being. Because you still have a lot more living to do. 

Want to learn more about living well into your 80s with PARC Retirement Living? Let’s chat!