On Purpose

One of the purposes of this WOW Factor project is to spotlight amazing and inspiring older women who have managed to retain a strong sense of purpose and purposefulness, despite (or because of?) advancing years.

So the report in today’s New York Times by Paula Span, titled “Living on Purpose,” was sure to catch my attention. Span cites studies by researchers in Chicago who have been tracking older people and assessing them regularly on a variety of physical, psychological and cognitive measures.

As Span says, “It turns out that purpose is, on many counts, a good thing to have, long associated with satisfaction and happiness, better physical functioning, even better sleep. ‘It’s a very robust predictor of health and wellness in old age,’ said Patricial Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.”

The article continues: “‘They [older people] want to make a contribution,’ Dr. Boyle said. ‘They want to feel part of something that extends beyond themselves.’ Though what provides purpose in one’s life varies, merely taking care of oneself probably doesn’t qualify. People with purpose ‘have a sense of their role in the community and the broader world,’ Dr. Boyle said. She particularly mentioned mentoring, passing one’s memories or experiences on to younger people, as a way to stoke a sense of purpose.”

I couldn’t pass up the chance to pass this news item along, since one of my great hopes is to “stoke a sense of purpose” in this blog.

To read the complete NYTimes article (and I hope you will), go to:


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