After arthritis forced her to give up embroidery in her 70’s, the renowned American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses (aka “Grandma Moses”) took up painting. She lived to be 101. Coincidence? Not if Gene Cohen, the eminent evangelist of good news about the aging brain, was right.
In a recent talk, Cohen described neuroscience findings that show unforeseen psychological development late in the life cycle. As we turn 80, frontal lobe changes improve the ability to deal with negative emotions. Cohen likes these empowering changes to “friendly metaphorical inner voices saying, ‘If not now, when? What can they do to me?’ This gives people comfort, confidence, and courage,” the gerontologist attests. In the audio clip below Marcia Muth describes how the lessening of anxiety has made her 80s even more enjoyable than her 70s.