How to Get Smarter About Getting Older by Cathleen Toomey

People should embrace aging.

I fell in love with New Hampshire in the late 1980s. I was a reluctant transplant, driving up Interstate 95 from my North End apartment in Boston, rolling my eyes at the alfalfa farm as I passed, noting I had 45 minutes to go before reaching the Seacoast.

It didn’t take long for me to realize all my preconceived notions of small state, small-town living were wrong.

My eyes were opened — to the physical beauty, the small, independently owned businesses and ease of living — and to the ability to make a difference. First as a volunteer, then board member, then board chair of CrossRoads House, I saw that, in this small state, we have the power and opportunity to change people’s lives.

For the past 14 years, I’ve been doing that full time, working for the RiverWoods Group and educating people about continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). I have seen people make the tough decision to leave their much-loved house of 40 years and make their new home at RiverWoods, only to find renewed energy, new interests, friends and even romance. I have witnesses how these residents are living a more purposeful, connected and joyful life.

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