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On the Road to Your Golden Years? Take the Wheel

Like getting married or having children, getting older is easier with a little knowledge.

Enter Aging Mastery, a workshop offered by the Area Agency on Aging 1-B that helps you enter older adulthood with confidence.

Aging Mastery is designed for baby boomers and beyond who want to learn more about advance care planning, nutrition, sleep, navigating Medicare, strengthening personal relationships, and more.

The 10-week workshop is typically offered about six times a year (the next one begins with an orientation on Monday, Sept. 28). Each week features a different subject and typically an expert in that field to help navigate the practical, financial and emotional aspects of aging. They might be a sleep specialist, nutritionist or attorney who specializes in eldercare law.

Even if you know a lot, Aging Mastery will still get you thinking.

“You think you know about sleep, about hydration, about finances, medications. Well, there’s a lot to learn about those things,” says Cindy Tilden, a retiree from Farmington Hills. “As a senior, it may not have touched you. It may not touch you. But other people in your life might be impacted.”

A year ago, at 64 years old, Tilden took Aging Mastery at the Costick Center, also in Farmington Hills. She had retired as an HR professional at 62 and took the workshop out of curiosity.

“All my life I’ve had a sense of what the next chapter was going to be like:  graduate from high school, then college, get a job, move along. I found myself arriving at retirement without a real idea of what the chapter was going to look like,” Tilden says.

The workshop was terrific, she says.

“This is a way of helping you so you don’t have to needlessly stumble on obvious stones in your path,” Tilden says. “You’re not always prepared for this particular stage of your life.”

Tilden found the segment on advance planning one of the more compelling. Most people hadn’t thought about talking to their children about their dying wishes and that sparked a lot of discussion.

It is an “eye opening” segment, agrees trainer Chanda Parman of Warren, because it drills down to nitty-gritty details. For example, what kind of music do you want playing in your room if you fall into a coma? Parman teaches several classes for seniors and caregivers that are offered by AAA 1-B.

“And then there are 9 other topics,” says Parman. “One of the mantras of the class: ‘Don’t give up those cool things you like to do. You don’t have to give up lunch with friends. You don’t have to give up doing Thanksgiving. If your driving abilities wane, there’s Uber and Lyft. We’ll show you how to set up accounts, apps to download,’” she says.

Wherever you are on the aging spectrum, Aging Mastery has something for you.

We’re not taught economics, saving. Nobody tells you how to buy a house, how to pay it off. There are a lot of books out there, but there isn’t a handbook about life,” says Parman.