Practical Advice from America’s Wisest; The Elderly

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Practical Advice from America’s Wisest; The Elderly

Posted on May 22, 2012

In 2004 Karl Pillemer, a professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, created a program that allowed for people to collect practical advice from America’s elders. What better way to gain some insight and guidance for our future? Enjoy these bits of wisdom form some of America’s wisest!


  • “No matter if it’s a quarter or a dollar, you have to save it. Have a hobby and be happy in your job.”~Gert Panem, 101

It’s important to enjoy your job. Having a job that you don’t enjoy can cause added stress and it can greatly impact the joy you have in your life. Finding a hobby can help you reduce some of that stress and saving your money to do things that you enjoy can also help alleviate some other life’s pressures. If money is tight don’t be afraid to pick up the extra pennies you see on the ground. Whether it’s a penny or a dollar, money saved can add up! Imagine how much you would have if you picked up and saved every penny you saw on the ground.


  • “If you want to enjoy life you have to make it enjoyable!” ~Dr. Monty Malach, 85

Dr. Malach was diagnosed with Polio and was informed by the doctors that he would never walk again. Despite the doctor’s diagnosis he was determined to walk again, and he did. When having to go through life with a disability or an illness it’s best to “think above your circumstance.” The only opinion that should matter in life is your own. Keep yourself motivated and driven to move forward in life to get you where you would like to be. Having a disability can be tough, but working hard and to the best of your ability will prove useful to accomplish great things in your life.


  • “You never know what life is going to bring so be willing, or ready to change your plans at a moment’s notice.” ~Francis Eichner, 88

Have you ever heard the statement “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance”? We can admit that is a great statement, however sometimes life throws us curve balls that don’t allow us the time for preparation. Life happens fast, sometimes without warning. The best thing you can do is to react as best you can in the moment and don’t be afraid to make adjustments along the way if necessary. No matter what happens you should always stay focused and concentrate on what possibilities lie in the future. If you keep looking back on the past, it could be the very thing that holds you back.


  • “Get a good education.” ~ Gert Panem, 101

Ms. Pamen and Ms. Eichner can both agree on the importance of an education. In the words of Ms. Eichner’s father, “a pretty face will get you many things in life, but your brain is what is going to get you what your heart really needs, and that is true happiness.” Whether it’s approaching an education through school or gaining wisdom through experiences, it’s important to always apply yourself in life. Gaining knowledge is a lifelong process. Applying the education, knowledge and wisdom you have learned throughout your years should be a daily practice to keep you moving in the right direction.

Do you have any great advice or words of wisdom to share? We would love to hear what you have to say! Please leave a comment.

To see the individual interviews please click here.