As we age, a common quest seems to be how to add years to our life and life to those years – one without the other would be pretty much a waste of time. The good news is that there's plenty of help available in our quest. Barring accidents and severe medical conditions, the 5Fs – the right F ood, F itness, Friendships, Future, and F inances – provide one source of help.

  • Caloric reduction is acknowledged as a sure way to live longer. So, the correct food that provides the fuel enabling us to live in the way we choose is essential.
  • Regular exercise ( fitness ) is also considered important in the longevity, life-quality stakes.
  • The necessity to make and maintain friendships is essential. Friendships, we're told, can help to add up to seven years to our life – and lower blood pressure.
  • A future provides a reason to get out of bed each day. It's important that we have something to look forward to whatever 'something' is.
  • Finances comes down to working out what we'll need for life's journey. And there are many available resources to help figure out this amount.

DIET acronyms can be used to provide a helpful reminder – D O IE AT T HAT? D O IE XERCISE T ODAY? D O I E NCOURAGE T HEM? D O I E NVISAGE T HIS? D O I E ARMARK T HESE?

As an active participant in the aging process, and communicating with others in the same boat, two additional Fs have been uncoovered – the need for FUN and FAITH .

  • Until now, I had always included fun as part of friendships but I have come to the realization that fun is so important and needs to be considered separately. Regular doses of fun are an essential ingredient of a life well lived: laugh, usually from enjoying and sharing a joke, is a great tonic. Your DIET agreement could be, D O IE NSURE T HRILL?
  • Faith requires belief in something, be it a deity or whatever. Included also are the need for a positive attitude – toward self, others, and life's situations such as aging – and realizing the multiple benefits that can be derived from regular meditation. We're told that people with a positive attitudes are likely to live up to 7 years longer than the less-positive brigade, and daily meditation has much to recommend it. Your DIET agreement could be, D O I E XPLORE T HIS?

So the 5Fs have become the 7FsF ood, F itness, Friendships, Future, F inances, F un, F aith. Who would have thought that living longer, better was so straightforward?