President’s Note-November 2015

November 17, 2015

Greetings SPO Members:

Recently, Dan Buettner, New York Times best-selling author and National Geographic explorer, spoke at the University of Southern Indiana (USI), the university where I teach. Buettner traveled to the world’s “Blue Zones” to meet the planet’s longest-lived people, discovering centenarians who lead active lives with fewer diseases and close vibrant circles of friends and family. During USI’s annual Mid-America Institute on Aging, Buettner referred to the “Power 9,” which are the nine traits shared among the world’s longest-lived people. These traits include: move naturally, find purpose in life, down shift (reduce stress), 80% rule (eat until you are 80 percent full), plant slant (eat plant-based foods), drink wine at 5 p.m., belong to a faith-based group, loved ones first (keep aging parents and grandparents nearby), and right tribe (associate with people who have healthy behaviors).

I can’t help but think that many of these Power 9 traits that Dan Buettner discussed are also promoted by our local SPO chapter. I know many of your SPO chapters organize programs promoting social connectedness, intergenerational networks and purpose across the lifespan. In the five Blue Zone areas around the world, the Power 9 traits are ingrained in the culture. In the United States, we often have to intentionally create opportunities to build Power 9 traits into our own lives, our family’s lives and our communities. Thank you for the work that you do to create these Power 9 interactions through your SPO chapters.

In SPO news, there is still time to apply for the SPO Service Award and/or the SPO Video Award. These awards allow us to recognize the good work happening on the local levels. Visit the Awards tab of this website for more information and consider applying for one of these awards by December 1, 2015. If you have an interest in serving on the SPO National Board, it is time to consider this service.   The deadline for submitting your information to be included on the SPO Board ballot is also December 1, 2015.

Finally, the National SPO Executive Board is excited to have launched our new website. For many years, SPO members and advisors have requested that SPO add an e-commerce component to our website that would allow new members to apply for membership online and for current members to renew online. The SPO National Executive Board has been working behind the scenes for the last 18 months to make this a reality. In addition to a new look, our new SPO website includes chapter-specific information, personal accounts for members, and e-commerce options.  Soon, we will reach out to chapter advisors and members with instruction on how to log into your personal SPO account.  If you want to get a jump start on this, visit the footer section of the website to view detailed instructions on how to activate your SPO account on this website. We hope you enjoy our new dynamic SPO website!


Katie Ehlman