Jerry Sanford of Westerville received a terrible shock recently when sudden severe pain sent him to the emergency room.
He was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
"I'm at a crossover point right now," the 77-year-old said. "I've been living alone for eight years since my wife died of cancer."
Sanford wants to continue living on his own, but realizes he has to explore options in light of his medical crisis.
Those explorations took him March 7 to the Cancer Support Community Central Ohio in northwest Columbus for one of the organization's ongoing Lunch and Learn Series, this one focused on "The ABCs and 123s of Aging."
The presenter was Lori Wengerd, owner and president of Home Care Assistance in Upper Arlington, which offers live-in care for senior citizens. She gave a similar presentation in the series in August 2016.
"We're here to talk, I suppose, about the inevitable," Wengerd said.
Contrary to what most people presume, she said, finances are not the most important thing for people as they grow older.
"The money's just secondary to what you're doing to get in the game," Wengerd said.
Having the right mindset toward the aging process is every bit as important as having a comfortable nest egg, she said.
Wengerd talked about "compressed mobility," a term she first heard a couple of years ago that relates to people who stay healthy and active right up until a rapid decline and death, as opposed to those who deal with prolonged periods of ill health.
Only about one third of how people age, weather that be well or poorly, is related to genetics, according to Wengerd.
The rest, she said, is about life choices. These include being physically active, which is good for not only the heart and lungs, but also the brain.
"It's not about having strong abs," Wengerd said. "It's about being able to continue to do the things you've always done.
"What we find as we get older is we all start to do the same thing over and over.
"We all love our routines. Find ways to change up your day. Try brushing your teeth with your left hand. Stand on one foot while talking on the phone."
Like Sanford, 75-year-old Evelyn Farmer of east Columbus attended the program because she lives alone. Although she has friends, no family members live in the area.
"I'm always looking for information that might help me plan for my future," Farmer said.
"I thought it was very helpful," Sanford said. "There were a lot of points she raised that would be worth going into more in depth."
"Think about what you want your life to look like," Wengerd said in concluding her presentation. "It's there in front of you."