I’m on the cutting edge with my 90s Club mystery series. My 90-year-olds are able, alert, and active, and more and more medical studies are showing that old age isn’t what sinks you into decrepitude. No matter what your age, here’s what will do the job: Diabetes, obesity, no exercise, poor diet, hypertension, stress, and depression.

I spent yesterday morning at a 90-minute workshop given by Dr. Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, author of Boost Your Brain: The New Art and Science Behind Enhanced Brain Performance. In a fast-paced workshop, Dr. Fotuhi described

the hippocampus, which is responsible for short-term memory, and it shrinks with age. This is the reason memory lapses become more frequent after age 50. But, he adds, this shrinkage would be miniscule in the absence of a number of risk factors that cause atrophy in the hippocampus. These risk factors are diabetes, hypertension, obesity, sleep apnea, concussion, depression, stress and Alzheimer’s.

Getting fit and eliminating the risk factors will improve brain function.

So when a person says “I’m getting old,” what are they really saying? And when people say, “I’m too old to _____,” they should remember that someone else their age is probably doing whatever they’re too old for.

As I’ve mentioned before, I base my 90s Club mystery series on a woman I met years ago at a pool party. She was slim, attractive, vigorously swimming laps in the pool, and she was 91 years old. Since then I have collected articles about people in their 90s and 100s who are able, alert, and active. Ninety year olds are doing everything from home repairs to driving across country.

Too old? I don’t think so.