It’s common to adopt the habit of viewing our elder years as the beginning of decline and enduring losses – we fear that we will lose our independence, our health, our friends. Many see aging as a condition we should deny, prevent, or escape in any way possible. The reality is that seniors possess a wide range of abilities and skills won through years of experience. Seniors have the joys of grandchildren, retirement, and travel, but they also possess creative talents, wisdom, and strength developed over a lifetime. With the right perspective, we can see our senior years as our best years.
Enjoying your senior years begins by changing the ideas you once held about the what “old age” means. Many seniors feel as if they are past the age when they can learn and grow, and that they have little to offer the community. Allow a sense of purpose to replace this notion with a belief that you still have a lot to learn and plenty of ways to help the community. A sense of purpose is central to self-esteem at any age, and it can help us stay positive and optimistic as we age.
Creativity is one of many ways that you can create a sense of purpose, but there are lots of ways to find your path other than painting or doing crafts. If you are open minded, you can easily find a purpose for yourself or a loved one. Seniors often have interests and skills they’ve had their entire life, and that lifelong honing of skill can make them especially useful to the community, providing volunteer efforts that benefit everyone involved.
No matter what age you are, it’s important to continue to engage in new relationships, and seniors have a unique position that allows them to connect with and volunteer within the community by sharing their experiences. The strength of our seniors – the very quality that helped them to live to their age – can be the resilience they share with those who are currently suffering. Younger adults and children have no experience with certain situations, and may need guidance to navigate them. Share who have experienced those same difficulties can offer comfort to those who are suffering.
Most importantly, optimistic senior life depends on your perspective. If you focus on the positive parts of aging, your attitude will change, which can help you to enjoy your life and avoid depression. Below are some ideas on how to alter your view and begin to enjoy your “best” years:
Paint, build something, sing, write, learn to dance – activities that challenge you and express your feeling can bring joy and purposefulness.
If you are retired, use the time to reconnect with family and friends. Relationships keep you from feeling lonely and give you a place to seek support.
Helping family when possible, community service, helping a neighbor – being a volunteer give you a purpose and improves your sense of self-esteem.
Learn to love your body and appreciate it. Keep an eye on your diet, exercise, and sleep habits, and make sure to see your doctor routinely.
When you speak of your experiences you take pride in the accomplishments of your life and you help friends, family, and the community find a connection to the past.
Fill your schedule activities and commitments that include friends. Friendships are a wonderful way to find support and positivity, and by making plans you create structure and boost your optimism and motivation.
Just keep in mind – you have earned the best years of your life – Enjoy them!