Keeping Independence and Overcoming Challenges
In early 2022, journalists at National Geographic magazine and AARP collaborated on a project called the “Second Half of Life Study.” It involved 2580 adults and asked questions about the issues of aging, covering health, finances, happiness, home and many more topics that affect the lives of seniors.
The overall message was positive and reassuring. Most participants in the survey concluded that life was good for those over 60, far different from the perception of many young people today. As seniors look in the mirror and remember their teen and early adult years, most of them scarcely gave any thought to what the sunset years would be like. Yet, here they are rather suddenly making tough decisions and navigating a challenging life stage! Nonetheless, the survey results indicated that most seniors are filled with optimism and energy about this season of life!
As seniors age, they walk through many challenges. Here are a few of those challenges, along with some perspectives and suggestions that may help keep spirits high!
Health issues: Most seniors have at least one or more health issues, and often can consider themselves, “healthy with conditions.” After all, as they care for their bodies with a good diet, moderate exercise, and the help of modern medicine, even those with chronic health conditions such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease can lead a good quality of life. If meds help keep things balanced and are a necessity, take them as prescribed, and go about your day!
Recreation: Discovering what energizes you can bring joy and purpose to your life. Perhaps it is singing in a church choir, gardening, sewing, having coffee with friends, taking walks, or enjoying your pet. Don’t stop doing the things you love! Modify your activities and allow them to become part of your lifestyle.
Mobility: Don’t be embarrassed if you must use a cane, walker or a wheelchair to get around safely. Get out and enjoy the fresh air whenever possible. Accept invitations to family events or get-togethers. Just be yourself and enjoy these simple things that contribute to your happiness.
Exercise: There are many in-home devices that make it possible to get exercise, even if a senior is unable to get to the gym or the weather makes that difficult. Stationary bicycles, treadmills, and weight training can be easily done indoors. Strength and balance are two important areas for seniors to focus on. This training will help reduce falls, which can easily result in the loss of freedom and mobility for seniors. Maintaining independence is of primary importance to most seniors and is a priority in the care plan at Great Life Senior Care LLC. Please keep in mind, any exercise program should first be approved by your physician.
Finances: Budget – as inflation rises and costs soar, keeping a balanced budget is becoming more and more difficult. If you need assistance, there may be community programs to assist you with meals, transportation, or short-term financial issues. Consider asking your adult children or a financial advisor to help review your finances, and assist you in balancing your budget.
Set Simple goals: Think about what really matters to you. What have you wanted to do, but never got around to during your working years? Read a book, take a trip, build a model train, learn to crochet, take a class, write a short story, plant a garden, organize photos. You may find setting a simple goal and completing it adds new dimensions and creativity to your life, leaving you with a joyful heart!
Relationships: We all have several layers of relationships. Those we wave hello to in our neighborhood, those we invite in for coffee, and those abiding friendships over many years that have stood the test of time. Invest in close friendships. Share your wisdom and experiences, and allow others to share their dreams and hopes with you. As a retiree, you have time to nurture those relationships.
Write or record your memories: Think about how picking up an old photo or a card can stir fond memories of loved ones and childhood experiences. Ask your kids or grandkids to help you set up a small recorder or an app for you to share memories. Keep them short and focused, sharing details of your life and precious moments. If writing is your preference, start writing in a journal, sharing specific events as you remember them from your childhood, teen years, early adulthood, careers, and stories about raising your children. These memories will be appreciated long after you are gone. You will have an opportunity to leave a legacy that will last, and as memories fade, it will be in writing or recorded for the future generations of your family.
Prepare for your final years: If you have been thinking about preparing a will or a trust, now would be a great time. It will protect your assets and allow your estate to be settled according to your wishes. Having this done will be a great protection for you and a blessing to your family. (Consult an estate attorney for legal advice.) GREAT LIFE SENIOR CARE LLC could also point you in the right direction if you don’t know where or how to start. Most seniors experience peace of mind once this has been completed.
Great Life Senior Care is ready and available to help with routine home care to assist seniors in staying independent and living in their homes, and doing the things they love. We also assist with managing transitions following rehabilitation or surgery and work with Long Term Care insurance to make coming home as easy as possible. If we can assist you in any way, please call Jason White at (951) 679-9592.
Have a safe, healthy summer and enjoy your loved ones!