Just because the senior years are considered the final chapter of a well-lived life doesn’t mean there aren’t still some adventures remaining for residents of Coronado and elsewhere.
There’s an unfortunate tendency some people have to think of this time of life only as a period to wait out the clock as they decline physically and mentally. Some of the home health care clients at Accredited Home Care have shared that they’ve heard this opinion from others.
Our favorite response is to tell them that every age has some great things associated with it, but the seniors always have a great perspective. Maybe it’s that they’ve lived through many different cultural periods over the years. Maybe they’ve worked in different industries and occupations and had different relationships.
But having exciting life experiences in the past isn’t the only thing that makes this age group interesting in general. It’s also an opportunity for many to continue having fun, enjoy being social, learn new skills and lessons, and connect with others.
There’s certainly a little more urgency if someone is receiving hospice care, since this may mean that there is a limited amount of time remaining to get certain things accomplished. But hospice or not, there are still some ways we can celebrate together and learn and grow.
- Vow to enjoy the day. It’s easy to get stressed out about what’s ahead, even if you’re thinking about what tasks you need to accomplish later this week. Then there are spiritual questions about what’s next, and worries about your family and loved ones when you’re gone. If you set down to worry, there’s no end to the details you can get anxious about. Or you can take the opportunity to take a break from it and enjoy the company of those around you – or your company too. Trying to find peace in all the chaos can be soothing.
- Rest some. This attitude also can help provide opportunities for relaxation and offer some energy later. Although you can still get out and do things, it’s nice to take breaks sometimes for your brain and your body. You can look for time to squeeze in a nap each day.
- Share memories. Part of the aging process is having questions about what your final legacy will be and how you will be remembered. Depending on your finances and resources you can arrange to give gifts to family or your community, such as creating an endowment in your honor at a local school or non-profit. Or, regardless of financial circumstances, you can put in the effort to record your memories for your children, grandchildren, or future family members. Consider taking time for an ongoing effort to write down your life story and your philosophies on life, maybe a few hours a week until it’s complete. Or you can record details with a camera or tape recorder so your heirs have an audio copy or a video copy of your words, which could be especially appreciated decades from now. If you know anything about basic publishing, you can even create a bound book for your memories that also can be a family keepsake for generations. This could be a lasting treasure.
- Take classes. Going back to school isn’t just for young people. A community college in your area may make it easy to take classes without declaring a major or seeking any kind of degree. They may even have pass/fail programs or lectures specially designed for seniors that will provide interesting information without requiring a full academic workload. Or if you’re unable to or unwilling to visit a physical campus, there are plenty of online courses that are affordable and either provide credit or just general knowledge. All of these types of activities can be quite stimulating for the brain. It could be an opportunity to learn something new, study a new subject, or find out something that you may not have studied much in the past.
- Connect (or re-connect) with family. This could be handled in all sorts of ways. You can learn about your larger family through various genealogy programs or genealogical programs in your community. Or you can reach out to family members you know, especially those you may not have been in contact with much in recent years. Perhaps you may have had a falling out with a sibling, cousin, or another person you may have been close with. But in this part of your life, when people have had all sorts of experiences, you can be the one to begin to patch things up. It may surprise them if both of you have been holding grudges for years, but it can make you feel good. You don’t have to be great friends but even clearing the air and making things right can help you overall.
This month is a perfect time to learn more about how to connect better with people at this point in your life.
Aug. 21 is National Senior Citizens Day, an observance in appreciation of the important role seniors can play in the world, as well as recognizing important seniors in people’s lives.