“Wrinkles merely mark where smiles have been” – Mark Twain
People who make it to the ripe age of 70 or 80, or even 100, are survivors. Seniors survived many threats to their physical and psychological health, but through it all, they have triumphed. They are stronger, wiser, and have a mature perspective that only comes with age.
However, getting older often evokes feelings of anxiety, meaninglessness, and even depression. But there is no need for those feelings to take over your life. There are many things to be grateful for, and many things we can do that weren’t possible before. Thinking about the positive things that come with age can help us age gracefully and get the most out of our senior years.
Here are a few tips on what else we can do to embrace aging with poise:
1. Having a Home Caregiver
Many seniors opt for the assistance of a home caregiver. Having a home caregiver can help seniors preserve a sense of dignity and independence, improve their quality of life, and extend their life even further.
A home caregiver can also provide seniors and their family members with a level of security they won’t otherwise have so that seniors can keep on living their lives and doing things they enjoy without being overly concerned with their safety.
2. Soaking up Some Sun
Getting outside is good for one’s physical and mental health. It helps us to get a bit of exercise, it’s soothing to our senses, and is an important way to catch some vitamin D. Vitamin D improves the immune system, regulates cell growth, and promotes calcium absorption. According to the National Institute on Aging, spending 20 minutes per day out in the sun is enough time for most people to make the Vitamin D that is needed.
Our serotonin levels, which regulate our mood, appetite, sleep, and blood pressure, decrease with age. Less serotonin often means an increase in the rate of anxiety and depression. Exercise boosts our serotonin levels and also reduces the levels of cortisol, our stress hormone. Exercise can also prevent injury and treat symptoms of many diseases.
We’re never too old to for physical activities, but the types and amount of activities we do will change as we age. Excellent options for seniors are swimming, yoga, range of motion exercises, and going for a brisk walk. Even people who are bedridden can benefit from some exercise – with the help of a physical therapist or a home caregiver – to maintain range of motion and prevent bed sores.
4. Continuing to Do What We Love
To further combat the effects of decreased levels of serotonin, a good option is to keep doing the things we always loved to do. Our lives don’t stop when we retire or move into a senior care home. If you enjoyed painting, keep on doing it. If you loved to go to the theater, keep on going. Doing what we love keeps our minds occupied and will help to maintain a sense of self-worth. A family member or home caregiver can lend a helping hand if assistance is needed.
5. Staying Connected to Loved Ones
People who maintain broad social networks as they age have lower rates of dementia, according to many studies. Remaining connected with our family, friends, and the people in our communities is highly satisfactory. A support network can be built by getting involved at the community center or local organizations. If mobility restrictions are an issue, a loved one or a home caregiver can assist.
6. Keeping the Brain Active
The more the mind is challenged, the better the brain performs. Some ideas to keep the brain active include trying to learn something new each day, doing group activities, filling in Sudoku or crossword puzzles, or keeping a blog. Keeping the mind active can also help treat a variety of illnesses, including dementia and depression.
7. Accepting That Changes Are Inevitable
When we accept that life won’t stay the same forever, it’s much easier to manage changes and maintain a positive attitude throughout. We often lose sight of the benefits of aging: we don’t make as many mistakes as we did before, we are more secure in our beliefs and preferences, we have more self-confidence, and we don’t compare ourselves with others the way we did when we were younger. Approaching aging with a bit of humor will help us live life to its fullest.
8. Finding Meaningful Activities
Apart from continuing to do the things we love, we can also find new meaningful activities to fill up our days. When we retire, we’re often taken aback with the extra free time we suddenly have available. To avoid feeling a sense of meaninglessness, we can fill our days with meaningful activities and fun hobbies, like writing, traveling, charity work, or flying model airplanes.
9. Asking for Help
Being vulnerable is okay. As humans, we are social beings; we need to connect with others, and we need support from each other. Asking for help from friends, family, or a home caregiver does not make us weak, it makes us human.
Aging Gracefully Is Within Our Grasp
Our societies and the media often dictate how we should look, act, or feel as we age, and subconsciously that becomes part of what we believe to be true about aging. But that picture is often wrong. Only we can decide how we want to approach aging and how we want to live our lives. We can still live a full life – just take it a bit slower.
If you need the help of a home caregiver to assist you in aging gracefully, don't hesitate to get in contact with us.