For many of us, thoughts of growing older are masked by fear and uncertainty. We may be unprepared for the time of life when we no longer have the responsibilities of a job or raising a family. You can, however, create a rewarding and challenging older adulthood through an honest approach to aging and some planning.
Maintaining a Positive Self-Image
A positive self-image may be the main ingredient to living well as an older adult. Feelings of a lack of accomplishment or low self-worth are common. While one may or may not be needed in the same manner as before, discovering new and meaningful activities with family and friends can be fulfilling.
The loss of independence can deal the biggest blow to one's self-image. Planning for the senior years include:
- Freedom to make your own decisions about how and where to live
- Retaining control of personal finances
- Coming and going as you choose
Maintaining a Social Network
A social network is extremely important as we get older. Social relationships enable us to be actively involved with the world. Dealing with loss is a common challenge during this stage of life. The loss of a spouse, family or friends can create a terrible void. Meeting new people may require special efforts such as:
- Joining groups
- Initiating a luncheon with a new acquaintance
- Reaching out to others
Healthy habits should be everyone's goal. Taking responsibility for your health is the first step in this process.
Exercise -- It's not too late to begin a program of regular exercise appropriate to your needs that can be sustained as you age. Check with your physician before initiating an exercise program.
Nutrition -- Healthy eating habits can play a tremendous role in how you feel every day. This can determine whether you have the energy to do the things you choose. You may want to discuss nutrition with a physician, nurse or a registered dietitian.
Stress -- Being aware of and managing stress is important.
Enjoy the Present -- Appreciate the present and look forward to the future. Cherish the rich fabric of your past without dwelling on that period as the only joyful time of your life. Value and respect experiences that have made you the person you are today.Practice Being Flexible: We may discover that familiar patterns of behavior cease to provide the satisfaction they once did. Try something new, take a class or start a different hobby.
The benefit of practicing these techniques may be rewarded with happiness and fulfillment. Be willing to take risks to feel better about yourself. Your happiness is worth it.