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Lorrie Morales is a senior editor with LCCMedia

Happy Thanksgiving | Lorrie Morales

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     Gratitude is an attitude, and so after almost two years of lockdowns and isolation, people are ready to get back to that healthy lifestyle of celebrations, connecting with others and hope for the future.  There are so many reasons to be thankful in our world today. Despite the wars, floods and food shortages and rising costs of gas, goods and groceries, there is always reason to choose our attitude along life’s journey.

Caring for ourselves and others is something we can be grateful for at all stages of life. Practising thankfulness is also something we can incorporate into our daily lives. And so, aging purposefully helps create longevity so we can age well.  So, what are some purposeful ways to support and engage as we grow older?

In 2000, the Legacy Project was founded. 

This independent research project does community work in Canada and the United States. They reach out to people of all ages worldwide.  Psychiatrist Robert Butler’s theory of reminiscing about past life events became the foundation of life review, one of the resources the project provides.

This therapeutic approach increases self-esteem, confidence and quality of life and is especially beneficial for seniors.  This life review encompasses a person reflecting on different time periods in his or her life by exploring values, experiences, and milestones.  An individual can answer the questions or have someone interview him or her using the questions.   https://www.legacyproject.org/guides/lifeintquestions.pdf

Staying connected with others in our communities and with family and friends, not only benefits seniors but is beneficial to society at large.  Gerontology scholars agree that older adults contribute to society by giving wisdom, time, and skills and sharing invaluable experiences. 

Research has shown that those seniors who have more social support tend to be more emotionally stable and have greater resilience to illness and stress. Studies have also shown that being involved as a grandparent lessens depression and cognitive decline. 

Volunteering in community programs, schools and churches are also ways to contribute to physical, mental, and spiritual health.  According to Stats Canada, “seniors who are healthy devote a lot of time to volunteering.”  https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-008-x/2012001/article/11638-eng.htm

As people age, they tend to become more isolated because of retirement, fewer commitments or suffering the loss of loved ones; however, aging with optimism is really a mindset.  Loss of mobility or touch affects health.  Illnesses play a role, as well as society’s attitude toward the elderly. 

These issues can be helped by taking the initiative to improve one’s chapter of life.  Starting a thankful or daily gratitude list of three positives or things to be thankful for decreases stress.  Writing them in a journal each day keeps one focused on the positives.  Identifying certain times of the day or anniversary of the death of a loved one or certain holidays or celebrations can trigger loneliness or mood decline.  Recognizing those times can be helpful.  

Having hobbies and purpose is effective. 

Caring for a pet is a powerful human-animal bond connection that gets one outdoors and gives that positive emotional boost to the day. Seniors are more apt to be getting that extra physical exercise as well.  A friend recently told me that her cats give her so much joy. 

She acquired a little kitten, and her older cat seems to have a “new life” as they tangle together in play. Hobbies, crafts, and interests are activities that improve health as well.  Even taking up a new activity, such as learning a new musical instrument or language, benefits and builds one’s cognition.  

And so, physical, spiritual, and mental health over the course of one’s life are paramount as we age. Studies of older adults showed that individuals often experience high levels of satisfaction and well-being.  This phenomenon is known as “well-being or resilience paradox.” 

Despite the challenges that seniors encounter, aging is what happens when we live. So, take those opportunities to live well, and enjoy the little moments along the way by being thankful for the days we get to do so. 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                        

Lorrie Morales is an author and a senior editor with Ladiescorner.ca.   When she is not writing or editing, she looks after her grandson.

 

Read more here:

Conversations that Inspire | Seniors Magazine Out Now!

 

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