It is challenging to cope with transition, no matter how old you are. For elderly adults, the most notable changes are often seen as retirement, children move away, and health begins to decline, not only physically but mentally. Research has shown that adults in the United States still choose to retire around the age of 65.
However, many were later to report that they often took on a second career, mainly part time, to bring in extra money and to socialize (NewRetirement.com). By remaining in daily contact with peers or family within the community, aging can just be a number. By following these healthy life skills, you can be your best each day.
- Learn to cope with change — As we mature, both pleasure and tension situations are dealt with differently as we age. Building your resilience and identifying safe ways to meet challenges are critical. This skill can allow you to take advantage of the good times and to retain your balance when times are challenging.
During uncertain times, it is especially important to utilize and practice calming activities that have worked before:
- Cook a good meal
- Read a book
- Watch a comedy on television
- Listen to music
- Call a friend
- Reflect on the things you are most grateful for – When life slows down, often, these are the moments that one can reflect. This can be as simple as enjoying the birds outside your window or feeling proud that you were able to walk to the store and back. It has been reported by the Mental Health America Association that, “remember to congratulate yourself for any successes. Achieving goals – even small ones – is a sign of hope and accomplishment.”
- Recognize your emotions and express them – While it might be easier to keep anxiety or sad thoughts bottled up as “I don’t want to bother anyone” mentality, this will only cause more issues, such as not sleeping well. When you are active within your community, it is beneficial to reach out to a friend. You will likely find they feel those same thoughts too. By bouncing ideas off each other can bring balance again to your daily life.
- Looking for the silver lining — As a person ages, they come to appreciate the smaller things in life. Studies conducted on the elderly have shown that during the most active years of a person’s life, when questioned, they were unable to give memories in detail. However, it was shown that as one ages, memories become more vivid. This is also a good time to document these moments for family. Keeping the mind active and happy, brings better overall health.
- Stay active – By walking with a friend, studies have shown we are three times more likely to get moving. Exercising with others can bring goals and rewards you can all achieve together. Even walking around the garden is beneficial. Check with local gyms for senior classes which often offer many levels of exercising.
- Do not forget to laugh — For the body and the mind, laughter is effective medicine. A study conducted by the United States Preventive Medicine showed that “adults laugh on average 17 times per day. While this may seem high, a child laughs up to 300 times per day”. By socializing with friends and family multiple times per week has shown that mental health remains more content when one feels included and anxiety free.
Remember this is the time for you to enjoy your earned retirement years. Work on your bucket list. Call your friends. Make dinner for your neighbor. Sleep well.
As Mark Twain famously quoted, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”