As the days grow shorter, and the leaves blaze with fall colors, it is time to renew body and spirit and to make commitments and decisions that support healthy living. Many older adults have spent years sacrificing and storing goods and resources for the “autumn years.” Yet, when it is time to access those resources, to make positive changes, it feels unnatural for many to focus on their own needs rather than those of their family members or friends and neighbors. In reality, the gift of putting oneself first can be the most important gift to loved ones.
Healthy aging requires evaluating the components that determine the quality of each experience, each day, and each opportunity to thrive not just survive. Most adults admit a desire to maintain control over their lives. In order to preserve control, though, it is important to be surrounded by individuals and environments that support one’s goals and resources. Here are a few questions designed to help evaluate your situation.
How strong am I? Are you strong enough to get through the requirements of each day? If not, try to determine what it would take to make that possible. Downsizing, taking advantage of available transportation support; assistance with housekeeping or exterior home chores might all be part of the solution. Lifestyle changes also may play a role; exercise, nutrition, and rest are three areas to explore.
How happy am I with my relationships with friends, neighbors, and family? When our peer group changes, we are often left with a schedule void of meaningful interactions, shared confidences and plans, and spontaneous moments. Those valued moments may be replaced by empty hours. If that is the case, it may be time to reach out for new activities, liaisons, and/or social opportunities.
Do I have trusted advisors? Doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, and spiritual leaders are critical to our well-being and informed decision making—not to mention helpful for a good night’s sleep. Individuals serving in these roles are not guaranteed a lifetime appointment. Evaluate the results of these important relationships, and don’t be afraid to make changes, if needed.
What else can I do to support a healthy aging process? Sharing your life wisdom and skills is vital to your well-being as well as the well-being of those around you. Stay connected. Give back to others. Use your valuable attributes and enrich others’ lives ... reach out for those opportunities.
Touchmark provides opportunities to connect with all of the support and services needed to answer these questions with a positive response and outcome. Contact us for additional information on opportunities—both to give and receive services.