Views on Aging

Active SeniorsWhile aging is a natural process and inevitable as time goes by, individuals react very differently to becoming older. One’s perspective on aging may have the greatest impact on how aging occurs. Although ageism can exist in popular culture, the work place, families, and other environments, ageism can also exist in one’s own beliefs. As people get older, they can start to think that they do not offer as much value to others and are a drain on family and society as a whole. This can also lead to decreasing or eliminating self-expectations, which results in a decline in activity and a belief that one can do less and less for oneself and others.

Unfortunately, becoming less active and more isolated can result in a decline in cognitive and physical functioning levels. The truth is that people can contribute to society and find purpose throughout life, regardless of age. According to AARP, persons over 50 years of age contribute 7 trillion dollars to the economy.¹ This is a group with a strong work ethic that often find another career or part-time work during retirement. The Los Angeles Daily News reported that how well a person ages derives 70% from lifestyle and 30% from genetics.² This indicates that there is a significant amount of control over how we age. Even later in life, changes in nutrition and exercise can have a huge impact on the aging process as well as contributing to a positive attitude and a sense of purpose.

While companies advertise products that will slow the aging process, it seems that there are less expensive, proven methods that can help. Improved nutrition with a balanced diet, drinking more water and limiting alcohol intake, not smoking, physical activity, and a positive attitude have been reported to limit the effects of aging. The Wall Street Magazine - Wellness, encourages meditation to increase longevity.³ Better Health While Aging reports that chronic illness, social losses, and lack of interaction with others diminishes cognitive and physical abilities, as well as one's resilience to stress. However, finding activities that have value and finding satisfaction in at least one area of life can combat decline due to aging. Overall, having a positive attitude about aging, feeling able to contribute, and having purpose is paramount.

Many older adults volunteer as a way of contributing to society. AmeriCorps Seniors through RSVP of SI in our area continues to utilize senior volunteers in many different ways that assists local communities. There are volunteers delivering meals to homebound individuals, making blankets for nursing home residents, writing cards and letters to those seniors who do not have much outside contact, and helping out at food pantries and schools when in session. Our office also has a Senior Employment program for those interested in finding a job. There are many activities for seniors wanting to be active in their community. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering or finding work, you can call our office at 888.895.3306. Regardless, older adults should find what they are passionate about or what is important to them and continue involvement in that activity.

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Sources:
¹ AARP.com.
² Daily News.com.
³ WSImag.com.
Better Health While Aging.net.


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