The International Council of Active Aging (ICAA) has long said that we should consider the way we age, and live to the fullest extent possible, within all areas of life. Living within the dimensions of life: physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, professional, and social, equate to living with purpose. Regardless of the generation you fall within; our goal is to age gracefully, with dignity, and independence. This can be summed up as the necessary ingredients to living life to its fullest.
Weaving a life with purpose, regardless of social status or health conditions, can be achieved if you consider the following:
Practice your work: Working as a community has become a creative way for local businesses to educate, and build community outreach programs that translate into business opportunities for the greater good. Volunteering within your community will inspire others around you. Dedicating a few extra hours a week to a cause that you feel passionately about, will help you stay active and mentally sharp. For those that have long been retired, but wish to still be engaged and stimulated, why not consider re-entering the job market. There are shining examples around Washington that still enjoy the benefits of retiring, with part-time positions. Wise employers see the benefits of hiring those that are 50 years and better. Companies that have a customer base that relies on consistency, and meaningful customer interaction, should look at seniors with certain skill sets as a diamond in the rough.
Greening up Your Life: With the increased interest and worldwide emphasis on sustainability and green practices, this is a global initiative that should not be overlooked. Everyone, regardless of age, can start simply. Consider purchasing an inexpensive grocery bag, which is sold at most locations, and is usually made of recycled products. They come in wonderful colors and designs, and have actually become a fashion accessory at local farmers markets. For those that love to garden, and enjoy the beauty and color of plants, ask your local gardening center about plants that are recommended for cleaning up indoor air. There are many varieties that you may find you already own. Lastly, think locally and from the ground-up. Look for retirement communities that have constructed a green building, or that have made major improvements to promote a more eco-friendly environment.
Challenge your Senses: Given that advancing age is often associated with a number of physical and mental changes, health for the body and mind are now very popular topics in todays news stories and magazines. Evident is the loss in strength, power, and skeletal muscle mass, along with an increase in fat mass. Staying active and open to attending programs, dedicated to improving senior mind-body harmony, is critical. If you enjoy social settings challenging your physical sense, this may be an ideal way to accomplish a new base of friends. Group programs that encourage the benefits of improved balance, flexibility, and overall feeling better, without a fear of falling, are good descriptor words to look for when considering attending new programs.
Exercise Your Communication Skills: The process of how information is exchanged between individuals is a critical component to remaining engaged in life throughout the decades. It can greatly affect our relationships, and ability to stay connected with others. Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1981), and Millennials (1982 – 2000) are three very influential generations. An understanding of the foundation and preferences for each generation, would help bridge a lot of communication gaps. Our Aging residents born prior to 1946, sometimes called The Greatest Generation or The Survivors, have a lot of experience in the art of communicating and story telling. We should all take notice, listen, and learn from these valuable tales. Conversely, seniors today should view this time as an opportunity to learn about the younger generations. Some simple strategies might be to take advantage of programs offering assistance in learning computer skills, playing interactive games and puzzles, and even joining the social networking craze i.e. Facebook. Picking up on this habit could help track grandchildren, children, and their friends social habits. However, the main benefit will be the ability to view photo albums galore of friends and family.
Considering all that you have witnessed throughout the decades, now is not the time to slow down. Rather, embrace it as the time to begin weaving the decades of your life together, and re-invigorating all of your senses to live life with PURPOSE.