What motivates you to get out of bed each morning? The answer is different for every single one of us, of course, but there’s one commonality: it may help you to live longer. Research is showing us that having a sense of purpose is an integral aspect in longevity, something evidenced in Japan – the country with the highest life expectancy on earth. The relationship between purpose and living longer is strong, and we should nurture that as we age.
Interestingly, there’s no word for our definition of “retirement” in the Japanese language. Instead, there is a focus on maintaining purpose and meaning beyond a person’s working years and defining themselves according to their current passions and pastimes.
So just how can we help seniors – and ourselves – stay involved with what ignites interest and makes a difference in the world around us? Here are some great ideas to get you started:
Nurture a sense of compassion for other people. There’s no shortage of suffering in this world, and there is something that each of us can do in some way to help lessen the struggles of someone else. Have a conversation with the older adults in your life about what or who touches their hearts in particular – homelessness, mental health, stray animals, single parents, veterans, etc. Channel that compassion into action by brainstorming ways to make a direct impact.
Focus on family. With many families living far away from each other, and even further separated recently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, take steps to close the gaps and bring family members closer together. Plan an outdoor family reunion or holiday gathering. Commit to a video chat or phone call with a different family member each week to reconnect and catch up on their lives. Focus on writing down your life story, and that of past generations, to share with children and grandchildren.
Redefine retirement. For a senior who is already retired from one career, consider another. Is there an unfulfilled dream that might be explored, such as earning a degree in a different field of interest? Investigate volunteer or part-time employment opportunities that provide the chance to learn something new while serving others.
Make time to play. Meaning and purpose can be found in lighthearted endeavors too! Hobbies, art, sports, travel, exploring nature, music, reading, and lots of other engaging and fun activities provide possibilities for self-expression and a more enjoyable life. Betye Saar, a 93-year-old artist, explains, “…the creative part of me is forever young.”
Atlanta Home Care Partners’ caregiving team is full of creative strategies to help older adults continue to take pleasure in a life of purpose and meaning as they age at home with our senior care in Norcross, GA and the nearby areas. Contact us any time online or at 404-228-0103 for additional tips and to get more information on our personalized in-home care for seniors.