Creating Quality Life for Seniors
“The trouble is, old age is not interesting until one gets there. It is a foreign country with an unknown language to the young and even to the middle-aged.” May Sarton, As We Are Now
Just because we may lose some of our memory and our independence as we get older, this doesn’t mean that we lose our intelligence or the desire and ability to socialize and truly enjoy the sunset years of our lives. We still have opinions and know what we want to include in our lives.
A recent study by AARP found that 85% of older Americans want to age in the home they lived in before retiring. Experts in the field of geriatrics believe this percentage will increase as the baby-boomer generation reaches their senior years. Statistics also indicate that people actually live longer in their homes especially if they have the services they need, a caring community and friendships. We certainly don’t want our seniors to be isolated or alone by choosing to live in their own home.
As a nation we are not organized in a way that makes aging easy. But we can improve the dignity and quality of life of senior citizens in our communities by involving them in the choices that they can make on a daily basis. Seniors can learn about their community and what is happening in our world from others. Caregivers can also work with them to learn something new each day – no matter how small that one thing is. Time should be scheduled daily to relieve stress by reducing noise, praying, meditating or just being quiet.
Many studies have shown that movement and activity are important in maintaining mind and body. Seniors should move naturally in regular low-intensity physical activity on a daily basis. And we all know how important it is to enjoy our food and eat only until full.
Most importantly one must be involved in community – spiritual, friendship and family communities. In his book The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner details the importance of this through his studies of the four areas of the world where people live active lives into their 100s. Each of these areas has strong spiritual, family and community ties among their citizens. We all should take an active part in providing more than just services for the elderly – but also friendship, companionship and in creating opportunities for interaction with others on a regular basis.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Linda Gabel of Seniors Helping Seniors. She may be reached at 970-631-8251 or www.seniorshelpingseniors.com/LarimerCountyCo