It was Katherine Hepburn who said that “Old age isn’t for sissies” and she knew what she was talking about! Getting older often means a series of losses, from loss of physical ability to loss of family and friends. However, it can also be an important time for reflection and for passing on your knowledge and experience to the next generation. As a Scottsdale home health care provider, we wanted to list a few simple lifestyle changes that can help promote cognitive and emotional health during one’s golden years:
- Become a Mentor. Older adults are a treasure trove of knowledge and skills gained over the course of a long life. Some of these skills are ones that are passing away in the present generation and could be lost forever. For instance, an older adult who has a passion for a certain hobby such as knitting or quilting, can volunteer at the local community center and pass down their knowledge to young adults. Not only do both parties benefit from these classes, these types of activities give something the senior to look forward to.
- Challenge Yourself. People of any age can fall into the trap of not learning to do things they have never tried before or that present a mental challenge. For the elderly, self-challenge can help keep cognitive ability strong, fight against dementia and memory loss and give a strong sense of self-worth. Do the crossword puzzle, even if it takes you all morning; sign up for a continuing education class in photography or ceramics or a foreign language. Whatever challenge you give yourself, meeting it will give an interest and a flavor to your life.
- Start a “Happy Book.” The “happy book” was the idea of a woman who was struggling with the loss of her husband. As part of her therapy, she decided to keep a daily journal in which she wrote down three things that made her happy that day. She said that some days it was difficult to find those three things. However, she also reported that this daily exercise increased her feeling of contentment and let her focus in on the positive things in her life.
These are just a few of the simple lifestyle changes you can make as you get older to help ensure that your golden years are interesting and meaningful.