In May, the Administration for Community Living leads our nation’s observance of Older American Month. If we live long enough, we will be an older American. Some people try to hold it off, but it’s a reality that we can’t avoid.
We choose our attitude about aging, and how we handle it. The later years should be a time to enjoy the benefits of living a long, productive life. Staying active, continuing to have dreams to accomplish and moving forward are all helpful.
Interacting with friends and family, traveling or whatever you desire. Even if finances prohibit doing some of the things you want to do, there are always local options that may be free. Senior citizen centers and religious organizations often have outings and opportunities to socialize. Buses may be available to pick up and drop off those who no longer drive.
We must remember that although our health and other situations may limit some activities, we need to do what we can. If we can’t jog anymore, let’s walk. If we can’t get out as often, call and talk to someone on the telephone. Keep our bodies and minds moving as much as possible.
One health benefit that doesn’t cost money is laughter or a smile. Watch a TV program or listen to a tape or the radio on topics that lift your spirits. Keep yourself motivated and avoid pity parties as much as possible.
Inside we may feel as if we are 20 years old and don’t understand why we are being treated as elders. Young people just don’t get it, but if they live long enough, they will. As parents and relatives die, we become the older generation and we have experience and wisdom we can pass along to the younger generations.
Unfortunately, some seniors are being abused or exploited. If you are aware of the abuse, please contact law enforcement or Adult Protective Services. Elder abuse is a horrific crime and we all need to pay attention to our friends and neighbors. If there is concern that someone needs help, but you are not sure, law enforcement can be called to conduct a welfare check.
Betsy’s rules for older life: Don’t give up, rest when needed, exercise, read, interact with loved ones and friends. Avoid mirrors and keep your sense of humor. Life is for the living and we need to keep going as long as possible.