When most people think about aging, it’s not likely that they get very excited about it. We’ve been conditioned to think that aging is an uncomfortable, difficult process. While that notion isn’t entirely unfounded—aging adults tend to face more frequent or pervasive health problems and a sense of threatened independence—aging doesn’t have to be a battle. In fact, it can be more beautiful than challenging and for some it can bring a sense of newness. We’ll talk about that later, but first, let’s talk about what helps people to better accept the inevitable aging process.
A recent study showed that 89% of older adults and 84% of younger adults say they're confident they can maintain a high quality of life throughout their senior years. That’s what we like to hear—because at the foundation, optimism guides a better quality of life for everyone.
What additional behaviors and characteristics make a better quality of life for aging individuals?
Taking Charge of Your Health. There is no denying it—those adults who exercise regularly and eat well are better able to enjoy their senior years and maintain a greater level of independence. So, get out there and keep moving!
Staying Social. Surrounding yourself with friends and family is a key to continued enjoyment and an important source of support. Sure, there are probably times when you might find yourself down about the changes you are experiencing, but the best thing you can do is to avoid isolating yourself. Reach out to others, and join local groups or organizations that will help keep you active and engaged in your community.
Contentment with Your Situation. Yes, this can be a little trickier, because you may have no control over some of the changes that are occurring in your life. However, you do have control over how you respond to those changes. Make sure you aren’t passive about making decisions regarding your home, living situation or health. Take time to really think about alternatives that can work for you, if your ideal is not available.
Being Prepared. 77% of respondents in the aforementioned study plan to stay in their current homes for the rest of their lives. The majority of these people have a plan. They either already have a home that is modified for aging or they plan to make modifications to accommodate the aging process. You can further prepare by researching and deciding on the in-home care agency that you prefer, in the case that you will need in-home care. In this way, you are taking charge of the inevitable and making it easier to continue to live the way you prefer.
If you practice these behaviors, you might be surprised out how your perception of aging changes—and you’ll be well on the road to happy senior years.