The older we get, the more changes we experience. From retirement to illness to loss of friends and loved ones, there are many changes unique to aging, and many seniors are unprepared for these changes in lifestyle. Old age may take a toll on our well-being and it’s important for seniors to connect with their inner purpose, with the goal to lead a fulfilling life.
Everyone’s definition of purpose is going to be subjective, and what works for one person may not work for another. There are many ways for seniors to find their fulfilment in life, whether it be through hobbies, activities, goals, or projects.
Studies have found that leading a meaningful and purposeful life has positive effects on aging, physical health, relationships, and use of time for older adults. It was found that those living a more meaningful life were associated with having less loneliness, more social engagement, higher levels of prosperity, and overall better mental and physical health. Greater purpose has also been linked to less chronic pain, obesity, and central adiposity, and more favorable biomarker profiles, like white blood cell count, vitamin d, c-reactive protein, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Having meaning can also lead to stronger cognitive abilities for aging adults as well. This study found that those showing a higher sense of purpose performed better on episodic memory and speed of processing, reported better health levels, had fewer depressive symptoms, and reported lower levels of functional disability.
As mentioned, no two people will have the same purpose or meaning behind their life, so the path will be different for everyone. There are, however, a few ways you can start to help the senior in your life to exercise their mind. To start, what activities or subjects are enjoyable for them? Depending on their existing conditions, you may need to modify certain activities for them, which is something an experienced care management team can help with. We’re familiar with many different accommodations or modifications to help make activities more enjoyable for your seniors.
When you get older, your social circles change and many seniors detach from their friends, families, or acquaintances for a variety of reasons, which can lead to isolation or loneliness. This loneliness can contribute to seniors losing their sense of purpose. Staying connected and scheduling valuable time with friends and family can help seniors feel needed, and purposeful.
Getting too comfortable in a routine can lead to discontentment with life, and many older adults benefit from changing their routines. It’s common for elderly adults to fall into a routine either out of complacency or necessity, and this can be detrimental to their emotional and physical health. Engaging in new activities, meeting new people, or seeing new places often help contribute to a more fulfilled life.
Unleashing your creativity is potentially another great way to break up this routine. Creative activities such as drawing or painting, making music, dancing, or writing can all be beneficial for seniors. The more places we go, people we speak with, or media we engage with inspire our creative outputs, and inspiration can come from the most unlikely of sources.
Our mindset can determine a lot about how we age. It can be easy to fall into the negative struggles of aging, such as physical difficulties, pain, or loss, however taking time to focus on having a positive mindset can help us live a happier life. Letting go of expectations and developing gratitude can lead to a positive open mind, and a more meaningful life.
Finding your sense of purpose does not have to be difficult. Our team works with aging adults every day to help them live a meaningful and purposeful life. If you or your loved ones are struggling with these or other aging related concerns, reach out to us by phone at 803-215-1019 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to assist!