A Life Well-lived: What Every Older Adult's Golden Years Should Look Like
You would think old age would be the best time to travel and enjoy life without worrying about anything else but enjoying life's little pleasures.
Yet many older adults are living in retirement homes or assisted-living facilities---not because they have to but because it is expected.
What if you could live your golden years however you please? Would you be willing to put in a little more effort now so that you can enjoy your later days with autonomy and dignity?
In this article, we're going to go over what ageing in place is all about as well as five easy steps you can take now so that your golden years live up to the name.
What is Ageing in Place?
Ageing in place is a concept that has been around for decades. It's the practice of seniors staying in their own homes---or a home of their choice---as they grow older for as long as they are capable of doing so.
To be clear, ageing in place is not just about prolonging life---it's about preserving dignity and autonomy.
Of course, ageing in place will come with some drawbacks. Some will need to downsize or even move homes when they start having difficulty taking care of themselves. To age in place, it's also likely you will have to possess financial freedom.
However, if you plan and take the necessary steps now, ageing in place is a lifestyle that every older adult should consider living at least for some part of their later years---if not all of them.
If you are interested in ageing in place, here are our five tips to make the most of your golden years:
Always Keep in Touch with Friends and Family
Growing older doesn't mean becoming distant from the people you care about.
In addition to providing help during emergencies, keeping a strong network of loved ones is extremely important for seniors so that they don't feel lonely or isolated.
This can be as simple as talking on the phone more often---or arranging visits from to time. You can also learn new technologies like video calls or instant messages to make it easier for your friends and family to keep you updated.
Maintaining a social life will keep their spirits up and also give you peace of mind knowing that someone is always available to help
Give Back to Your Community
Seniors have a ton of knowledge and experience accumulated throughout the years.
Giving back to society can be as simple as sharing your wisdom and knowledge with the next generation by teaching them a new craft or hobby---or giving advice that they might need for day-to-day problems.
Volunteering is another great way to give something back because it allows seniors to stay busy, active, and involved in their community.
Not only will volunteering make seniors feel good about themselves, but it also allows them to have a greater sense of purpose that can help them live longer and decrease the risk for dementia or other mental issues down the line. Volunteering also helps seniors socialize with one another and stay connected to the community.
Look into churches, schools, or any other community organizations you feel comfortable with for volunteer opportunities.
Learn New Things
Older adults who are ageing in place can also keep their minds sharp by learning new crafts or skills.
You don't even need to take classes because there are plenty of tutorials online that seniors can learn from at their own pace---and they're free!
Some examples include cooking, painting, gardening, dancing, and playing musical instruments.
Despite most surveyed seniors identifying "learning new things" as one of their most eagerly anticipated activities in their later years, many seniors balk due to a lack of confidence.
The good news is, contrary to the popular idiom, seniors' brains are capable of learning new things well into their later years.
So don't be shy about trying something new. One of the main perks of being a senior is that it's harder to get embarrassed about failing---you've proven enough in your younger years, so now is the time to go for broke.
Listen to Your Body
The golden years don't last forever so seniors need to take care of their health by eating right, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep at night---among other things like visiting the doctor or dentist regularly.
Getting older doesn't mean that you have to feel sick all the time or that you don't deserve a great quality of life.
Seniors can maintain their health and wellness by listening to their bodies, which is one of the most important things they should do as they age in place.
Remember that a senior's health can change in a moment.
Pay close attention to how you feel. At this point in your life, you probably know everything about your body, so try to watch out for things that don't feel right to you, like limb rigidity or extreme absent-mindedness, and head to the doctor immediately.
Keep Your Mind Active
Just like ageing in place is crucial for seniors, so is keeping their minds active and engaged.
This doesn't just mean continuing to work or volunteering---it means challenging yourself with new experiences that will keep your brain stimulated.
Some examples include learning a new language, taking classes at the local community college (many offer free courses!), traveling to new places, or playing mental games such as Sudoku and crosswords for solitary seniors, or chess and bridge for seniors who want to socialize with others.