When we interviewed Mary Rather NP, on what her advice to aging gracefully is based on her 20+ years experience in hospitals and acute adult care nursing homes she gave very simple answers to the complex problem of aging. Her formula for aging gracefully was to exercise 3 or more days per week, get your nutrition in check, go see your Chiropractor, and learn how to deal with stress. Her personal mantra is “anything is possible”, “I’ve beaten cancer and diabetes through a mind over matter approach and taking small, manageable steps every day that lead towards a healthier future.”
There are very few negatives about aging if you really think about it. The experience, knowledge, and the resilience gained through years of trials and tribulation should be enough to make you look forward to aging. Aging with a negative mindset can only serve to fuel pessimistic behavior and mindset. Instead of worrying about the woes of aging, we should be proud of the physical and emotional attacks that come from a life that you have survived. Through good luck or good genes (even bad genes) or both, the old have dodged fatal accidents, premature disease, and other things that kill the young. You are stronger, and you get to live longer.
Aging is the one disease that will affect virtually every person on the planet. The real trick in treating aging is doing it with grace and style because there is no treatment for it. With it being impossible to prevent effects of time on the body, there are silver linings to be found. It should be pointed out that aging is inevitable, so why let it bog you down? Accept the inevitable changes of aging, rather than seeing them as aberrant crises. During the course of his career, Illinois psychologist Mark Frazier, PsyD, has worked with thousands of older people ages 65 to 105. Again and again, he has seen an important key to psychological health: accepting that your life won't stay the same.
Aging changes everyone and if you don't have important things out in front of you, there is enough about the aging process that is not positive and you can get caught up in what you don't like about it. Part of the challenge of aging gracefully is that you have to continue to find things that are important to you. Continue to find meaning in life. One way to succeed at this is to plan for purposeful activities before you retire. Plan that vacation you have always been talking about, plan to pursue your life’s dreams and ambitions. You have a wonderful opportunity to reinvent yourself after retirement, do it! It should be a transition. It shouldn't be, 'Stop work one day and fall off a cliff.' With this new found free time, fill your life with passion. Maybe this is taking up that hobby you’ve always had an interest in, but never enough time to actually pursue. It could be exercising more, learning to cook, gardening, hiking, pleasure reading, or practicing meditation and mindfulness.
You are also never too old to set goals. I don’t subscribe to that old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. That does not seem fair to those who are open-minded about learning new things and growing. You may never be able to beat your personal best time in that turkey trot 5k race when you were 40 years old, but you can still train to set a new personal best at age 70. Without goals, you can fall into a woe-is-me way of thinking. I’ll never be like I once was, I’ll never be who I once was. It’s true. If you were the same person you were 40 years ago have you become better?
02/20/19 • 33 min
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