HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
I have written three blogs with the same title before, as I feel that this is an important subject which will affect more and more people, as life expectancy has gone up and will further go up. So people will end up living a long innings as senior citizens. Here are the links for the previous blogs. Pardon me, a few points may get repeated but many brand new ones are added
Some people are lucky enough to help their parents grow old. Growing old is not easy. Those elderly people who are fitter than others and those who are financially independent may not realize this. But better fitness and financial independence make a lot of difference. There are small things that need to be handled but younger people forget to manage them in their busy schedule.
For example, main problems that elderly can have is their morning stuff in the bathroom. Every family has its own situations so there cannot be common solutions but thought process can be similar, to make life easier for elderly. Western and desi style of bathrooms is a discussion that always happens. With aching and creaking joints western option is always better and there should be grab bars! Another important aspect is to make bathrooms slippage free, if it is possible. One aspect is discipline but another thing is to have the tiles which are anti slippage type! Falling down and breaking bones of elderly is a difficult situation for the whole family as recovery period is quite long! Someone may require use of wheelchair. Small modifications need to be made in the house; carpets and rugs can hinder the movement of wheelchair. Are the doors in the home wide enough for wheelchair movement? Is your home having easy access like elevator/lift? These are small but very important things.
Issues that I observe these days is the awkward behavior of the children, not living with parents. When the grandchildren are young there is a need for support but once they start growing older, things can change. I know about a friend whose children buy their tickets for their yearly journey. I asked him his date of travel; he said, “I am traveling on 20th and my wife is traveling on 18th”! I was surprised with this. But he said their two sons did not coordinate with each other, they were sharing the expense. They got good deal on these two dates so…! How does it matter if they traveled separately! My friend gets bored after about three weeks stay. He mentioned this to his son; the son said, “Oh, daddy! We are spending so much money why not stay longer?” Value for money or Return on Investment or what?
What should the aging gang do?
The psychology of ageing is a cause for optimism in itself, with plenty of positives to look forward to in later life: happiness for one. While careers can peak in mid-life it’s also a time of maximum discontent, with the most difficult age hovering somewhere around 45. There can be a feeling of life not turning out the way you hoped or a sense of not achieving your potential. People are often caught up in their responsibilities at work and at home with the dual pressures of caring for children and ageing parents.
One of the advantages of age is that you experience less emotional volatility and become more comfortable with the presence of negative emotions. You’ve seen it all before and are no longer trapped on the rollercoaster of emotions that can hold you in its grip at a younger age. Older people are better at dealing with difficult emotions and moving on. There’s less psychological distress and they are less likely to succumb to depression and anxiety.
There’s no doubt that the fitter you are in body and finances, the better you will feel in later life. Positive ageing focuses on the psychological and emotional aspects of successful ageing to improve your well-being and build resilience to meet the challenges of the golden age.
My list of Happiness habits. (Naturally for you and me!)
Start using “thank-you therapy”, this is about tuning into the positives in your life and expressing gratitude for what you have gained rather than focusing on what has been lost in your advanced years. Happiness comes more from wanting what you already have rather than having what you want. Also start thanking people who have brought positives in your life and were supportive! Say thank you to everyone, before its too late!
Savour the positives
Slow down to smell the roses and truly appreciate life’s positives. Time seems to fly by as you get older, so make a virtue of being in the here and now to maximize enjoyment of those special moments. e. g. This year we traveled to the US for four hectic days, to attend graduation ceremony of our grandson! Positive reminiscence is a way of savoring the past – retelling the story of life’s peak moments and basking in all its glories. But don’t be a bore by telling too many stories! Gratitude and savoring go hand in hand, and are both ways of cultivating positive emotions.
Adopt an optimistic mindset
Optimists are better placed to challenge the overwhelmingly negative stereotypes of later life. They enjoy greater physical and psychological well-being and are more likely to cope positively when things go wrong. Optimists view their issues as transient, contained and something they have a measure of control over. If you catch yourself viewing something negatively, try to look at it from a different perspective – imagine what you might say to a friend who was experiencing the same problem. Advice and suggestions are not only for others but same apply to you too!
Live life with meaning
Later life is the time to give up bothering about the small stuff and concentrate on what’s truly important for you, whether that be about certain people in your life or causes you’re passionate about. My friend Ajit has started learning to sing, Sudhakar is cultivating his passion for paining, Jaya writes about her life experiences with various people who have been close to us in life, she shares these writings with them as a Thank You note! Pravin does professional singing shows! There is a deeper kind of happiness on offer which comes from serving a purpose that goes beyond the self. Having meaning and purpose in life is a route to this ‘eudaimonic’ well-being.
Eudaimonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯moníaː]), sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia /juːdɪˈmoʊniə/, is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, “human flourishing or prosperity” has been proposed as a more accurate translation.
Isolation and loneliness are an increasing risk as we age. Good relationships and active social lives are key to well-being – they are what the happiest people on the planet have in common. Reach out, create your community, invest in relationships, prioritize your loved ones and maintain your social networks.
Learn to let go
It’s best to travel light into later life, sure way to feel light is to throw away your Ego! Let go of what no longer serves you, forgive those who have hurt you in the past and move on from difficult situations. Decluttering your mind from the people and situations that no longer bring pleasure or well-being will clear the space for the new to come in.
Happy Aging! Want to add to the list? Donate, Give back to society! I could go on and on!