Good News for Growing Old

The Importance of Being Socially Active

A recurrent theme in the news about growing old seems to be that of remaining socially active. After reading an article called Meet Margaret the Super Ager, whose brain is defying the aging process, I realized that many people, just like my grandma, have actually beat the odds of developing dementia in their old age, in some cases without even following the protocol of watching their diet and following a regular exercise routine. I saw this lack of routine in my grandmother as well. She wasn’t able to exercise while being confined to a wheelchair and rarely left the confines of her room when her eyes gave way to cataracts. She continually wrote letters to relatives, listened to her favorite preachers on the radio, and kept informed of the latest news. For hours she could provide narratives of stories of relatives who interested her and what was happening in the world. She was alert and cognizant until her last days. She lived into her 90’s.

Recently, I finally took the time to meet some of these families my grandmother kept in contact with. They had a very warm, friendly attitude towards my father and myself in spite of some rather negative interactions with just one other family member. They made it a point to share their life and wanted to know about my family they had never met. It was no surprise to me that most of the elderly in this family were living well into their 80’s and 90’s as well.

I have also seen evidence of how social contact has proven helpful in improving the quality of life of my own father who is 86 years old. He always said that a good attitude is what has kept him going in spite of all of the curveballs life has thrown at him, such as my mother’s sickness and recent death. He decided that the main benefit of staying in an assisted living facility would be that of socialization. I believe that even though he doesn’t always participate in the social activities, he finds comfort in just sitting in the dining room and sharing a meal with others who enjoy the good food his facility has to offer. I just couldn’t imagine him being alone after my mother’s death. I am glad he made the decision to allow others to care for him.

Social Media Tools

Are you or a loved one living alone with little to no social interactions? Let my story be an encouragement to you and to them to explore the possibilities within your church or your community for finding social activities you might enjoy. One way to connect with your community can be through an online resource like Nextdoor. Because I live in a part of the US where fires are frequently occurring, many of my neighbors are finding it as a safety net as well.

Outside Activities

Volunteering is another way many retired and elderly are connecting with their community. I have a friend who finds it fulfilling to share her art and her training as an art therapy counselor. Helping others is always very fulfilling. Any sort of volunteer work within the community can be enjoyable.

Also, Just having fun with table games at the senior center or learning about something you never tried like gardening, can lift you up. I have always enjoyed going to the local farmer’s market and learning through the local farmers, who are eager to share their knowledge. Of course, I enjoy the convenience of having a book to refer to when learning new activities. So, I included a link on the picture next to this paragraph, to the best selling book on Amazon about gardening since I do not have a green thumb. Retirement is full of opportunities for exploring your local community and having fun with family and friends. So, go out there and have some fun!

How to Garden Best Seller

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