Each day almost 10,000 U.S. residents turn 65 years of age. Those 65 and older will make up roughly 20 percent of the total U.S. population by the end of this decade. It is important to keep this population active and engaged so that they thrive. One of the key components to making this happen is to promote a healthy, positive attitude towards aging.
There are many widespread misconceptions about aging that need to be re-examined:
1. Seniors lose interest in the outside world and do not need close relationships. No matter our age, humans are social animals and need connection. This need for meaningful relationships does not abate with age. It does become more difficult however, as some of the friends and family pass away. It may be more challenging to make new friends. Many seniors are finding that the use of technology can counteract some of the loneliness and help them stay engaged with others.
2. As you age, you get more and more set in your ways. Keeping similar routines and maintaining consistent daily habits may help some seniors maintain their independence longer; however, that does not mean they are not open to trying new things and up for an adventure from time to time. Encouraging elderly family members to travel to visit relatives, attend family get-togethers or simply try a new restaurant will help provide much needed stimulation and enjoyment. A change of scenery often helps elevate mood so suggest trying something fun and different.
3. Physically slowing down and mental decline are inevitable. To some extent this may be true, but there are ways to stay healthy longer. Maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and doing activities that stimulate the brain will help prevent some of this slowing down process.
4. Seniors cannot make decisions for themselves. Unless a medical doctor has performed a variety of cognitive tests and determined that the senior lacks capacity to understand and make decisions that would be in his or her best interest, then it is wise to allow the person to provide input in decisions. A lifetime of education and experience should not be overlooked.
5. Regardless of a senior’s attitude, they cannot stop the aging process. While our bodies continue to age, a recent study from Yale University shows that perceptions on aging do impact longevity and ability to thrive. Participants who answered questions more positively outlived those who answered more negatively by an average of 8 years. The seniors with a positive bias were also more likely to participate in preventative health care and make better choices about diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Having positive perceptions about aging, maintaining close relationships, staying active and making your own decisions leads to longevity and vitality. At Stouffer Legal we care about our seniors. To help a senior loved one with long-term care planning, estate planning or developing a care plan, contact the elder law attorneys today. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.