North American culture tends to portray aging in a more negative light and often encourages people to fight the aging process at every step. In many other parts of the world, the idea of aging is celebrated and respected, with seniors typically regarded for their wisdom and life experience. Of course, it’s much easier to stay positive about aging if you embrace the idea and view aging as a positive experience. That’s really the key to positive aging.
What is Positive Aging?
The idea of positive aging challenges perception and aims to change the way we think about age. Instead of fighting the signs of aging, it’s about embracing them. This involves every aspect of life and includes both physical and mental wellness practices. If your loved one doesn’t seem to have a very positive outlook when it comes to aging, there are things that can be done to shift gears and start thinking more positively.
Accentuate the positive
You’ve likely heard people speak about the power of positive thinking before. As it turns out, positive thoughts can actually be pretty powerful! It’s common for seniors to feel a bit down when they experience physical ailments that come with getting older, especially if they have trouble getting around, as this can lead to loneliness and isolation.
To combat this and lift their mood, focus on things that are going well for them in your conversations. Gently guide the conversation towards positive thoughts and emotions. To get them in the habit of keeping those positive thoughts coming, get them to start a gratitude practice. It’s a relatively simple and small habit that can truly have a massive impact. Suggest they start a gratitude journal, where they write down things they are grateful for at the end of each day. Another good tactic to practice is to follow up every negative thought or emotion with a positive one. Sometimes it feels good to voice the negative thoughts, but it’s better to always end each one with something positive.
Keep it moving
Physical exercise has been proven to have an incredible effect on mood in people of all ages but is especially true for seniors. We know that body movement is essential when it comes to staying healthy and making your body happy. However, it can also trigger all sorts of feel-good chemical reactions in the brain, which does wonders for the mind. Exercise can make seniors feel strong and more independent and is a great way to stay social. Encourage them to join an exercise class or schedule a regular time to walk with you or a friend. At Bria Communities, we offer a range of group exercise classes for residents and always encourage people to move a little each day.
Stay connected to others
It’s common for many seniors to isolate themselves, especially if they live on their own. If you want to stay positive and combat loneliness, it’s important to stay connected. If you happen to live close by, schedule regular visits with your loved one. One on one time is invaluable when it want your loved one to feel connected and appreciated. If you can’t physically visit often, pick a regular time to chat on the phone or have a video chat. It’s also a good idea to encourage them to stay social and see friends often. At Bria Communities, we understand the importance of social connections for seniors. Every week we have fun social events where residents can spend time with their friends and meet new ones too! Our residences are also designed to be social spaces, with communal dining rooms, and large common areas with plenty of places to sit and chat.
It’s easy (and understandable) for seniors to feel frustrated about getting older from time to time. However, it’s important for everyone to ensure they don’t always feel that way. Aging is a beautiful thing and the senior years can be just as fun and exciting as our younger years. When we shift the way we all think about getting older, positive aging will come a little more naturally to everyone.