By Dr. Macie Smith
Is mindset the key to staying active as you grow older? SYNERGY HomeCare gerontologist Dr. Macie Smith explains why shifting how we think about aging is vital to staying active at any age.
As a society, we don’t embrace aging. In fact, we seem to do anything we can to resist it. But the reality is that aging is natural. It is an essential component of living. Accepting aging can go a long way in making the most of your entire life—not just the “young” years. Going one step further and being intentional about aging can make the difference between just existing and really living.
Coming to terms with aging
Unfortunately, coming to terms with aging is easier said than done. We have ingrained ideas about what it means to get old. We go along with these ideas because we don’t give ourselves permission to think differently.
That brings us to mindset. Do we lose strength as we age? Sure. Do our laugh lines get more pronounced? If we keep laughing, they certainly do. Do we have to take some medications to keep our motor running smoothly? Probably.
We need to view these developments as blessings some people don’t get to experience. Shifting how we think about aging is an important step in not letting the “idea” of old keep us from living the way we want to live.
Learning to adapt
So you don’t have the stamina to play 18 holes of golf anymore. Do you still love golf? Then think differently about how to keep playing. There’s no shame in using a golf cart or a caddy, playing nine holes or practicing your short game. You can even take the children in your life to play mini golf. There are so many benefits to engaging with the younger generation!
Even if you don’t play golf, this example can be applied to adapting any hobby or active pursuit to your current situation. Aging doesn’t have to change who you are or the things you are passionate about. You can adapt based on your abilities. You can be in control of the process. You are not allowing aging to control you.
Aging With Intention
Your aging process reflects your active state of mind, not the number of candles on your birthday cake. Dr. Macie Smith shares these three steps to help you be more intentional about aging:
- Make a list of the things you are passionate about.
- Put a plan in place to pursue those passions.
- Journal about the experience so you can be aware of how you are defining aging for you.
You define what aging means for you!
You may be familiar with the observation that people get so busy working “in” their business, they forget to work “on” their business. The same idea can apply to aging. You can simply pass the days getting older or you can work on your aging process while you are aging. Think about what you want aging to look like for YOU and go with that. Remember, you define aging; don’t allow aging to define you.
Dr. Macie P. Smith is a licensed gerontology social worker who is focused on helping families support their aging loved ones through long-term care. Specifically, Dr. Smith educates caregivers on how to care for seniors with dementia. She is an advocate for specialized care and assists others in finding a way to provide a better quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dr. Smith has dedicated over 22 years of her life working in gerontology and assisting families in finding personalized solutions for dementia care. For more articles by Dr. Macie Smith, go to https://synergyhomecare.com/blog/.
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