Are We Doing It Right?

Over the years, I’ve wondered if how I manage my life, including my health and well-being, is the right way for a person my age. There are, after all, not many fact-based textbooks on the methodology of aging well. There are no primers of step-by-step ways to navigate our seniordom that guarantee the maximum contentment and prosperity.

I’d appreciate a few guide posts along the way to see if I’m aging pretty well or if I’ve run off into some ditch with all the ‘doing a good job’ markers in a heap behind me. Wouldn’t you be curious too? Are we supposed to sail along pretending to know the best way to show our curiosity or gratitude or fear?

While there is no ‘official guide,’ studies conducted by geriatricians (doctors dealing with older folks) show a few trends that identify some practices and attitudes that may aid us in the aging-well process. Here are a few suggestions:

Continue to Learn

Because we’re no longer in school or the workplace, the number of opportunities to learn are reduced or nonexistent. Plus, opportunities shouldn’t be limited to social media and the internet, per se. Too much fake and AI-generated info there. Educational opportunities as well as games, exercise classes, and musical studies are all available inexpensively at local community-based programs for seniors. Learning helps generate new pathways in the brain.

Join a Gang

No, not that kind – the fellowship pack kind among individuals who think like you and who agree with and defend most of what you’re all about. This level of community support is invaluable especially when times are turbulent and just plain crazy (which they feel like these days, right?). Socializing benefits your emotional well-being and your interaction muscle, also known as your brain. Stimulation, be it a book club, or a one-on-one shared meal prevents us from going to sludge.

Make Your Health a Priority

It’s boring but moving your body and eating well show up on every list of positive things to do to keep yourself alert, emotionally grounded, and living longer. There are a ton of easy-to-follow exercises to do in your living room, from a chair, even a wheelchair, or from your bed. All movement helps. You don’t need to spend money to reap the benefits of moving your body.

Have Fun

Do things you enjoy doing … unless, of course, that mainly focuses on sitting on your tush, drinking a gallon of coffee (or other libations) and complaining to whomever will listen about things you cannot change and probably know little about.

What makes you laugh out loud? What things do you enjoy doing by yourself, that aren’t expensive, that you can do in your home, that aren’t weather dependent? No matter what your activity level is, there are things to do that you’ll enjoy. Finding those things will ensure that you’re ‘doing it right.’

Finally …

It’s never too late to try some of these suggestions even if it’s for the first time. Begin where you are and know that there’s no right or wrong way to increase your awareness about what will help you know in your heart that you’re doing the aging thing as well for yourself as possible.