Vignettes in Aging – Adapt

The key to old age is the ability to adapt. It’s as simple as that.

Without the ability to change as life changes, we become stiff and immovable. We become rooted in the past. That being stuck position is where our eventual characterization as being an old curmudgeon comes from.

Along with independence and cognitive functioning, adaptability is considered a major hallmark of successful aging.

Baring adaptability, an elder may be unable to go after any of the other components of successful aging, which include:  social functioning, life satisfaction, maintaining one’s purpose, learning new things, maintaining one’s health and physical appearance, and effective coping strategies. The ability to adapt to people, situations and surroundings affords people a greater opportunity to get what they want and what they need. 

How can we as senior citizens continue to be open to change and more able to adapt as we age? The best way to improve adaptability is to realize that it’s a choice.

Hopefully, no one is forcing you to change, update, or let go of something but rather it’s you realizing that your life will be greatly enhanced if you are able to go with the flow instead of resisting anything new or different that comes into your life. Until you get the hang of greater adaptability, perhaps it’s good to make a pro/con list of any situation. For instance, are you continuing to work because the thought of retirement is too frightening? You’d have to adapt to a whole new set of circumstances – a complete life makeover – if you retire. A list of the pros and cons might help you see the value in adapting to the newness of any situation, big or small.