SENIORS:AVOID DYING WITH REGRETS

Mar 4th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Seniors Live With Regrets

When seniors know they are dying, it is not uncommon for them to talk about what they regret. When an elderly woman was dying, she asked her four daughters to forgive her all the things she did wrong.  They were filled with the grief of losing her and didn’t know what she meant until much later, when they realized she regretted some of the things she did in relationship with them that she considered ‘wrong’.
Seniors often make a checklist to address things they need to do to prepare for their death.  One item on the checklist should be to review their life for regrets, and make conscious choices to change what they can to minimize the regrets.

People who work in palliative care often hear their hospice patients talk about their regrets.  Bonnie Ware wrote an article recently for AARP, that talked about regrets seniors have when they know death is near.  Based on the Ware article, here are five suggestions for seniors to consider to avoid dying with regrets.

Avoid Dying With Regrets

  • Make choices that lead to fulfilling as many of your dreams as possibleWare said not doing this is the most common regret of all. My aunt knew she was a likely candidate for Alzheimer’s.  When she turned 50, she began taking flying lessons, a dream she had all her life.  She learned to fly before Alzheimer’s was diagnosed, and was happy her dream was realized.  It’s all about the choices you make.
  • Don’t put work first in your life.  Put family and friends first so you can enjoy their successes and be there when they need you.  When my father was dying a couple of months ago, a hospice worker asked what he’d done (for a living), and Dad replied, “I did the best I could.” He died a happy man because he knew he put his family first; he provided well for us and we knew how important we were to him.
  • Express your feelings. A lot of people, to this day, don’t know how to express their feelings well.  They suppress displeasure and anger because they try to avoid discomfort with others.  We all know those kinds of repressed feelings can lead to physical illness and the stress of trying to manage the repression.  Stating how you feel leads those who love you to try to understand and participate in moving your relationship to a healthier place.
  • Stay in touch with your friends.  Research is clear: the elderly live healthier and happier lives when social relationships with friends are a significant part of living.  When you are dying, you will likely want to have your friends nearby.  They provide love and comfort that you will need then.  Nurture your friendships now.  Keep friends close. Always.
  • Be happy.  Happiness is a choice.  It is not something that happens to you.  Happiness is not controlled by someone or something external to your being. Choose happiness. Choose to laugh.  Choose to surround yourself with life experiences of happiness.  Don’t enter your last days wishing you had been a happier person.  Make the choice now.

The only way you will meet death without regrets is to make conscious choices now to live without regretsExamine your life and make changes now that will ensure your living a happier and more content life, without regrets.

 



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