Productive Aging: Are You Kidding?

Jun 16th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Senior Citizen Journal touts itself as “Your Partner in Productive Aging”.  Not a bad claim.  But, how do you expect to live up to it? That is both up to you and us.  We need to be constantly on the search for information and helpful contributions to your aging experience that will draw your attention.  We commit ourselves to take our collective aging seriously, not so seriously that we can’t laugh at ourselves once in awhile, but worthwhile nonetheless.  So here we go again with our audacious attempts at suggesting some ways in which we may be useful to you as we identify “productive aging” hints.

Married, Widowed, Single, Divorced:  Whatever your state, defining your needs, developing an understanding of what makes your existence meaningful, useful and dynamic now becomes the most important agenda for you.  Identifying this phase of your life in a way that keeps you vital and sparkling becomes critically important. It will give meaning to your day to day existence, offer your body and spirit good health, enable you to exist on a plane of joy and daily achievement. Sounds pretty ambitious.  May be!  But it is also what gives you the impetus to keep on keeping on.

Vital Relationships: Some people find their most important needs met in relationships with others.  Good.  But that means that those relationships must carry with them mutual sharing, healthy interactions, honest camaraderie and genuine commitment.  Marriage does not have to figure into the equation.  But if the relationship meets mutually shared needs, then it is worth working toward.  Never, ever , however, allow control to be surrendered in any relationship.  Maintain your ownership of who you are and who you want to be. 

Finding Meaning in Many Ways: Identifying meaning is a never ending, always challenging undertaking.  Whether it is learning a new game, skill, overcoming lack of confidence at trying meaning is always out there beckoning to us to do something more. Productive aging means never having to say “I give up.”

Taking Care of Your Physical, Emotional, Spiritual and Whole Person Needs: This should really be at the top of the list.  No other consideration weighs with more importance than these.  Regular checkups, awareness of hints that suggest certain physical impediments, quickness to account for behaviors motivated by depression.  These are all critical matters for staying abreast of your own aging patterns.

A Check Up List:  How am I doing with my social life?  Where do I spend most of my free time?  Am I able to choose to do some things I want to do and be okay with ignoring others?  Do I allow myself time with several friends?  Do I have one friend in whom I am comfortable confiding?  Can I talk with my children about my needs?  Do I let them know things that are bothersome to me?  Am I honest with my physician?  Am I having problems with any meds or other matters?

These are the things of productive aging.  Finding and enabling the discipline to deal with them directly will make everybody’s life richer, less stressed, and more pleasant as we work through being healthy and astute about our own situations and conditions.



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