It’s all about attitude. It’s about deciding to be upbeat when it’s much easier to feel down. I mean, take a look at what’s happening in the world, as well as around us. I could go on and on about that (and I do have some opinions to be sure), but I’m not going to concentrate on that right now. I’m taking a different tack.
When we were kids, we so much wanted to stay up until midnight, but even when Mom and Dad gave us permission to do so, we never made it – our eyelids just wouldn’t stay open. Now, I could stay up until midnight but I don’t want to…. and besides, my eyelids still wouldn’t stay open anyway.
I’ve been thinking about what to write in this first article of the New Year… and decided that I’m going to provide some ideas that can be applied to all of us: those who are already considered ‘seniors’ and those who are caring for or will be caring for seniors, So, here goes:
HAVE FUN: Take time to laugh or make someone else laugh. This could be reading jokes or telling a funny story (maybe even one from the past) to someone. When my parents couldn’t drive any longer, I took them out for ice cream cones. Dad liked to watch the jets, so we headed to the airport, parking the car so we could see the planes take off and land. Mom liked the parks, so we would have our lunch as we sat in the car next to a park where she could watch the kids play, whether it was in the summer or in the winter.
EAT RIGHT: We shouldn’t be surprised at the positive effect that healthy foods have on all of us, especially as we age. But it would be boring not to be able to ‘cheat’ sometimes. Mom and Dad loved miniature candy bars, so I kept them stocked up when they lived both in Assisted Living and Extended Care. Sure, the Dentist benefited from their candy-eating, but honestly, if it gave them pleasure when they had given up so much else because of the aging process, it was worth it all. I will always like chocolate, so, yes, I admit it – I cheat sometimes.
EXERCISE: I know, I know…. tough to do, especially when no one else is around to give us a ‘push’ in the right direction. The benefits: huge. And the best part? It doesn’t cost anything to take walks. Oh yes, it takes time from our day, but what big value there is. My Dad was a great example of staying as fit as he could even in his mid 80’s. He was consistent and made habits. Three times a week, while using his walker, he did his exercise routine. It wasn’t easy for him, but he did it. He had his good habits set.
ENJOY LIFE to the best of our ability and circumstances. I’m not so naïve to think that everyone will enjoy life in the same way. In my opinion, enjoying life doesn’t have to equate with money or possessions. Growing up and hearing my parents talk about the old days, I said I’d never do that, but I can’t help it. My brothers and I didn’t have a lot of stuff, nor did our parents have a lot of money, but we had enough. Remember… it’s all about attitude.
As I look back, we enjoyed life. We played board games with the folks and each other, played games like “Red Rover” or kickball with neighbor kids; we went on vacations because Grandpa Kyllo or Grandma Beal gave Dad some money. We got a dime or a quarter from the “tooth fairy” and celebrated Christmas with small gifts. We felt our parents’ love. There’s so much more I could say ..… but suffice it to say….WE enjoyed life.
So, I wish you the best New Year ever. Whether you’re caring for an aging parent or other loved one; whether you’re a senior or approaching “seniorhood” thinking about what your future will be like; my goal for the Helpful Articles section is to provide you with educational articles and other website links in order to encourage you. Keep in mind… it’s all about attitude.
You may or may not agree with the following, but it’s in my heart to say it so I will. I would not have made it through life without God’s presence in mine. May God bless you in a special way in this New Year.
“You can observe a lot just by watching.” Yogi Berra