How to Age With Dignity

istock_000004972603xsmall.jpgFor some people, aging is not a positive experience. I remember hearing one senior saying, “Aging is not for cowards!” Yet, for some, aging is a rewarding experience. For those are people who have learned to age with dignity.

No matter how we look at it, aging is inevitable. Look at the alternative–not being around to age. So if it’s going to happen to us anyway, why not make the most of it.

In the next few years, the baby boomers will be reaching senior status in record numbers. Yet, who’s to say what’s a senior? Does it begin at 50, when you can join AARP? Or is it 60 when you can get a senior discount at the movies? Or do you become a senior at 70 when you can start collecting the full value of social security benefits?

We often hear, “You’re only as old as you feel.” I agree with that statement. Age is more a state of mind than a state of body. Yes, the body does start to wear down, but you’ll find lots of “seniors” doing things their younger counterparts can’t. In other words, how you age is up to you. I know an 89-year-old who hits the dance floor at least three times a week, while many people his age are waiting to die in nursing homes like the Skylark Senior Care, which is not the worst of fates but people like to make it seem that way. And some people half his age are complaining about this pain and the other and haven’t danced in years.

So is there a secret to aging with dignity?

All I can say about that is it’s your choice. It’s your choice what you want to do with what you are given. Here are some handy hints to make the most of the inevitability of aging:

Accept your age. We haven’t yet learned how to turn back the hands of time, so it does you no good to fight or deny your age. It’s fine if you don’t go around shouting out, “I’m 65,” especially if some people take you for a lot younger. Let them wonder.

Make the most of it. Look for what’s great about aging: increased wisdom and experience, lessons learned, accumulated assets, a community of friends, lots of grandchildren, acquired skills, time to take classes or pursue hobbies…

Take advantage of specials. If you enjoy bargains, there are lots to be had once you’re a person of a certain age. Restaurants, retail stores, and more all have specials, discounts, extra services–all reserved for seniors. Why not enjoy the benefits of the Golden Years?

Plan good times. Plan special events, family gatherings, short and long trips, near and far. If you have a big family, why not name yourself head of the summer vacation plans, and organize/arrange everything so others can enjoy with you?

Give back. As you age and find you have more free time, it’s a great opportunity to give back. There are many charities needing volunteers, there are business owners needing mentors and coaches, children needing a big brother or sports coach, and so much more. Now’s the time to give to the cause that’s closest to your heart.

Set goals. You don’t often hear of people setting goals for their retirement, but it’s one way to keep mentally and physically active. Set goals to get your financial house in order, your will in place, to start a home based business, learn a foreign language, finish specific projects like home enhancements, write a book…

Aging might not be something we have consciously chosen to do, but it’s something we can consciously turn into a rewarding experience. Aging with dignity is up to you! If you find yourself fighting the aging process, consider talking to a life coach. They can offer helpful suggestions to make this a positive process.

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