I recently had the blessing of spending a week with my beautiful, wonderful, 90-year-old mother. I also got to hang out with some of her friends. My mother and her friends live in an independent living facility. I interacted with and observed these seniors, most of whom are age 90 and beyond. In doing so, I gained several tips for aging gracefully.
My week with the elders has convinced me that the key factor in aging gracefully is attitude. Not all the folks I spent time with were in good, physical health. In fact, many were battling chronic pain and other adverse health conditions or had recently overcome some pretty serious illnesses. Yet, they were beautiful, inside and out, and joyful. The reason? They had positive attitudes and were rocking life.
Tips for aging gracefully begin with your thoughts
Several times, various seniors mentioned that they like to focus on their blessings in life rather than their ailments. Some said they consciously think positive thoughts. They agree that not every day is a good day but there is good in every day.
Besides thinking happy thoughts, I noticed that my new friends continually offer encouragement and supportive thoughts to others. Living in such close quarters day in and day out, they are acutely aware of each others’ strengths and weaknesses. They help one another focus on their strengths.
Personal hygiene and appearance
Among tips for aging gracefully that I gleaned from my mother and her independent-living companions, making an effort to look nice tops the list. I immediately noticed that every resident I encountered was well-dressed and carefully groomed.
One woman, in particular, was so beautiful she took my breath away when she wheeled herself into the game room. Her silky, silver hair was curled and her drop earrings matched her outfit. She had chosen the perfect shade of lipstick and her nails were painted. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and was beyond surprised when I learned the she was 92!
Don’t stop using your mind
Administrators assess my mother and her fellow residents every year. They must meet certain ability requirements to continue residence in the independent living section. Those who are unable to stay transition to assisted-living care or full-time nursing care, as needed.
A few of the seniors I enjoyed spending time with during my stay did show some signs of cognitive decline. No tips for aging gracefully would be complete, however, without stressing that every person I met was actively engaging his or her mind (and body) every single day. They attend physical exercise and balance class. They play board games and bingo. One woman even spends an hour or two per day, sitting outside on a covered patio, writing. (She is 90 and raised nine children!)
More tips for aging gracefully
I couldn’t help wondering what the X factor might be. What do these people who are aging yet thriving have that many people half their age (and seemingly aging faster than them) do not possess? I also wondered where I might fall in such categories. Will I, at age 90 (if the Lord allows me to live that long) still want to curl my hair and put a little make-up on before meeting my friends for a game of Scrabble?
If I were to compile a concise list of tips for aging gracefully for you, they’d be as follows:
- Live life as fully as possible.
- Recognize your own limitations but try to be the best you can be.
- Enjoy the company of others.
- Make an effort to look nice because it will make you feel better.
- Smile often.
- Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water.
- Stay active, as your physical condition permits.
- Bask in direct sunlight and enjoy the outdoors, even for a few minutes every day or, at least, five days per week.
- Keep the faith and stay close to God.
Come to think of it, these tips for aging gracefully may be applicable at any age! What would you add to this list? One of my fellow authors here on Hot Mess Press was recently thinking about aging. You can read her thoughts in this post.