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Embrace aging and live life fully each day

There is tremendous interest in our culture about aging as something that can be bent toward being great.

Recent book titles speak of aging backward. You see continual ads for cream to fight wrinkles, lose weight, and grow hair, all to appear younger.

One theory of aging is disengagement which sees a gradual withdrawal from social interaction to protect oneself from the trauma of dying.

Another theory is when individuals age, they adapt to enable themselves to feel the continuity between the past and present.

The third one is the activity of role theory, by which people maintain the usual social roles and activities that enhance their feelings of well-being as they age.

I am a proponent of theory three. Enjoy life until it’s over. Keep active, join ALL (Association of Lifelong Learners) and attend the programs that spark your interest. You will reap rewards of using your brain while having fun and forming new friends.

Senior centers are having a hard time getting volunteers to help. Maybe just a ride to the doctor. Churches also need help. Again, maybe just a ride to services.

How about visiting someone with Alzheimer’s? You could visit for an hour or two to supply the caregivers with an opportunity to receive respite.

We also need to reach out to the young. Gerontologist and author Karl Pillemer said, “There is a simple way to ease anxiety: Ask an older person.” The youth asked at a success seminar were not worried about success strategies for getting ahead and suggestions for landing a high-paying dream job. They asked things like, “What if I don’t have a purpose in life or a driving goal?” They feared that this lack of a unique and compelling purpose might doom them to a life of no purpose.

Ask an older person: Basically, the oldest Americans (most of whom also struggled with this question) tell you to relax. You are likely to find a variety of great purpose as you travel through life.

For us (older people), that gives us the purpose of being and sharing our life and learning with the young people. Be open and let the younger ones know there is a life of adventure waiting. You should ride it for all it’s worth as long as you can.

Seniors are a powerful commodity in this northern area. We can use this power for good. We are a majority in elections. Be educated on how, who and what we voted on. Stay knowledgeable about our elected officials. Call them to task if we don’t like their decisions. Use the force we earned by being part of an aging population.