As we age, we face plenty of stereotypes. Seniors are stuck in their ways and depressed. The elderly are weak and frail. Older adults are isolated and grumpy. They have nothing to contribute. I’m sure you could add a few of your own.
But good news, friend! We are shedding those stereotypes! This month, we are joining the ACL in celebrating Older Americans Month. The theme this year: Aging Unbound
Old age is a time to learn, grow, and flourish…
Celebrate the joy of being alive.
And try something new!
Here are three ways to challenge the stereotypes of aging. These will help you put some pep in your step and fully embrace who you are…today!
Go outside and get your hands in the dirt. Gardening has many benefits. It gives us a little exercise, which can support our lung and heart health, blood pressure, and more. Gardening helps us increase our Vitamin D levels which boosts the immune system and helps us keep our bones and joints strong.
Gardening has cognitive benefits as well. It challenges our minds as we look at details, plan, explore spatially, and observe the world around us. It can also help increase our serotonin and dopamine levels while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol. Better moods await!
If bending down is a challenge, consider raised beds or even potted plants in or outdoors. Do a little at a time. And don’t forget to enlist the help of a friend, relative, or neighbor, which makes the whole process a lot more fun.
Gardening is good for your mind, body, and spirit…and you’ll be planting the seed of beauty (or delicious food!) that you can enjoy all season long.
So many organizations need a helping hand!
By volunteering, you support your community and give back your time, talents, or skills.
Rest assured, what might seem like a small contribution to you makes a big impact to the organization and the people it serves.
Volunteering also helps older adults feel more connected. You’ll get to know new people and feel a sense of accomplishment in the process.
Furthermore, science supports that volunteering is actually good for the brain! It helps you feel less stressed by bolstering “feel good” hormones that support well-being. Volunteering helps the brain stay active, which may lower dementia risk and other health problems as well.
Many older adults live alone and become increasingly isolated over time. Connecting with the younger generation is a fantastic way to learn new things and forge new bonds.
Such connections can help us improve our mood, help us feel less lonely, and give us a renewed sense of purpose.
Likewise, you may be able to share your wisdom and gain different perspectives from them as well. It is a relationship that helps everyone participating!
Gardening, volunteering, and engaging with the younger generation gives you an opportunity to learn and grow. And that leads to a whole lot more joy and fun!
If you aren’t sure where to begin, your local Community Center, school, or Commission on Aging may have some ideas. At Mary Wade, we make it a point to offer these types of activities for our residents as well. So get out there and enjoy yourself this spring– and leave those stereotypes about aging behind.
Mary Wade specializes in helping our residents maintain a sense of connection, physical fitness, and engagement. A wide range of social and recreational activities help seniors stay social and active in mind, body, and spirit. Seniors enjoy independence while also receiving just the right amount of support. Click to learn more.
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