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Karen’s Korner: Aging gracefully

by Minden Press-Herald

Karen’s Korner,

I was having a conversation with one of the seniors at the Webster Parish Council on Aging, and she made the following comment. “You know, I just hope I can age gracefully.”

Her comment really made me think about the whole process of aging and how it relates to each of us. She has reached the age of 60, and with all of the vast improvements in the medical field, and the new innovations in the technological field, I think she probably has quite a few more years to do just that. According to the CDC, life expectancy in the U.S., from birth for men is 74.8, and for women, 80.2. However, many live far beyond those years.

According to one author in “Great Senior Living, “:Aging gracefully means accepting the number of candles on your birthday cake without trying to look or act younger than you are. But for others, especially those with physical challenges, it’s a euphemism that downplays the hardships of growing older. Yet, aging gracefully is possible for all older people. It comes down to attitude, not what you look like or what activities you can or cannot do.”

Yes indeed, attitude is the key. We can make our own rules now. You grow old gracefully by choosing your own attitude and approach to change. Everyone is different. We all have unique challenges and strengths.

The landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, which tracked participants into their 80s and 90s, found that lifestyle factors have a bigger impact on happiness levels than wealth or fame. And “subjective health” (how healthy you feel) has a greater impact than “objective health” (whether or not you have health issues). In other words, our feelings about aging can play a big role in how we approach it. That’s one reason why many seniors don’t see themselves as “old” at all.”

Not all changes are bad. In fact, our brains undergo some positive changes with age, such as giving us calmer reactions to negative experiences,

Let’s look at the word, gracefully! Webster’s Dictionary defines it as: ”In a way characterized by elegance or beauty of form, manner, movement, or speech.”

One of the most concise and popular aging quotes is from Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect: “The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.”

“Although that outlook may not always be achievable when faced with setbacks or physical problems, it’s important to remember that focusing on the positive aspects of this stage of life can help make growing older easier. If graceful aging means adapting to changes in a way that reflects our personal values, then remaining positive, open, and flexible is key. Aging gracefully is definitely possible. Sure, we may need help to overcome certain challenges sometimes. But growing older continues to have its own rewards.” (Great Senior Living)

Are you aging gracefully? It’s pretty much left up to you.

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