Photos of seniors holding hands while strolling on the beach; jogging on a nature path; golfing, playing tennis, even surfing. These are some of the images that I see online when I enter terms like “seniors living the good life.” We all want to live “the good life” as we age, but what if our health does not allow us to golf, or jog, or stroll barefoot on a beach. While I admire and salute the surfing grandpa and jogging 80-year-old it’s important to remember that older folks who can still engage in such activities are the exception, not the rule. Just as we don’t want a young woman to feel worthless if she does not have the same (airbrushed) body of a super model, so too we don’t want our senior citizens to believe they are not aging well if they are not engaged in a fun, physically active lifestyle.
What does living a good life mean? Some magazine articles, TV shows, and commercials glamorize aging and would have you believe that staying attractive and achieving a rich, active, fulfilling retirement is the “right way” to age. It is good to have something to aspire to and continuing the activities you’ve loved in the past is a great goal to have. With many of us living longer and healthier lives well into our 80s and beyond, having goals and planning how one spends their post-retirement years is essential. Someone retiring at 70 could easily have 20 years of living left. Staying strong and healthy, careful financial planning, keeping up with your community, family, and friends are all essential parts of having the good life. Part of that planning should also include thinking about what you might want to do if or when you get to the point where you not only have stopped playing tennis, but you need assistance with activities of daily living. At this stage, one can still have a good life, but old age ain’t for sissies. Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, it’s best to start thinking and planning young.
What living the good life looks like will vary from person to person. Today there are many lifestyle options for seniors, and people in their 70s and 80s are finding creative ways to maintain their health and independence that takes into consideration their unique circumstances including their health, finances, family, and personal preferences. We can all live the good life so long as we understand that life will look different for different people.
The reality of most of the clients we serve most definitely looks different than that of the 80-year-old jogger. Living the good life for a senior in a wheelchair who uses an oxygen tank for her emphysema could simply be going to a restaurant or a movie with her adult children or going to the park with her caregiver. Home care doesn’t get flashy lifestyle treatment in national media. Photos and descriptions of our clients won’t help sell cruises, retirement condos, or insurance. What we do is quieter, behind the scenes and absolutely essential for families. When one can no longer care for themselves, living a comfortable, secure, safe, dignified and respectful life in your own home with the help of a caregiver is a pretty good “lifestyle” and absolutely something to aspire to.
Home care depends on caregivers and we have the absolute best, most committed, skilled and loving caregivers in the business. Each and every day they enter their client’s home with a smile and the determination to make the day the best possible for their client. Our caregivers help our clients “live the good life” according to their needs and abilities. I could not be more proud and grateful.