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Age Better with a Purpose in Life

Living a life of intention or having a purpose in life, especially as you age, is integral to healthy living and longevity. Many studies have shown that aging with purpose can provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease, disabilities, cardiovascular problems, and impairment, and lead to longer, happier lives. 

When we’re younger, it’s easier to find meaning because our lives are full of activities, social engagement, and big dreams. Many of us spend time raising children, building careers, and then caring for our parents. But as we age, our lives slow down. Separation from family and friends, failing health, and fewer opportunities for engagement make it more difficult to maintain purpose in our lives. Many older adults begin searching for new ways to find meaning in their lives. This is a normal and healthy process to go through.

The recent pandemic has shown us all how important social interaction is for our well-being. Pre-pandemic, older adults could see their children and grandchildren, visit friends and neighbors, and volunteer in their communities. The pandemic left many seniors feeling isolated and they struggled with finding their purpose in life. Now, with pandemic restrictions  lifted, seniors are more eager than ever to reclaim a sense of meaning. But how does someone maintain a sense of purpose or discover new direction as they age?

How to be happy in old age

Psychology Today talks about 9 paths to consider (we touch upon 7) for enjoying life. These activities to help you find your purpose are good for everyone to focus on each day, but are especially important as you age:

  1. Work values: While many older adults may have retired, they often volunteer to continue making a contribution to their community and having a feeling of accomplishment.  
  2. Love and friendship: Keeping relationships alive and even forging new ones is so important to fulfilling the path of love and friendship. 
  3. Compassion for others: Having compassion for others can go a long way, and it can be as easy as talking to a stranger in a store or touching base with a friend.  
  4. Small joys and pleasures: When it comes to small joys and pleasures, the Japanese concept ikigai explains this path most succinctly. As explains, the word doesn’t  directly translate into English, but it represents happiness in living. “Japanese people believe that the sum of small joys in everyday life results in more fulfilling life as a whole.” Could this be why they have some of the oldest living people in the world? In Japan, “Older people are celebrated; they feel obligated to pass on their wisdom to younger generations.” As a result, they have a sense of purpose. 
  5. Staying healthy and strong: Keeping your body healthy and strong will allow you to have the strength and endurance to live the life you want. 
  6. Creative projects and play: With more time on your hands after retirement, there’s more time for creative projects and play. Getting involved in a weekly card game, meeting up with friends for golfing, or explore your artistic side all contribute to happiness. 
  7. Contributing to the improvement of the world: Giving back to the world around you — even if it is just your town or neighborhood — can be incredibly satisfying and inspire you to get up and out each day. While leaving a legacy can mean what you’ll leave your heirs, it’s also about what impact you hope to leave on the world. How do you want to be remembered? 

Keep  living a life of purpose

At Maplewood Senior Living, we cultivate a lifestyle based on a heart-led philosophy of vibrant intentional living. We offer lifestyle programming, both inside and outside our communities, and we integrate the Maplewood Elements, nine essential building blocks into the daily lives of our residents. Contact us today to schedule a tour and learn more about our lifestyle and care programs. 

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Westport, CT 06880

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