The upside of old

Last Friday, YourLifeChoices publisher, Kaye, spoke to Sunil Badami on ABC Overnights about living longer, fears around ageing and how to make the transition fun. Here, Kaye offers her advice on how to challenge age with positivity.

Given that we’re all living longer these days, how can we keep engaged with life and stay curious and active? How do we combat some of the fears we may have around getting older?

It is useful to realise that societies all around the world are experiencing a dramatic surge in the number of older citizens moving into the life stage that we call retirement. But the ground rules for this life stage have changed a lot – we no longer have just one job in our lives, we’re expected to work longer, and are generally not financially prepared for this increased longevity. More to the point, the risk of funding our retirements has been shifting from governments or companies offering defined benefit pensions onto the shoulders of individuals themselves. For many people it can feel confusing or frightening – a time of loss and worry rather than contentment and fulfilment. So how can individuals confront older age in a positive manner?

Listen to Kaye’s full interview here.

Here are fives ways to maintain energy and enthusiasm as you get older:

1. Don’t resist change
Most people dislike change. However, we can manage this by embracing gradual transitions, where possible.

2. Adopt an ‘age-neutral’ approach
If we all embrace all ages and stop thinking of our generations as different (i.e. stop accepting glib generalisations) we can free ourselves up to have friends of all ages, who keep us ‘young’ and add value and fun.

3. Maintain a sense of purpose
In younger years, this can be primarily career driven, but in addition to work projects, purpose can include family, mentoring, volunteering, learning, hobbies or social and policital causes.

4. Maintain or embrace a realistic and philosophical approach
Bad things happen to all of us. Growing older shouldn’t be considered one of them. Why not try exploring mindfulness or meditation to remain grounded and grateful for what you have, as opposed to what you have not. Listing five things you’re grateful for each day is a really positive way to stay optimistic.

5. Money matters but health matters more
If there is time, it helps to start saving earlier so that your later years are sufficiently financially cushioned against unexpected hardship. This is not possible for everyone but financial wellbeing does increase our choice and independence. However, health is much more important than money – and it is lifestyle choices that may kill you, regardless of your wealth.

How do you approach ageing with grace? Do you agree with this advice?

Written by Kaye Fallick

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