Reflections on Aging Well

Author, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room) and Columnist, Aging Well, United Methodist Reporter

Older adults want authenticity February 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 9:06 am

A few days ago I spoke to residents at a large retirement community. Following the event, one of the attendees asked me to sign copies of my books for him. At first glance, he seemed to be the perfect role model for active aging.  He was immaculately dressed, trim and fit, and walked with a spirit in his step. Soon though, he had grown serious as he told me about running hot water over his hands each morning to try to unlock the arthritis in his fingers.  He also talked about dealing with the loss of his wife and pesky feelings of uselessness.

It seems something I had said had struck a chord with him. He wanted me to know that he appreciated the fact that I was honest about the tough realities of aging while also bringing a message hope and encouragement.  “Most people want you to ignore the aches and pains, as if they don’t exist,” he said.  “Thank you for acknowledging the challenges we face and for helping us to move forward. It helps to know that others understand.” 

Some say that age is just mind over matter. To some degree, that’s true.  A positive attitude certainly has much to do with aging well. But I have found that most older adults are anxious for their feelings to be validated. They need to know that the hard realities that often come with aging are not simply brushed away by those who think they know what it is to grow old.

It’s just something to think about.

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10 Responses to “Older adults want authenticity”

  1. DimLamp Says:

    True, we do need to be honest about and affirm the feelings of older adults. However, I also think our purpose-those of us who are in ministry with older adults-is to offer them hope. This is also related to their future, and being prepared for/preparing for death, and for those with faith, life beyond the grave.

    • I completely agree with you DimLamp because hope is the only thing you can really count on when you are in the last moments of your life and it can really help you get across and mentally prepare you for your last moments on earth.

      • Frédéric Normand Says:

        You guys are completely right ! I agree with both of you (Antoine Bradette and DimLamp). The last part of life is really. As Antoine said, you have to be mentally prepare for your last moments on earth. You have to enjoy the life and all the greats moments that you had in your life(trip,school,friends etc)

    • Julien Girard Says:

      Yes DimLamp you are write because the honesty is for me one of the most important value in my heart. To be honest make you go anywhere you want.

  2. missybu Says:

    Hope… YES! Absolutely… which is why I wrote “I was honest about the tough realities of aging while also bringing a message hope and encouragement.” So true!!

    • This phrase is fantastic and I am in complete agreement with you on the meaning and the importance of this phrase. Hope is so important to everybody in the world and it can help you in the darkest moments.

      • Frédéric Normand Says:

        This phrase is awesome! I completely agree with both of you guys ( Antoine Bradette and missybu) on the importance of this phrase. Aging is big problem of the society. It’s getting more important everyday through the planet. Hopefully, there is people that can encourage the people that are getting old.

    • Julien Girard Says:

      I’m completely approve what you said missybou and Frederic and Antoine too because we need to believe and hope if we want to stay alive.

  3. Antoine Bradette Says:

    What I think about aging? I think aging is a good thing for everybody because life is in constant evolution and the younger generations now take our place in society and they are the ones that make us evolve. The type of person I would like to be when I will get older is a person who has learned to adapt to all the changes in life with technology and with society but to also have kept the values and the qualities that I acquired during my life and that my parents gave me. I would also like to be athletic and practice my favorite sport, which is golf, often as possible. Aging is a big word… I think that this word means to evolve and to leave our place to younger generations so that they can make the world and the human specie evolve like Friedrch Nietzshe’s overman theory would say( overman theory= the desire to evolve.)

  4. Julien Girard Says:

    What i think about aging ? For me, aging it is not something hard to live or not nice.For me, it is the experience of the live that come to a certain point of emotions. See other generations make me fell happy because I know that I had my chance and now people can have ther. It is also a way to take care of us because we took care of kids and our familly and it is now the time for them to show that they love us as old person. Make what we love is a good way to pass time. I wish I will be enough in shape to play golf or swiming because this is how i relax. The technology is part of mylife but i don’t wnat to live fast has now because it would be to much for me. The picture that I have in my head is the old and traditional familly: Me sitting on a chair watching my small kids playing with toys and my kids talking together and having a good time. Finnaly, has i learn through years, it is that everyone has to evolve and walk through aging.


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