While we can certainly attest to this, seeing our Serene Living resident’s sunny smiles and hearing roars of laughter at reception every day, most people assume the age-old stereotype of the ‘cranky grandma or grandpa’ would ring true for the older generation – a stage of aches, pains, grumbling and discontent. However, research has proven otherwise.
As it turns out, life satisfaction comes full circle in the twilight years. Childhood into teenage years and early adulthood are generally happy times, full of fond memories and new, exciting experiences for most people. Research has shown the largest decline in personal happiness occurs during mid-life with the stress of working, taking care of children and parents, financial burdens, and marriage issues.
An Australian survey has recently found that those aged over 76 are reported as being the happiest in the country.
It would appear that there are a variety of factors indicative of these results, but not surprisingly, research suggests that strong relationships and human connections are often the key to many peoples’ happiness. Medical data indicates maintaining and creating meaningful relationships with family, friends, other residents and social networks can lower the risk of depression by as much as one third.
Participating in group activities is a great way to make new friends and share mutual interests. Often these activities serve dual purposes and also offer a creative and/or physical outlet.
Our residents tell us that in these hot summer months, it’s hard to get motivated to exercise, but a quick dip in the pool, teamed with an aqua aerobics class allows them to enjoy the combination of gentle exercise (endorphins!) with some friendly, smiling faces and a laugh.
Alternatively, a creative outlet can be just as beneficial. Some of our more shy residents are too nervous to join a large group, being more at ease in a smaller, more relaxed setting, with a cuppa, like the Short Story Writers Club.
Find what you enjoy and are comfortable with and share the experience with others!
Other Ideas To Actively Maintain Your Happiness:
• Find happiness in the day to day – small things and experiences like catching up with a friend or dinner at your favourite restaurant
• Find self acceptance – reaching a point in life where you are realistic in acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and accepting of who and where you are
• Live in the present – rather than constantly worrying about the future or dwelling on the past
• Make the most of every day – don’t take life for granted
• Utilise your hard-earned wisdom
• Create Structure and Routine– when you have no purpose it is difficult to stay engaged
• Get a good night’s sleep
• Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet
• Participate in gentle, regular exercise
• Create and achieve goals – can be as simple as 10 minutes exercise a day, or joining one weekly social activity
• Change it up – Instead of sticking to your usual activities and destinations, try somewhere or something different for a change and open yourself up to a world of new experiences and interactions
• Make your space your own – do that spring clean, de-clutter, redecorate. Work out what you like, what makes you “you” and surround yourself with this
• Find your creativity – creative activities can open you up to an enjoyable expressive outlet and also a chance to meet new people
• Take up a new hobby – whether it be exercise, art, reading, cooking, painting – you name it, whatever you enjoy and presents a challenge to improve and learn
• Volunteer – Being able to give back and help others gives a feeling of purpose and being useful
Start today – it’s this simple:
Ask yourself, “What one thing can I do differently today?”
We would love to hear from you – ‘What do you do to find your happiness?’
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