He begins by crooning of “soft summer nights” ending with “…but now the days are short, I’m in the autumn of my years…” Listening to the lyrics one begins to think of how lucky Sinatra was. Some even request the song to be performed at their funeral.
If you were to choose the best of years, would it be youth? Adolescence? Thirties? Fifties? Now? Every year IS a good year!
Challenges in the lives of Seniors are varied. Roadblocks are many. Depression is one of the top diagnoses for the over 65 age group. How did the “D” word evolve if this is a “very good year?” Consider options to stop depression before it is full blown. Pay close attention to these signs from the National Institute of Mental Health.
- Feeling sad or “empty”. Seniors lose friends and family more as they age. Life happens. Look back on those memories. Tears are reminders of what was, not of what was lost. Make room for new memories; friends, travel, interests. Give others the opportunity to enjoy you. You matter. Believe. It’s a very good year!
- Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty. Elders are not hopeless. Optimism is inspired by their humor and wisdom. Please be patient. The good comes around eventually. Embrace it with open arms. You matter. Believe. It’s a very good year!
- Loss of interest in favorite activities. As worlds shrink due to age it may be time to look for a new neighborhood when the present one no longer feels safe or meets your needs. Consider Retirement Living Options. Independent and Assisted Living communities have endless lists of activities and classes. One is bound to pique interest. You matter. Believe. It’s a very good year!
- Feeling very tired. Get off the recliner and touch at least a kneecap! Exercise expands the lungs, keeps the heart beating, and improves circulation. Keep moving and exercising to prevent visits from the rescue squad. Chair Tai Chi and Senior Yoga are this year’s Senior Exercise choices. Try five minutes and aim for fifty. Inspire others. You matter. Believe. It’s a very good year!
- Not being able to concentrate or remember detail. Forgetfulness is not an indicator of cognitive decline. Not recognizing forgetfulness is. Journal life stories. Tackle a daily crossword puzzle or even a puzzle! Challenge the mind by doing daily habits in reverse order, e.g. tying the left shoe first instead of the right, listening to the radio instead of the television, talking to your neighbor instead of waving. You matter. Believe. It’s a very good year!
- Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much. Here’s an oxymoron…studies show those who reach the century mark make sleep a priority. The same research shows six hours is adequate. Daytime hours are best spent connecting with friends and loved ones, walking, reading a new book, listening to music and volunteering. Find these opportunities by contacting different community resources. Programs are meant for everyone no matter the age. You matter. Believe. It’s a very good year!
- Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all. Choose healthy foods. Yogurt, fruit, fiber and plenty of liquids lower the accelerators of aging. Throw in some chocolate and wine occasionally. Remember however, everything in moderation. Seniors have a desire to feel and look good. Diets matter. You matter. Believe. It’s a very good year!
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts. Depression (one of the top ten diagnoses for the elderly) is a major cause of suicides in the elderly. Seniors have the highest rate of suicide of any age group. Should these thoughts occur reach out to someone. Walk around the block. Start looking for a more interactive community. Remember how unique and important you are. YOU MATTER. BELIEVE. IT’S A VERY GOOD YEAR!