Does Having a Sense of Purpose Help Us Live Longer?
What motivates you to get up out of bed every morning? The answer is different for every single one of us, of course, but there is one commonality: it could allow you to live longer. Scientific studies are answering the question, “Does having a sense of purpose help us to live longer?” with a resounding “Yes!” as evidenced in Japan, the country with the highest life expectancy on earth.
Interestingly, there’s no word for our definition of “retirement” in the Japanese language. Instead, there is a focus on maintaining purpose and meaning beyond a person’s working years and defining themselves according to their current pastimes and passions.
So just how can we help older adults – and ourselves – stay involved with what ignites interest and makes a difference in the world around us? Below are a few inspiring ideas to get you started:
Cultivate a sense of compassion for others. There’s no shortage of suffering in this world, and there is something that all of us can do in some way to help lessen the struggles of somebody else. Have a conversation with the older adults in your life about who or what touches their hearts the most – homelessness, mental health, single parents, stray animals, veterans, etc. Direct that compassion into action by brainstorming ways to make a direct impact.
Prioritize family. With so many families living far away from each other, and even further separated recently as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, make a plan to close the gaps and bring family members closer together. Plan a backyard holiday gathering or family reunion. Commit to a video chat or phone call with a different member of the family weekly to reconnect and get caught up on their lives. Work on documenting your life story, and that of past generations, to share with children and grandchildren.
Redefine retirement. For a senior loved one who is already retired from one career, consider another. Is there an unrealized dream that could be explored, such as earning a degree in a different field of interest? Look into volunteer or part-time job opportunities that offer the opportunity to learn something new while serving others.
Take time to play. Meaning and purpose are found in lighthearted endeavors too! Sports, hobbies, art, music, travel, exploring nature, reading, and many other engaging and fun activities provide possibilities for self-expression and a more enjoyable life. Betye Saar, a 93-year-old artist, explains, “… the creative part of me is forever young.”
Responsive Home Care’s caregiving team is full of innovative ideas to help older adults continue to take pleasure in a life of purpose and meaning. Contact us any time online or call us at 954-486-6440 for additional tips and to find out more about our personalized senior home care in Pembroke Pines and the neighboring communities.