Updated: Oct 12, 2018
The building blocks for a foundation for successful and positive aging are: The Power of Us (social support), The Power of Me (your spirit), Mindfulness, Positivity, the Four A's, and Balancing. Below presents the Power of Us. I've witnessed the extraordinary efforts and compassion of people helping and supporting other people in need which makes me believe in the power of us. Kindness and compassion cost very little for the giver but is priceless to the receiver. Organized compassion for aging adults via nonprofit organizations are thankfully plentiful in the United States today. These charitable and giving organizations have made significant contributions helping older people in need. They have made a difference in senior citizen's lives. Here are some examples of organized support groups that matter: - Meals on Wheels - AARP - National Institute of Aging - Alliance on Aging Research - Adult Protection Services - Community Care Program - Caregiver Action Network - Caregiver Support Services - Lotsa Helping Hands - Alzheimer's Association These organizations are highly successful in their endeavors. However, on an individual basis, people need their own support networks that matter in their lives. Studies suggest that a personal social network (family and/or friends) improves quality of life and life expectancy. In the case of a life-threatening disease like cancer, social support matters more than chemotherapy. Older people who rely on family, friends, and community seem to be doing better, be happier and better able to get through things. This is the power of us. We must try to maintain and/or build social networks in our senior years. As we age, our circle of friends usually becomes smaller. Some friends die or become incapacitated to the point of not being able to socialize. It is at this point that some of us are in danger of losing our support network. It is important to remain socially engaged. It is particularly difficult to make new relationships after losing a spouse. Avoid living alone in your senior years. Without the support of family and friends, quality of life and life expectancy are compromised. There are numerous ways to assure that you will have a social support network as you age: Family The most effective way of assuring social support in your seniors years is to maintain close and loving relations with family, particularly your children and siblings. Friends There are a number of ways to meet new friends: - Live in a 55+ community - Participate in activities: hiking, dining, yoga, etc. - Join a fitness center or a senior center that plan activities - Participate in cards/group games - Go on group travel trips Church and Other Support Organizations Church is a great place to find support groups for older people. You ca also join Internet support groups related to your health concerns (e.g., hearing impairment, dementia). Tap into Local Organizations/Communities You can contact local organizations that offer services to seniors. The Power of Us starts at home. With every generation, family members grow old and how they are honored and cared for shapes the attitudes of the next generation of children. Let's show our children how family and friends make a positive difference in an older person's life.