Putting The Fun In Aging

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In this society, we don’t usually think of aging as a fun time, but there are plenty of seniors who see things differently. Yes, they may have their physical limitations that came on later in life. Yes, there are things they can’t do. But the secret of the happiest ones is maximizing what they can do.  Take Alice (our hero at agingparents.com) at 94, she’s still mobile but with a walker or cane. Fortunately, she’s still sharp. Part of that likely comes from exercising her brain as well as her body regularly. She can manage an independent trip to the grocery store a few blocks away, putting the bag on the seat of her walker. She works out in the pool when the weather is ok. But there’s more. The latest, at her seniors’ community is boxing.

A creative instructor took a chance and offered these older folks boxing lessons, hitting a bag, using the upper body and teaching them all a few new moves. Alice signed up promptly. She says the boxing gloves are a bit heavy, but the class is fun.  She goes twice a week. A few people are in wheelchairs. They don’t do the kicking part.  They do what they can. At first it was all women but now some guys have joined too. We’re hearing from Alice that her arms are getting stronger. We think that’s pretty good at her age that anything is getting stronger!

When you have aging parents, you may think about their safety, their care, where the best place to live may be, who will help them and how to manage their finances. It’s easy to forget about the need for fun. We are in an ageist society, dismissive of too many of the best parts of being an older person. One of those best parts is the ability to learn something new. Many aging people still have that capacity and welcome the chance. To share a group experience that is something other than passive entertainment has tremendous capacity to add to an older person’s quality of life. It certainly doesn’t have to be physical activity, though that has the double benefit of a good time combined with enhancing one’s health. I looked at the photo of Alice, my mother in law, completely astonished. There is nothing passive about boxing lessons. She’s having a great time as are her fellow participants. I’m told a YouTube video will be coming soon, showing the class in action. (I’ll share it here as soon as it’s out!)

If you are thinking that a person with dementia, or one who is blind or one who can’t stand without a cane could never do such physical things, check out this video, showing the oldest performing Hip Hop dance team comprised entirely of senior citizens.  They’re having a ball. https://youtu.be/sX3UGNLoDko

What do you do to help your aging loved ones have fun into their lives? Share your story with us via e-mail: drmikol@agingparents.com and we’ll give you $5 off our book: The Family Guide to Aging Parents: Answers To Your Legal, Financial, and Healthcare Questions.

Dr. Mikol Davis and Carolyn Rosenblatt

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