Did you ever encounter a person so motivating that it thoroughly transformed your viewpoint on life? It may cause you to pause and wonder just what it is about that person that provides them with the drive and energy to stand out from everyone else.
At the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University, researchers set out to examine this further with their “Exceeding Expectations” venture. They followed 20 older New Yorkers from various backgrounds and cultures for a two-year time period. Here is what they discovered about the resiliency of these extraordinary individuals, and what their secrets were to aging well.
- They don’t let their hurdles define them. One example is Jacquie Murdock, an 87-year-old previous professional dancer and current fashionista – which is how others recognize her – who also just happens to be sight-impaired and a cancer survivor. Dorian Block, director of the project, points out, “Some people live with health and other challenges as the main plot of their lives. For so many other people, it’s just the background.”
- They comprehend that wealth isn’t connected to joy. The findings of the study disclosed that the participants' true joy came from origins that had nothing to do with income levels: singing in a church choir, sharing humor, visiting with friends and family.
- They acknowledge the loneliness that can go along with growing older. Aging and loneliness are a common pairing, for a number of different reasons – health concerns that obstruct the ability to go out and visit as often as they would like, local friends who move to care facilities, and in particular lately, pandemic-related social isolation. Dealing with loneliness head-on paves the way to problem-solving, discovering creative solutions to foster socialization opportunities.
- They face the reality of their mortality. Remarkably, nearly every older adult in the project was comfortable speaking about their own eventual demise and conveyed no fear of the inevitable. They’re thankful for the full lives they have had so far and for every single day they continue to live and thrive.
We are so thankful for the life lessons we have the honor of learning each day from the older adults in our care! Let us know if a senior in your life could benefit from one of our caregiving companions; we love getting acquainted with our area’s seniors, to hear their stories, and to provide them with the support and care they deserve.
Contact Amy’s Helping Hands, the top provider of Windsor, Ontario home care services, at your convenience at 519-915-4370 to learn more about our customized in-home care solutions for older adults and to find out if our services are available in your neighborhood.