Senior options: Why we need to rethink ageing

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Time to review your expectations for the future: It's how we view ageing and our spirituality that helps us cope with our physical and mental decay.

Time to review your expectations for the future: It's how we view ageing and our spirituality that helps us cope with our physical and mental decay.

Today’s shift in thought concerning seniors’ capabilities was preempted by spiritual thinker, Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote more than a century ago about “the everlasting grandeur and immortality of development, power, and prestige” which are part of our spiritual being.

These days we hear of senior Australians competing in major sports events and many still working.

It was found in a study that “how we think about ageing” has a greater impact on our longevity than gender, socioeconomic status, loneliness or how healthy we are.

There is now a much greater recognition of the enormous contributions that seasoned citizens make in our communities.

We should celebrate senior achievers and champion the qualities they express – their victories over age can be attainable for ourselves.

A Journal of Physiology study found, “positive self-perceptions can prolong life expectancy...how we age is, to a large degree, up to us.”

So envisage for your older self a life of volunteering or enthusiastic service, increased tolerance and humour, a wealth of experience and the wisdom to tackle any problem.

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And understanding why we have grounds for such hope can help avert the wave of panic when we face our own mortality as a result of the loss of a close loved one.

Neurologist Dr Peter Whitehouse describes ageing as our “unique ability to grow spiritually and mentally.”

The way I see it, such spiritual growth is key. I’ve found that a developing consciousness of our present spiritual nature – made in the “image and likeness of God”, as the Bible puts it – helps to extinguish fears about ageing that grow out of a more material sense of ourselves.

I like how the Bible points to a deeper means, saying, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.” (John 6:63)

Eddy’s summation in Science and Health gives practical advice, “Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.”

From Kay Stroud’s blog: heatlh4thinkers