According to a quote by Abraham Lincoln,” Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Is today’s aging population happy or are they the stereotypical “grumpy old man” or “ grumpy old women.” How important is it to be as happy as we age? In an article in the Journal of Psychosocial Research entitled “Happiness and Aging,” by Mhaske Rajendra, happiness is defined as a “positive emotional state that is subjectively defined by each person and consists of three components: a cognitive appraisal of wellbeing (life satisfaction), positive affect and (lack of) negative affect. Aging is a common phenomenon that occurs in all living things and begins at the moment of our birth. Old-Age, on the other hand, is often defined by society as anyone over the age of 65 years of age.
How important is happiness in the aging process as we get beyond the age of 65? As the Director of Nursing of Infinity Healthcare Services, I see many clients who are older than 65 years old. Some of my clients appear to be happy while others do not. As I sit with each client and develop their Plan of Care, I am struck with the fact that the happier the client is, or put another way, the more positive is their attitude, the healthier they seem to be. In addition, the more active the client is or is willing to become, the more likely they are to be as healthy as they age. Author Christopher Bergland in his article, “What Daily Habit Can Boost “Healthy Aging” Sevenfold?” in Psychology Today wrote about a study on the effects of physical activity and aging. The goal of this study was to quantify the impact regular physical activity had on the risk of developing long term conditions such as depression, and dementia, versus the likelihood of “healthy aging.” Inactivity is now ranked alongside smoking, excess drinking, and obesity as a leading cause of reduced life expectancy in developed countries. Obviously, many factors can affect our client’s ability to be physically active, but when I talk to most clients about getting or staying active, they are usually eager to comply.
Putting all this together, it is important for me, as the Director of Infinity Healthcare Services, to understand how all these issues impact on the health and wellbeing of each individual client. Helping each client and their family achieve health and happiness in their home setting takes a team of highly trained professionals. By promoting a healthy lifestyle at no matter what age, our senior population can be healthy and happy in their home setting.
Linda McAndrew BSN
Director of Nursing
Infinity Healthcare Services