Our western society and its expectations of its citizens to produce at whatever costs has in its quest neglected to consider the innate importance of the individual and with aging with dignity at whatever level. From the day we are born to the day we die we are aging. The question isn’t so much about how we are aging as it is more about how we are living. We need to live with self-respect for ourselves and others at any age.
The perception that an aging person has no value can result in isolation and loneliness. At any age this is tragic. In the elderly it is important to be active, take an interest in the world around you to prevent depression taking hold.
It is well documented that people who have just retired are at the lowest point in their lives in terms of self esteem. When the individual retires the identity and purpose in life has been removed instantly and it is very hard to adjust to this change. This is why it is so important for individuals to be determined to age with dignity.
You need to be aware that you are more than your job. Focus and develop your own special preferences and interests outside of the work place. Placing value only on material and monetary accumulation is pointless at any age. The most important factors at this time are the memories, the relationships, the joy and the sorrow. Not only are the relationships developed with our friends, family and community becoming more important but the way we see ourselves is crucial too.
Deep down everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated for themselves. Not for their possessions or station in life. Personal dignity should be a constant in our lives.
Now, or at anytime it is important to exercise your body and mind and appreciate the feel of your body in motion and it will respond gratefully and with wonderful energy if given time to express itself.
Now is the time to open your mind and examine your belief system and realize that compassion for others and even for yourself is most important. Values to consider and hold onto while aging with dignity.
The very old are not the only ones who need to have dignity in their lives. The displaced manager whose job has become redundant may be the best example of a person in critical need of holding on to dignity.
Clinging to the concept that beauty can only be found in youth is a foolishness of modern society. Aging is a part of the natural process which should command respect - as it does in other cultures. It is in and of itself perfection. As a society and as individuals we must change the perception of aging. Aging with dignity requires appreciation of the value of human life at whatever stage.