Health & Wellness

Living with Purpose in 2021: Tips for Seniors

Hello, 2021! After 2020, most agree it’s time to shake off COVID-19 melancholy and embrace a new beginning, so why not make it a purposeful year? 

Purpose can mean many things. Purpose can translate to inspire dedication and devotion, or principle and function, or an intent, objective or goal. Together, purpose can mean dedication to a principle with intent and a goal in mind. Whatever definition speaks to you, they all have one thing in common – they are our motivating force to engage with life! Here are a few tips for making life purposeful in 2021.

Tip 1. Find your perfect purpose

Life changes in all kinds of ways, and the journey from adult to senior is no different. Purpose as an adult was found in raising a family, building a career, and maintaining a home. All very worthy pursuits, but over time they are no longer the driving forces they once were. When retirement comes along, suddenly all that time can weigh heavy, unless a new purpose is found.

Being purposeful essentially means pursuing a goal or objective, and the sky’s the limit. For seniors, living with purpose can be found in a very broad range of activities, from completing a bucket list, to learning something new, to helping others. By simply refocusing on what you have yet to accomplish, but always wanted to, a purpose can be easy to find. It’s no longer a boss directing the decision, it’s all up to each individual to assess what it is deep within and choose a new path.

For example, if volunteering has always seemed like something fulfilling to try, take the time to look into organizations that could use your talents and experience. A good place to start is volunteermatch.org, where visitors can quickly assess the best match for them.

Perhaps improving your health and well-being is the goal. BlueZones.com, has a wealth of information covering diet, exercise and mindfulness. Or maybe travel is on the list. Even though COVID-19 will be directing travel for a while yet, it’s never too early to plan an itinerary and get up to speed with senior discounts and tours. SeniorLiving.org can help get started, as can AARP’s Travel Center.

Keep in mind however, purpose doesn’t have to be a grand event or undertaking. It can be something as simple as a weekly goal to communicate more with friends and family, try a new recipe, or learn to draw or paint. The blog, “7 Ways To Help Seniors Find A Sense Of Purpose” from seniorsmatter.com, has more information to help.

Tip 2. Reignite a passion 

Concentrate on what makes (or would make) you happy and gives you reason to embrace each new day. Being part of something as simple as a reading group, a writing workshop or a yoga class can often fill a void and bring new people into your life. Perhaps an old hobby was set aside years ago that could be resurrected, such as playing the guitar or piano. Maybe finishing a college degree, learning a new language or even dabbling in the path you didn’t take (like art history or archeology) when you chose that business degree. Sometimes just reigniting an old passion can also reignite your whole life! Thoughtcatalog.com, has a great list of ways to begin in the blog, “12 Easy Ways To Reignite Your Passion For Life.”

Tip 3. Open your heart

Sometimes it’s not what you have but what you’re missing that can determine purpose. Life brings on changes that are often not within our control. Friends move, families fall out, and choices are made that, in retrospect, were not the best idea after all. Sometimes, righting wrongs and finding or giving forgiveness can help bring about a whole new sense of purpose where there once was only regret.

If there are people from the past that would benefit from hearing from you, make a list and try to track down contact information through other friends, family or online. Extending (and accepting) the olive branch can not only build bridges, it can take a heavy load off your conscience and maybe even add years to your life. Find out more about the benefits of forgiveness in the Psychology Today article, “8 Reasons to Forgive.”

Tip 4. Keep smiling

One of the best ways to enjoy life is to be positive and embrace positive emotions. Everyone has down days, sadness and grief, but making a conscious effort to reflect on the glass half full, rather than half empty, can go a long way toward creating a purposeful life. By making a smile part of your purpose, you will lower stress and feel better while you make others smile too. Most of all, your smile is only yours to give and a great gift for all who receive it! Find out more about the importance of being upbeat in the heathline.com article, “A Good Attitude Is Crucial Medicine for Seniors.”

Finding purpose in retirement can make life better and longer. At Arrow Senior Living we understand the importance of purpose and strive to help each resident live the fullest possible life.  Download our guide- Blue Zones and contact us today to learn more.

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