Mental Toughness for Older Adults!

Mental Toughness for Older Adults!

Jane Meyers-Bowen MN

Although many fear that aging with bring with it a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease  Based on data for Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older, Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia had been diagnosed in only 8 percent of white older adults, 11 percent of African-Americans and 12 percent of Hispanics.

For those without dementia, brain health is something that is moving to the forefront in the national conversation. With all the research about Traumatic Brain Injury in sports, many of our ideas are changing.  When I was in nursing school decades ago, if someone had a stroke there was little hope for life without disability. Today stroke treatment within the golden hour  can reverse or prevent brain damage with the use of  the powerful clot-busting drug known as tPA (short for tissue plasminogen activator), if given within the first few hours after a stroke.  The whole field of rehabilitative medicine has proven that 90 year old bodies can build strength, use and agility. Who knew? Lifestyle can have a profound impact and aging your brain.

We witness older adults living alone in their homes will present bodies that have decompensated gradually over time. If it hurts to move, it’s the human condition to not move. Going to the store, preparing healthy food, staying in touch with friends become taxing.  Without exercise, good food, and being connected with others we pay a price. Those dynamics begin to grind away on one’s body, mind, and social confidence.

Moving from the home you raised your children in, planted your prize winning roses in, and celebrated life’s joyful occasions, can feel like you are letting go of all that matters. Yet, putting yourself in a healthier environment can save the quality of your life. Retirement communities offer the lifestyle that the doctor orders- healthy food, exercise, socialization, and reduced stress. 

Mental Toughness requires one to focus outward on the challenges that must be handled. The research based thought calls it RESILENCY.   If it is making lemonade out of lemons, keeping a positive sense of self, and staying focused on the problem to solve rather than the emotion surrounding the problem. In my family we call it “going down the rabbit hole” which takes you deep into nowhere. New self talk like- “change is good” and “this will be a great journey” keeps your stress down which is correlated with brain health.  All kinds of good things are ahead. A resident who moved into Garden Court said, “when I was living at home I was focused on everything I couldn’t do anymore. Now, I focus on all the things I can do.”

Know that there are always trade-offs.  There can be a lot of living left in life. Live it Well.

Garden Court Retirement is locally owned and managed and located in south Everett.  It  has been awarded Best in Senior Living in the greater Seattle area and in the top 1% of retirement communities in the country. Tours are available 7 days per week. Call 425 438-9080.