Happy elders live longer- The Ikigai way


Ikigai, a Japanese concept that combines the two words “iki” meaning life and “gai” meaning worth, is often associated with having a sense of purpose or meaning in life. It refers to the reason for being, the thing that brings joy and fulfillment to one’s life. Having a sense of purpose is important at any stage of life, including old age, as it can contribute to overall well-being and happiness. In fact, research has shown that senior citizens who have a sense of purpose have a better physical and mental health, improved cognitive function, and a higher quality of life. They were 9% decreased chance of dying, 36% less probablity of developing dementia, 31% decreased chance of developing fumctional limitation.

As people age, they may face various challenges such as retirement, declining physical health, loss of loved ones, and changes in social roles. These challenges can sometimes lead to a loss of purpose or a sense of emptiness. However, it is never too late to cultivate a sense of purpose and find meaning in life during old age. Here are some ways older adults can develop and maintain a sense of purpose:

Reflect on personal values and interests

Reflecting on what truly matters to oneself and what brings joy and fulfilment can help older adults identify their values and interests. Engaging in activities that align with these values and interests can provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Set meaningful goals

Setting realistic and achievable goals can provide older adults with a sense of purpose and direction. These goals can be related to various aspects of life, such as health, hobbies, relationships, or community involvement. Having something to strive for can give a sense of purpose and motivation.

Engage in meaningful activities

Engaging in activities that bring a sense of joy, satisfaction, and accomplishment can contribute to a sense of purpose in old age. This can include hobbies, volunteering, learning new skills, or spending time with loved ones. Engaging in activities that have meaning and significance can create a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Maintain social connections

Social connections are crucial for a sense of purpose in old age. Spending time with loved ones, participating in social activities, and staying connected with the community can provide a sense of belonging and purpose. Building and maintaining social relationships can contribute to overall well-being and a sense of purpose.

Give back to others

Contributing to the well-being of others through acts of kindness, volunteering, or mentoring can give a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Helping others and making a positive impact on the lives of others can provide a deep sense of meaning and purpose in life.

Cultivate a positive mindset

Maintaining a positive mindset and focusing on the positives in life can contribute to a sense of purpose. Practicing gratitude, mindfulness, and self-compassion can help older adults develop a positive outlook on life and find meaning in everyday experiences.

Seek professional help if needed

If an older adult is struggling with finding a sense of purpose, it may be helpful to seek support from a mental health professional, counselor, or therapist. They can provide guidance, support, and tools to help explore and develop a sense of purpose in old age.

What matters in the end 

“the regrets of the dying” was a blogpost by Bronnie Ware where she lists ut the five regrets of the dying people. Most of them were “ideals”, where they regretted to follow their passion, interests, dreams and fail to live up to their potential.

The five regrets were

  1. I wish I had the courag to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

In conclusion, having a sense of purpose is important in old age and can contribute to overall well-being and happiness. graceful aging is always being happy and healthy than keeping wrinkles at bay. It’s important to surround you with good friends and do things that bring you joy.It can always bring challenges, be open to talk to someone be it a friend or a professional. Make regular health checkups a habit and health reviews with a Geriatrician. It’s never too late to find meaning and fulfilment in life, and embracing the concept of Ikigai can be a valuable approach to cultivate a sense of purpose in old age.

Good health always add lives to years !


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