Archive | March 2012

The Elderly and the Happiest Years

As the elders age, they go through many physiological and psychological changes. Their skin gets full of wrinkles, their bodies become weaker and saggy, and they may suffer from aches and pain (Bryner, 2010). Remembering things might become harder as well since cognitive changes are present. Some people believe that becoming older adults is depressing. The stereotypes say that being old is the saddest part of life and that the elderly are not capable of doing many things that younger people do. Some people see old age as a negative thing because they believe that it brings loneliness, but this is not true (Tanner, 2008). It has been found that for many elders being a senior is the best and that they are living the happier times of their lives (“Good news for,” 2009). One of the reasons is that the elderly are happy with what they have unlike younger people that focus in what they don’t have and want. The elderly value their accomplishments in life and learn to feel good with what they did in the past. They become more optimistic and realistic than they were before. As the seniors become older, they tend to be happier and more positive.

My grandmother is one of the happiest ladies on earth. She has told me that after all she has been through, being happy is the only option to overcome hard times. Studies have shown that the elderly are happier because as they age, they focus more on their positive memories, not the negative ones (Hsu, 2012). One of the reasons may be that the elderly let go of the past. They live day by day and do not worry about goals anymore. They focus on their well-being. This indicates that the happier that they are, the better they feel.

The cognitive processes in the elderly may be responsible for why they are happier. In a research study, a group of seniors were shown pictures of faces and situations expressing different emotions, both positive and negative. The elderly focused more on the pictures with positive expressions than the negative ones (Hsu, 2012). Cognitive processes also help the elderly with their emotions. In my grandmother’s case, she has decided to forget the painful parts of her past and live life to the fullest because she wants to be happy. She is always smiling and recalling the happy parts of her childhood and when she grew up. She loves talking of how her children were when they were little and what a strong woman she has been all her life. She is optimistic and is satisfied with her life. I can see clearly how she controls her emotions, so learning how to control ones emotions may be a key to being a happy senior. 

To conclude, the elderly become wiser and have reached the maturity which is consistent with happiness (Harms, 2008). All the years have taught them infinite lessons and maybe this makes the happy elderly see life with more enthusiasm. They start focusing on their well-being instead of focusing on goals. The stressful years have passed so they live life with less stress. Unfortunately not everything is perfect and many factors may affect the elderly’s happiness like their social status and the environment where they live but they are still happier than the younger people in their same position (Tanner, 2008). They try to stay away from negativity and try to take the good out from the bad. Some elders that are surrounded by negative people try to stay away from them and look for positive friends. Although the elderly go through hard times in life such as losing friends and family members they tend to be more optimistic and move on from grief. So aging is not bad after all and with age comes happiness as Lindsey Tanner states, “It turns out the golden years really are golden.”  
                          

Works Cited

Bryner, J. (2010, April 04). Live science. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/6274-age-bring-happiness-despair.html

Cox, H. (2011). Annual editions: Aging 11/12. (24th ed., p. 37). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.

Good news for elderly: Happiness keeps growing. (2009, August 13). Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/08/13/good-news-for-elderly-happiness-keeps-growing

Harms, W. (2008, April 16). Uchicago news. Retrieved from http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2008/04/16/age-comes-happiness-university-chicago-study-shows

Hsu, C. (2012, January 09). Medical daily. Retrieved from

http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20120109/8651/seniors-elder-elderly-happiness-cognitive-processes-cognition-well-being-goals-aging-disapp.htm

Tanner, L. (2008, April 18). Usa today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-04-18-older-happier-americans_N.htm

 

 

 

 

           

 

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2012. 2 Comments

Seniors with Pets: the Benefits

 It has been found that seniors who own pets visit their doctors 21% less frequently than those who don’t own a pet, according to The Pets for the Elderly Foundation. One of the many benefits that having a pet bring to the elders is that they keep them busy and active; and they also give them a sense of autonomy. Pets provide them company, unconditional love, and opportunities to socialize more. Any type of pet can be great such as; dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc (Sharnak, 2012). They all have the capacity to fulfill the lives of their owners and motivate them. Choosing the right pet is essential since they have to be taken care of, and bring a lot of responsibilities with them. If the elders are capable of providing the care and the things that the pet needs, then pets can be great companions for them. Seniors that own pets, especially dogs and cats, have been found to live longer lives. Owning a pet has great benefits for the elderly since pets provide great comfort that helps both their psychological and physical health.

When the seniors live alone, having a pet as a companion is great; pets become part of their family. Living alone can bring a lot of health and mental problems to the seniors. They suffer more from depression, stress and health problems and they lack of exercise. Owning a pet can make a big difference in their lives. Pets will keep them company, help reduce their stress and provide them a better sense of well-being (University of California, 2010). Seniors that own pets report that they feel less lonely, that their pets help them go through tough stressful times and that the feeling of responsibility towards their pets makes them feel better. They also have a sense of safety and security because they know that they are not alone. Pets offer unconditional love to them and they can be fun and entertaining as well, passing on positive vibes to their owners. They bring joy into the lives of the elderly helping them live healthier and happier lives.

Moreover, pets provide emotional comfort and motivation. Seniors that own pets are more likely to have active lifestyles and to interact more with other people (Sharnak, 2012). Pets require care, so the elderly have to provide that care and feed them and also make sure that they are fine. If the pet is a dog he needs to be walked and this is good opportunity for the senior to exercise. Their chance of interacting with other people increases as well and they can make new friends because of their pets (Davis, 2004). Cats are great pets for some seniors because they require less physical activity. Fish, birds and small pets are good to provide company and they help the seniors relieve stress. All this leads to better mental health and mental stimulation. Serotonin and dopamine levels are increased making the senior feel positive because of the activity in their brain (Robinson & Segal, 2011).

To conclude, there are a lot of physical health benefits that pets provide. Clinical studies have shown that senior pet owners have lower blood pressure; this can be attributed to their increased physical activity such as walking the dog. Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels have also been found and resilience; increased immunity to disease (Davis, 2004). Some pets are also therapeutic and help improve the overall health. All the health benefits that pets provide are related to why owning a pet can help senior live longer lives. Pets also bring purpose to the elderly so they tend to focus more on themselves because they want to feel good to be able to take care of their loyal companions. Pets are great and they will always be there for them, they are the best company.

References:

Davis, J. (2004). Web md. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/health-benefits-of-pets

Robinson, L., & Segal, J. (2011, June). The thereputic benefits of pets. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/life/pets.htm

Sharnak, B. (2012). Everyday health. Retrieved from http://www.everydayhealth.com/pet-health/pets-for-the-elderly.aspx

University of California. (2010). Companion animal behavior program. Retrieved from http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/CCAB/elderly.htm

 

This entry was posted on March 4, 2012. 2 Comments