PUTTING THE ‘PRO’ BACK IN AGING: A SERIES FOCUSING ON AGING GRACEFULLY

Cultivating a Positive Mindset, with a Morning Huddle

by Jennifer Crowley BSN RN CLCP CDP

Research has been done to study the knowledge, attitudes and anxiety related to Aging.  Attributable to the growing number of older adults and continued interest in how to best serve our older populations, many aspects related to societal expectations and perceptions of aging are being studied.   Linda Allen writes about one study in the Journal of Educational Gerontology. Comprised of university students, research found that having more factual knowledge of aging did reduce the level of ageist attitudes and those with more knowledge were less anxious about aging. Allen provides an opinion that young adults who are anxious about their own future aging may assign to the elderly negative stereotypes which they fear will describe their own future selves. Cultivating a positive mindset, for many, takes time and practice. It is what they say, attitude is contagious. Those we gather around or come into contact regularly can change the way we perceive the world and offer opportunities to practice our positive positioning. Or, adversely, promote negativity. Not everyone will appreciate the idea of refining the concept of aging or may find it difficult to manage the day-to-day emotional and physical challenges while growing older. In one of the classes I teach regularly, I encourage students (future caregivers) to be the beacon of light in the face of despair. Perhaps too strong of a word, the dictionary defines despair as the loss of hope, which is often accompanied by low spirits, gloom, and difficulty coping. We can improve our own mindset when applying principles on successful leadership. Take for example the morning huddle. Start each day with a meeting with yourself, reviewing your attitude and feelings. We all have daily tasks and affairs to manage, which can stifle our ability to focus on the valued parts of our identity. Cultivate your garden of knowledge, experience, and passion. Rekindle and refine your mind to include only positive thoughts on where you are in life and strategize for what it is you need to improve your physical or intellectual vigor. Vitality can occur at any age and can improve your capacity to endure. Through positive interactions, engagement in meaningful relationships and experiences, we can shift our own thinking, and that of others, to a pro-aging mindset, with less anxiety for the future.

Linda J. Allan & James A. Johnson (2008) Undergraduate Attitudes Toward the Elderly: The Role of Knowledge, Contact and Aging Anxiety, Educational Gerontology, 35:1, 1-14, DOI: 10.1080/03601270802299780

 

Jennifer Crowley is author of “7 Steps to Long-term Care Planning” a guidebook to assist individuals, families and professionals in designing a road map for aging.  She is the principal  of a management and consulting company, Eagleview West, which assists with assessments and care planning with professional services including case management and elder issue resolution and transition planning.

406-212-0620 or www.EagleviewWest.com  Jennifer@EagleviewWest.com