I have a 72 yr. old male client who is making tremendous progress (and can work circles around a couple of my 40-something guys) but complains about the struggles of aging at least once a week. He has always been a high energy, go-go-go type person, but the last couple years his body isn’t allowing that as much anymore.
Any suggestions on helping him with mindset and embracing the aging process?
There is no easy or right answer but I will do my best. Many seniors suffer from depression and your guy might be one of them. Even if he’s pretty healthy, his body is still 72 years old. You and I don’t personally know what that’s like yet, but he’s bound to have some issues related to the aging process even if he hasn’t mentioned them. He may also be dealing with a lot of loss–friends, or perhaps a spouse who’s ill or who has passed. He could be feeling less useful if he’s retired–as though his life has less purpose. He may be looking back on his life and contemplating what he has or hasn’t done, and all of this can affect his outlook. It has more to do with his mental state than with his fitness level. But here are few suggestions you can propose to him:
Encourage him to get involved with other seniors. Your local Senior Center is a good place to start, as is a program like Meals on Wheels. If he’s healthy, he can volunteer, which will keep him busy and active and will expose him to others who may not be as healthy as he is. This should make him feel grateful for the gift of health and will put things into perspective a bit. He may even feel like he’s inspiring others and that he has more of a purpose. He could also look to a church or civil organization if he finds a meaningful connection to a cause. I’m thinking Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lions Club, and animal shelter, or a veterans’ organization if he’s a vet. He could mentor students in the field his career was in. Or maybe it’s something less structured like driving other, less healthy seniors to doctor appointments or errands.
I hope this helps. Good luck!