I started thinking about this subject just in December. Oh I had thought of it before but no really at the intensity I have been thinking about it lately. I got hurt on the job in December, 04 and it brought to the forfront "What if I could no longer work?" My doctor told me he thought I should change occupations. I am a in-home-caregiver for the elderly. It is like the shoemakers kids that have no shoes. I deal with aging the results and the planning or lack of planning daily on my job. So I am more aware of the problems than most people. However, in my own life I had not done much about planning. I had just frankly been too busy making a living. I only finished up raising the last of my kids about ten years ago. I since then bought a house which most people do in their 20's and I did too but sold it because I was a single Mom and it was too much upkeep. I began though with buying that house to do some financial planning. I had not had credit in years. My credit scores became very good. I did not use my credit wisely because even at this late age in life I knew very little about managing my money. I knew how to survive as a single Mom and did a pretty good job of raising my children but I certainly never had a lot of extra money. So financial planning never really entered the picture. Well, I digress, I did make some sacrifices to buy this house. I lived in with a lady for five years and saved the money I would have paid on rent for a down payment on a house. I have been in this house since six years. I also have run up a great deal of debt. I have school loans which I finish my college degree at a very late date. They are as much as I would have paid for a house a few years ago. I also have quite a lot of credit card debt which was just plain living beyond my means. I now have bought a financial plan that gave me a strick plan to get out of debt and pay off my house within ten years. This is really the first real planning I had done as far as aging went. The counselor said to me what is the payoff for this plan? I just didn't know. Then I thought well what I want is to pay off all these debts and my house. Then next I want to sell my house and find another one in a less expensive area. I also began a plan of having three business online. If I could have my own online business which I could make a good living at then I could work from anywhere. I have not gone much beyond that.
Now I guess my next steps are to work on the business that I am going to try and build. Continue with my financial plan to pay off my debts. I also need to get a funeral plan, a will, a health care directive and write to my children what I would like done with my personal belongs.
I have come across a site on immortality that I intend to explore completely. I thought that it was about wanting to live forever but the more I read of it the more I think it is about quality of life. I read a lot of other stuff In the Encyclopedia of Aging, Palmore (1995) says that a comprehensive definition of successful aging "would combine survival (longevity), health (lack of disability), and life satisfaction (happiness)." (p. 914). Additionally, some gerontologists have discussed similar issues using different terms such as "adjustment" or "adaptation" to aging.
A second major theory of aging, referred to as "activity theory", proposed that people age most successfully when they participate in a full round of daily activities, that is, keep busy (Lemon, Bengtson & Peterson (1972). This theory seemed to explain the surge of volunteerism and senior activism in the 1960s and 1970s and may have been partly responsible for public policies which underwrote the development of senior centers and other recreational facilities in that period. Today, the theory has been discarded by gerontologists who view it as too narrow in its implied advocacy of one particular lifestyle. Empirical research has demonstrated the heterogeneity of older people, including many people who prefer less structured lives or do not have the health or means to pursue a full schedule of activities. Nevertheless, activity is widely touted by older adults themselves as the key to successful aging, so much so that gerontologists have dubbed this philosophy "the busy ethic" (Ekerdt, 1986). I never liked this theory why should older adults give away there time. They are more experienced and better able to mentor. They should in my opinion be hired as mentors to business. Successful Aging
Aging is something we all have in common. But I truely believe we can choose a lot of how we age. We can eat right, take vitamins, exercise our body and our minds. We can grow spiritually. We can find things that interest us. For me this is writing and research. I am not very consistant in eating right and exercising. I don't know why this is because I am really motivated to exercise and eat right for a while then I lose my motivation. I work nights and sometimes I just get really tired and don't want to do anything but sleep. But I have that choice and I know it will effect how I age. We all have done something for a living for a long while and I have been a caregiver now for ten years or more but I have been many other things in life and I have the capacity to work at another profession. It is just overcoming procrastionation. It is hard to change somethings don't fit anymore but we go on doing them anyway. As I write and research more about this I will let you know how I do.