Discovering your Passion When You’re Over 55

“What’s my purpose?” It’s a question we ask ourselves throughout our lives – as teens, then as college graduates, as new parents and as empty nesters. But there’s perhaps no more important time to ask that question than as we prepare to retire. After all, work, perhaps parenting, perhaps marriage or a combination of all three has defined the majority of our lives. Now in the absence of full-time responsibility, we have the opportunity to find a new or renewed purpose. The next question is how do you discover your passion when you’re over 55?

The Importance of Purpose

It’s common knowledge that having a sense of purpose gives us direction, fulfillment and happiness, but research has shown it also has a tangible benefit on your health.

  • A study at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri found that rating a person’s sense of purpose even one point higher on a seven-point scale decreased risk of death by 12 percent over 14 years. Plus, the benefits were seen across people in their 20s to 70s, suggesting it’s never too late to find your passion.
  • A study by Rush University Medical Center found that people who have a lower sense of purpose in their lives could be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to people who have a greater sense of purpose.
  • Researchers for the American Heart Association analyzed a number of studies and found that over an average follow-up of 8.5 years, having a high sense of purpose in life was associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes.
  • A study by the University of Michigan found that those who reported having greater life purpose were more likely to make better use of preventative healthcare and spent less time in the hospital compared to those with a lower sense of purpose. 

5 Ways to Discover Your Passion Over Age 55

  1. Adjust your attitude – It all starts with getting yourself in the right frame of mind. Look at this as an opportunity to grow but don’t let pressure to find your purpose right away or fear of failing derail you. It’s a learning process so give yourself some grace, have fun and experiment along the way.
  2. Find your go-to – Most people, whether they realize it or not, are drawn to particular subjects, foods, books, movies, TV shows, hobbies, even types of people. Think about those themes and explore what attracts you to them, as well as how you might expand on them going forward.
  3. Start fresh – If you’re tired of the same ole same ole, perhaps it’s time to switch things up. It can be invigorating to try new things like joining a club, learning a new skill or language or even approaching a familiar task in a different way. You never know what opportunities may come when you put yourself out there.
  4. Make a difference – There’s nothing that warms your heart more than helping someone else. It can certainly give you purpose and for many quickly becomes a passion. To find your cause check with friends and family, local charitable organizations you’re already aware of or connect with online volunteer matching services live VolunteerMatch and SeniorCorps.
  5. Call on your inner child – There’s rarely a time when you’re more true to yourself than in childhood. Think back to what brought you the most joy; also ask your childhood friends or family members what they remember you being passionate about. You may be surprised to find that your purpose has been waiting for you all these years!

Bonus Tip – Change Your Scenery in Over 55 Communities

People are moving to over 55 communities earlier than ever these days and they’re an ideal place to find your passion. They offer a more active, convenient and carefree lifestyle than you may find at home, giving you more time and opportunity to fulfill your purpose. With various clubs, daily activities and enrichment opportunities, over 55 communities are plugged in locally in ways hard to achieve on your own.

For more information on the benefits of our over 55 communities, contact us today to schedule a visit →

5 Diet and Nutrition Tips for Active Seniors

The adage “You are what you eat,” has particular significance as you age. Throughout your adult life you’re advised to eat smart and make healthy choices to be your best self. But let’s be honest, doing that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Couple that with dietary needs related to health conditions, medications, bone health, gut health, immune function – the list goes on – and nutrition becomes even more complex the older you get. Who has time for it all? And who can make sense of it? We can help with these 5 Diet and Nutrition Tips for Active Seniors.

Simplifying Diet and Nutrition for Active Seniors

  1. Diet Dos

The National Institute on Aging recommends these daily servings for seniors:

  • Fruits — 1½ to 2½ cups
  • Vegetables — 2 to 3½ cups
  • Grains – 5 to 10 ounces
  • Protein foods — 5 to 7 ounces
  • Dairy foods — 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Oils — 5 to 8 teaspoons
  • Keep the amount of solid fats, added sugars and sodium (salt) to a minimum

And don’t forget the water! In general adults need about 64 ounces of fluid every day (through beverages or food), but that amount can vary with heat, strenuous activity, medications and health conditions so check with your doctor on what’s best for you.

 

  1. Nutrient Know-How
  • Vitamin D and calcium are important in helping to prevent osteoporosis and can be found in foods such as fortified cereal, bread and juice.
  • B12 can help with energy levels and can be found in beef liver, mackerel, sardines, red meat, yogurt and fortified cereals.
  • Fiber is helpful in digestion, lowering cholesterol, maintaining healthy weight and stabilizing blood glucose levels and can be found in beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseeds, chia seeds, salmon, walnuts, tofu, shellfish, canola oil, navy beans, Brussel sprouts, and avocados) and flavonoid-rich foods (dark berries, cocoa, tea, soy, citrus fruits and red wine) can help promote immune function.
  • Probiotics can help with gut health and can be found in foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi.
  • To reduce salt intake you can try seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, dill, paprika, pepper, citrus and fresh herbs instead.
  • And resources such as ChooseMyPlate.Gov can help you learn how to build healthy meals and better understand how to read nutrition labels.

    1. Smart Shopping

    For the diet and nutrition an active senior needs, smart grocery shopping is key. Plan your weekly menu ahead of time to avoid impulse buying and to stay on budget. Also take advantage of sales to stock your pantry with canned vegetables, beans, fruits and dried foods such as rice and pasta. You can also buy in bulk and freeze into smaller portions that you can thaw and cook later.

    To skip the hassle of grocery shopping altogether, check your local store for online ordering with curbside pickup and/or delivery options, and take a look at meal delivery options such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. Keep in mind however; the convenience will cost you more.

    1. In the Kitchen

    If you’re cooking for one or two, you can make large meals to freeze into smaller portions. Menu ideas include soups, stews, chilies, roasts, casseroles and any kind of slow-cooker meal. You can even make fresh side dishes each time you thaw out a portion to keep it interesting.  What’s more, the sides can also be multipurpose. Have rice as a side one night and use it for a casserole the next. Have chicken as a main dish in one meal and use leftovers in sandwiches for another.

    Add more variety and convenience with a dedicated cooking day a couple of times a month where you make several meals to portion and freeze. Then you avoid having the same meal multiple times in a row.

    1. Time-Saving Tech

    Active seniors are more tech savvy than ever and you can take advantage of that to keep your diet and nutrition on track as well. Save yourself some of the legwork with apps such as:

    • Food Network in the Kitchen — Offers over 50,000 recipes in categories such as Healthy, Weeknight Dinners, Quick and Easy.
    • Fooducate — Provides nutritional information from barcodes, helps you understand nutritional labels and offers healthy suggestions. You can also manually enter a meal’s nutritional information and track calories and exercise.
    • Shop well — Barcode scanning and shopping assistant that rates foods and grocery items according to your nutritional objectives and/or dietary restrictions and provides nutritional pointers.
    • Nutrients — Offers search for specific foods or ingredients with breakdown of nutritional content, or for particular nutrients to find foods with that nutrient. You can also customize recipes with a specific mix of ingredients.
    • Livestrong.com’s MyPlate Calorie Tracker — Allows you to log food/water intake, track consumption habits and includes database of over 2 million food items, a barcode scanner to log prepackaged food and a tool for creating custom meal items. Also doubles as an exercise log with Google Fit and Apple HealthKit integration and support for a variety of wearables.

    For more information on our active senior living communities, contact us today to schedule a visit →