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this reflection and my time spent in this class, my views on health, aging,
older adults, and caring for older adults has changed slightly. I am very cognizant of my health and what I
do now greatly impacts how I act later in life.
My views on older adults are that they can be fully functioning, contributing
members of society, or hospital bound, needing the utmost care and help. Regardless of their physical condition, both
the healthy and the infirmed, I treat no different. In my practice and in life generally, I treat
everyone that I encounter in the manner as how I want to be treated. Politeness, empathy, caring, jovial,
supportive, etcetera, are just a few adjectives that I would use when I
describe how I treat and view not only the elderly, but all people I meet and
know. It is interesting to note that of
all the articles that we read and of all the videos that we watched, what I
gained the most knowledge or insight from was from our discussions in the
classroom. The topic of ageism was
discussed and we all agree that although ageism is real and it exists, it
doesn’t have to. The elderly are more
insightful than most of us give credit for.
Listen to them and learn from them as they have a lifetime of
my classmates, I have an advantage, or disadvantage depending on one’s point of
view, on the aging process. To some of
my classmates, getting older is so far away that it is the farthest thought on
their minds. For me, knowing that as a
51 year old male, my elderly years are a short distance away. For me, aging is meaningful to my life. As I have aged and grown, I experienced
multiple changes in my life. Aging is
crucial because it makes us move from one state of experience to another and
makes us discover new things in life.
Staying physically, mentally, and socially fit and active, to this point,
has helped me experience aging in a healthy way. Healthy aging, from my point of view, makes
one stronger and more energetic. Healthy
aging is meaningful to me in terms of my actions and how I related to my loved
ones and my friends. For me, growing old
should not be feared, but embraced, embraced with excitement, joy, and with humility
for the great things yet to come.
The above goals fall perfectly into the S.M.A.R.T. goal
logarithm and will be beneficial for my mind and body as I age. To incorporate the “be more active” objective,
I plan to walk or ride a bike for thirty minutes a day for five of the seven
days of the week. Each walk or ride will
be tracked in a daily log and I can make this attainable by exercising with my
wife. Realistically, I will need to
start slow, maybe at 15 to 20 minutes in the beginning then moving to longer
durations as my stamina increases. The
second objective of “losing twenty-five pounds” is a great target number for
me. I can obtain this objective over
the next twelve months and track it by recording weekly weigh-ins. Once this objective has been met, then this
can be adjusted for maintaining a healthy weight. As for the eating healthier option, the goal going
forward is to make healthy eating a lifelong habit and to do this I will not
eat fast-food and curb my junk food habits.
Accomplishment of this is by preparing menus, preparing meals ahead of
time, making use of crock pots, and replacing junk food with healthier
options. As with the exercise plan, my
wife can be my partner to help me achieve this and to ensure completion of this
objective a menu book will be created along with a food journal which tracks my
eating choices. This will be measured
over a twelve month period and using the journal I can verify if the objective
was accomplished. These objectives are
obtainable and I do realize that there will be times where I may fall short and
may even regress a bit while making these lifestyle changes. I am an optimist though and through these
S.M.A.R.T. goal objectives, dedication, and even hard work, there should be no
reason why I should not be standing tall on one of those mountains.
So where do I see myself when I reach ninety years? Just like the picture that I included in this
reflection, the goal is to be standing in a similar pose, back somewhere down
in the Grand Canyon, or one of a numerous other fantastic places like it. To reach those dreams, and using the S.M.A.R.T.
goal logarithm, I have started making changes to my lifestyle. Using the S.M.A.R.T. goal logarithm, and in
order for me to see myself at the age of ninety as indicated in the picture
included in this reflection, I have already implemented the following; to be
more active; to lose twenty-five pounds; and to eat healthier to maintain
As I reflect on my life and ponder my future, I ask
myself what am I doing or what do I need to do so that I can be physically and
mentally fit so that I can reach and attain my goals and dreams. Within those thoughts, and as they say, with
age comes wisdom, those goals and dreams can be reached by acting now. But the actions I take today cannot be
unrealistic or one that I find too difficult to perform and give up on. So in order to reach those goals, they should
be set up using the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.
As stated on the University of Virginia’s Human Resources page, “A
S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is specific, measureable, achievable,
results-focused, and time-bound” (UVA, 2012).
Defined within the acronyms, the letter “S” means that the objective should by clear and detailed as to
what you are going to do. “M” states that the objective should be
measureable so that you have proof of accomplishment while “A” indicates that the objective is realistic and obtainable. “R”
simply states that the applied objective outcome should be measured, not the
activity itself, and “T” represents
that the objectives results should be reached in a set period of time.
My health now is generally well, however there is always
room for improvement. I have no family
history of any cognitive or psychological defects so when I am ninety I expect
that my mental capacity will be the same as it is today. Physically, today, I could stand to lose more
weight and utilize the gym more than I am now as this would only bolster a
healthier lifestyle later on. All in all
though, at age ninety, I see myself as I saw my parents as well as their
parents, living a full, prosperous, productive, and healthy life.
When I am ninety, I would like to think that I am still
married to my lovely wife and we are still able to enjoy life to its
fullest. We currently have a cat now and
I am pretty sure we will outlive her. I
know we would like to get another pet, but my wife and I disagree as to it
being either a cat (her) or dog (me). So
during my later years, living life to its fullest, we have another cat, maybe
two, and quite frankly, I am good with that.
With all the extended trips to explore, hike, and camp, it would be a
hardship to leave the dog alone. But
then again, it would be easier to take a dog versus a cat – I’ll have to work
The picture at the end of this reflection is a copy of a
picture of me taken many years ago while hiking the Grand Canyon. As mentioned in the belief section, I am an
optimistic, and with that being said, I still see myself hiking the canyon as
well as many other places. We all have
goals for the future, and my future goals are in the preparation stages
today. My wife and I share the same goal
which is to move to Arizona and retire there.
The reality is that this goal will happen in less than four years. We both love the southwest and plan to take
advantage of all it has to offer. Within
our goal, is to purchase our dream home, big enough to accommodate all of our
children. All this planning, moving, and
preparation will hopefully take me well into my nineties.
am optimistic my future holds great adventures for my wife and I. I feel that aging is not to be feared but to
be accepted. I realize and recognize
that there will be limitations and that the things I did in my twenties I may
not be able to do in my seventies. But
that does not mean that I need to give in and not enjoy my elderly years. I am in my early fifties now and I have so
much living left to do. I am taking steps
to ensure that as I age I can enjoy myself, just as I did in my twenties.
mother was a huge influence on me and even today I recollect her advice when I
felt down or when things were not going well for me. I always thought I was looking for a
sympathetic ear when I discussed those tough days, but I realize now that she
was reminding me that my glass should always be half full. When I talked to her about what was going
wrong in my life, she would quickly remind me and tell me that I had two
options. One was to either sit in the
corner and wallow in my pity and let my situation control me, or two, meet my
situation head on and take control of my situation. As an optimist, I always chose the latter.
I was raised in a loving, caring family where not only my
parents took an interest in my development, but so did my extended family such
as my aunts and uncles. As far back as I
can remember, growing up my parents never looked at their elders with distain
or thinking they were burdens. The
elders in my family as well as those not in my family were treated with
respect, dignity, and were highly thought of.
My grandparents lived full lives, as does my parents. My father today is leading an independent life,
fully functioning as well as a fully contributing member to not only his family
but to his peers and community. As I was
raised, I too shall live my life. I like
to think that I have been a good father to all my children and helped them to
realize that as we age we do not have to slow down. I think the best advice I gave them is that as
we age, we do have to get older but we do not have to grow up.
The question for this section is, “Am I a glass half full
or empty type of person?” Without a
doubt, I am a half full person, meaning more optimistic than pessimistic. For most of my life, I have always seen
myself this way. There have been times that
I felt I was pessimistic, but on a whole, I always tried to remain
optimistic. I realized that during my
pessimistic times, things that I worried about were things that were not in my
control and the results or consequences were going to happen no matter what I
did. It was during those times that I
reminded myself that remaining optimistic is not only more healthy, but when I
expect good things to happen, they usually do.
What makes me most nervous about aging and not being
able to reach my goals is frailty. Older
adults are weaker and present with many complex medical problems, often needing
assistance performing activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, or
toileting. Unfortunately, “women tend to
be frailer than men as they tend to live longer than their male counter parts”
(Torpy, 2016). That fact alone does not
exclude that males too become frailer as they age. In my case, a factor that is a risk factor is
a lack of exercise. I do exercise once
or twice a week, but I should increase the frequency of exercise sessions to become
more physically fit and to extend my chances of staying active as I age. Frailty is also “how the individual perceives
themselves” (Torpy, 2016) so keeping my mind, or cognition, active in conjunction
with being physically active is just as important as we age. I currently enjoying playing word puzzles in
my downtime and as a nurse, utilizing my critical thinking skills on a daily
basis also helps keep my mind focused.
And as always, eating nutritional meals every day also helps delay the
effects of aging.
social isolation and exclusion is prevalent with today’s elderly” (WHO,
2017). With costs related to health care
and prescription drugs rising, many older adults simply cannot afford these
necessary items. Likewise, social
isolation and exclusion are risk factors that affect the elderly as well. These risk factors affect many aspects of
health and well-being which include mental health. Fortunately, I have been prosperous in the
fact that my future outlook will be secure, far from these risk factors. What I have done in the past and today has
allowed me to be socially and economically stable, with a loving family that
supports one another unconditionally.
As we learned in class, risk factors can be any condition
that may have a damaging effect on one’s health and functioning. According to the World Health Organization
(WHO), “as we age, these risk factors can be prevented or reduced by addressing
various risk factors earlier in life. By
addressing at an early age poverty, social isolation, exclusion, injury, and
frailty” (WHO, 2017), we can live a long, prosperous life.
When it comes to my own aging, I understand my
weaknesses and strengths. My strengths
range from being fit, healthy and active. But above all, I would like to think that my
main strength is knowledge. Through the
education I have received and am still receiving, I have knowledge and know
resources that will be able to assist me as I grow older. From “prevention to community-based solutions
such as available health care close to an individual, through empowerment of
self-direction, self-determination, and self-advocacy, all facets of aging
should be taken advantage of” (NCOA, n.d.).
I know and understand that I need to be better at eating healthy meals,
lose weight, and exercise more so that as I age, I can enjoy life as I do
today. As they say, knowledge is power.
aging is obtainable. I have family
members that have lived full and productive lives well into their late 70’s and
80’s. During this semester, we reviewed
numerous topics, from demographics of aging, aging theories, age related changes,
to assessment and medications of the older adult. Strengths can be found in all
of those topics and more, but it remains up to the individual to harness those strengths.
Elderly people are an interesting demographic.
They are strong, independent, full of life.
It is interesting to note, one study
found that “being aged 65 years and older, most individuals did not want to
identify themselves as old” (Gyllencreutz &
Saveman, 2015). Another study found that
older adults “do not wish to be passive recipients’ of medication treatments,
but to take an interest and a bigger role regarding the medications they are
being prescribed” (Josefsson, Gmeiner, & Karlsson, 2015). Those two statements alone are very powerful
strengths; not wanting to be identified as old and being knowledgeable while being
an active participant in their own management of medications.