The key to spirituality and aging well came in a most unusual way for this doctor whose health forced him into retirement. What choices might you make if you found yourself in his position? Watch this video.
This video clip has a surprising twist. No one could accuse this highly trained neurologist of having lived a frivolous life. His lifelong dedication to helping others cannot be questioned. Yet, when a serious illness and threat to his own eyesight forced new decisions, he did not go the way of depression or despair. His approach to spirituality and aging well are not at all what one might expect.
Now watch this video with your aging parents and talk about what gives meaning and purpose to their lives.
As the deficits of aging take their toll, it's easy for the possibility
of grief to be overwhelming. This doctor was losing his sight, and with it his career. But this serious loss, did not define "the end".
It's too easy for any of us to get stuck in only one version of what we're "supposed" to do, and let the rest of our life pass us by. It's also easy to pass judgment on other people for not conforming to what we expect.
Exploring your parents' heart of hearts on these issues might be new territory. As you think about the future, perhaps neither you nor your parents would choose to roller skate by the beach all day. But do you even have a clue what might bring them the deepest joy? Is it possible to imagine that despite losses they may be experiencing, that other routes to happiness might still exist? Have you even considered that you might be able to help them recreate their life so they get to experience more of that (whatever that is)?
Even if you don't want to dive into the spiritual aspects of this clip, it's a total ad for the benefits of senior exercise. The scientific studies are clear: "These late-in-life exercisers had about a seven-fold reduction in their risk of becoming ill or infirm after eight years compared with those who became or remained sedentary, even when the researchers took into account smoking, wealth and other factors."