CONTROL THE ENEMIES OF POSITIVE AGEING

Positive psychologist Seligman has discussed many features of positive psychology. Positive aging should be understood in the light of the important premise of positive psychology, the premise is – human beings possess strengths and resources that can be used as buffers against challenges or realities of life. The specific strengths according to Seligman are: “courage, future mindedness, optimism, interpersonal skill, faith, work ethic, hope, honesty, perseverance and capacity for flow and insight—“.

These individual traits of personality, values, attitudes and beliefs are the sources of coping with the aging process. The resources are psychological or intrinsic and external resources are medical care, housing, occupation, social security, etc. With a positive attitude, the elderly can modify their own aging experience. To cultivate a positive attitude aged person should first control over the enemies. The enemies are Rigidity, negativity, worry, self-absorption, regret.

SELF-CENTEREDNESS: BARRIER TO POSITIVE AGEING

Self-centeredness or self-absorption in old age is a complex phenomenon. It is a maladaptive quality related to coping and subjective well-being in the last phase of life. The person having a self-absorption style of life fails to develop other focused qualities, (which are the signs of wisdom) in old age. Such persons have a difficult time experiencing positive ageing.

Self-centeredness has many forms. A self-absorbed person focuses on him or herself and gives priority to the meeting of personal needs, desires, appetites and preferences. They do not give importance to the needs of others (even to their family members or caregivers). Self-focus may be of two forms-(a) I am special and (b) something is wrong with me. These two forms interact with the ageing process. The elderly thinks-“I am special because I am old” and should be cared for first. When he says that “something is wrong with me”, he is of the view that due to my vulnerability to disease and disability I should be given priority.
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POSITIVE AGEING: FIND MEANING IN OLD AGE

Generally, elderly people raise a question-“how long will I live”?. 

The right question which one should raise is – “ if I am going to live such a long time, how can I be happy in the process “?

 

The common worries of the elderly are- “I am losing my health”, “ I am losing the ability to take care of myself”. In late life person’s health declines, he loses youthful looks, feels functional loss and becomes physically vulnerable. There arises a gap between what he aspires to do and what he can do.

 

There are specific consequences of age-related declines, such as memory impairment (it can create a fear of loss of meaning as you get older), physical disability, etc. The age-related decline is different from decline due to disease. An age-related decline occurs gradually in stages such as by-function, disability, dependency and death. The pathway through these four stages of ageing is unavoidable. The decline will  affect you and influence your life satisfaction and well-being.


This process of decline is termed frailty which is not connected to illness and disease. Being frail means you are declining, it does not
mean that you are weak or unhealthy.
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WORRY: BARRIERS TO POSITIVE AGEING

Worry is a mental preoccupation. It is always not bad. Sometimes it works as a motivation or may help in making a potentially reasonable strategy to deal with stressful life situations. In other words, it helps an individual in the preparation for dealing with a future challenge or a threat. In this sense, worry can be adaptive. An elderly may indeed have a real-life event about which to worry. For example, the cause of worry may be one’s poor health, worry about the sickness of a family member or death of a close relative, financial insecurity, changes in one’s functional independence and dying. When an elderly adopt some strategy to overcome that situation then his worry is adaptive.mental preoccupation

On the other hand, worry may consume your time and energy if it goes on excessively on the issues or things that are not worth worrying about. Such a situation is a negative psychological barrier affecting positive ageing. Excess worry over trivial issues will have depressive effects on your mental and physical health.

A person who has developed a worrying lifestyle becomes over-sensitive about the smallest things. The person may develop a physical illness or physical aches and pains which may result in narrowing focus on life challenges even when it is not possible to do much about them.
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