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Life brings different rhythms — different timetables — for each of us. We lose dear loved ones, we grieve, we face changes — diminished mobility, an end to driving the car, maybe a different place to live after decades in the long-time family home.

Often, stressors push down on us as we give up the familiar, the comfortable, the sense of control. We may start feeling diminished and depressed. Isolation sets in and home may suddenly feel like a prison rather than a sanctuary. The morning glance in the mirror may reveal new lines or drooping in places that didn’t droop before. Self-pity is a very human first reaction, but consider turning the issue on its head instead.

Why not celebrate your years and experience? An acquaintance once talked about putting on her “reverse glasses” to look at life from a new perspective, through a new lens so to speak. Suddenly, you’re running into time rather than out of time. What new opportunities will today bring?

Stop mourning the loss of youth. Challenge the idea that aging is synonymous with decline. Instead, remove the judgment from that notion and recognize aging for what it is; change. It’s a continuous process of growth and development stretched over the course of a lifetime.

In other words, embrace aging. Learn to appreciate yourself and what you have to offer. We can all befriend another and be a blessing. Acknowledge your imperfections. Accept your limitations while challenging your preconceptions. If you can’t run the mile in six minutes, then embrace the beauty of a slow stroll on a beautiful morning. Enjoy the quiet times. Celebrate impermanence; everything changes. So it’s never too late so create a list of things you’d like to still accomplish and set out to do them. Make your life a spectacular display of the time you’ve been given and all the time you still have left.

Battle your ageism instead of your age.

If you are a caregiver, your selfless service to help another may sometimes feel like a sacrifice. One caregiver said it helps her to think of caregiving as adjusting rather than sacrificing. Adjusting seems more like a sideways shift rather than a loss of something, she explained.

You are never alone. The love and relief you give is always noticed and appreciated, even if it doesn’t always come with a thank you.

No matter the challenge or struggle, support is always available. Every day, Senior Community Services helps seniors and caregivers find the right supportive services to improve daily living. We help them connect with local senior centers where joy, fun, and fellowship are everyday experiences rather than loneliness and isolation. We help with household chores that may be difficult or impossible for seniors to manage any longer. We work to minimize burdensome medical expenses for those on limited incomes.

The challenges are here to stay awhile. By the end of next year, it is projected that there will be more people over the age of 65 than school-age children.

But remember: aging is not a disease, it’s growth. And it’s happening at exactly the rate it should be. These bodies are our homes and we should take pride in them as such. We can take care of them without fighting what comes naturally with life’s changes. A little focused expertise — applied properly — can make a world of difference. When we take steps to enhance daily living, we re-imagine aging, not only for a growing number of older relatives, friends, and neighbors, but for all of us. We all age.

Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost services. More info at seniorcommunity.org.

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