Is your goal to be youthful or useful?


Recently at an online conference, Ken Dychtwald, founder of the Age Wave, gave a presentation on Fatherhood. Ken’s suggestions applied to men and how they could be more active influencing the younger generations. The young folks could be your sons and daughters, your grandchildren, or other people’s children. In today’s world, it’s obvious that people younger than us could benefit from the attention. I believe this philosophy applies to both genders and mostly for grandparents.

Ken asks the audience, “do you want to be youthful or useful?” Very provocative question, don’t you think? While many seniors want active aging, healthy bodies and minds, even anti-aging remedies, what’s needed more is having passion and a feeling of usefulness. A sense of giving back.

Retirement should not be about relaxation alone. Nor should it be a television sit in. Seniors would benefit too by making a difference and helping out younger families who don’t have elders in their lives. Perhaps your own children live far away and you miss the interaction with grandkids. Ken believes there are many families who would enjoy and appreciate having a bond and a relationship with an older person.

Dychtwald adds, “It’s mostly the women who give back in older age. Men sit back and relax and get less and less involved in life which isn’t a healthy lifestyle at all.” There’s nothing good that comes from sitting and watching TV.

I researched stats about volunteering in the U.S. and found a study by the United States Labor of Statistics. The data shows that about one-quarter of Americans, or 25 percent, take the time to volunteer.

So who are these Americans who volunteer? They tend to be married, white and female, with higher education levels, according to the survey. The largest age group for volunteers was 35-44, the CNCS survey said, and volunteers were most likely to be parents with children under 18. The typical volunteer may live in Utah, which ranked first in the percentage of people who said they volunteered among all 50 states and Washington, DC.

Volunteer locally with organizations that feed souls:

-Teach children a hobby that you enjoy

-Learn a new skill and share what you learned with others

-Create a staycation near home and share the experience with a family

-Step beyond your comfort zone and meet people of different cultures

-Grow a vegetable or flower garden with someone you enjoy

-Make new friends and give support to someone in need

-Visit the local library, senior center or community college and sign up for a class

-Help a neighbor next door or do a project together

-Take cooking classes or teach younger families to cook nutritious meals

There are no bounds on what we can do together. Give hope to the younger generation. From what I see, they could use a helping hand or two.

By Carol Marak

Aging Matters

Carol Marak is an aging advocate, She earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

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