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Blog Feature

By: Jim Stinson on July 11th, 2013

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Senior Retirement - "Not so!"

assisted living | independent living | journey of aging | senior retirement | Aging & Caregiving

United Methodist Homes Journey of AgingI had the privilege of attending a retirement event for a friend recently. He is, by normal standards, an older person. And with that standard comes certain societal assumptions. With it comes the attitude that he ‘should’ retire, he ‘should’ not be in the work place. Presumably these assumptions are made purely on the basis of aging. 

What was so wonderful about this event is that it was his third time at retiring. Someone evidently asked him if he was going to bow to the realities of aging and really retire this time. I’m not sure of the actual conversation, but obviously this person had bought into a misconception of aging. He had assumed, we can suppose, that age automatically brings with it an inability to keep going, to continuing to find ways to be of service to one’s community. My friend used two words in response to that assumption.   “Not so!”  

It was a perfect answer. Age does not disqualify a person from fulfilling his or her life in ways that are meaningful. It does not bring with it a mandate to do nothing. It does not mean a person automatically falls into a category called “I’m old and no longer have to fully participate in life.” Aging very often does bring some limitations that might cause us to change the ways we find fulfillment and a sense of purpose. But it does not exempt us from wanting to be useful and fulfilled. Nor does it mean that we cannot continuingly find new avenues of being useful and fulfilled. 

“Not so!” What a wonderful reminder for all of us. Living fulfilled lives does not expire until we do. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published a book nearly fifty years ago entitled, To Live Until We Say Goodbye.  It was a pictorial journal of several people she and a photographer chronicled after they had received a terminal diagnosis. It remains one of my favorite reads of all time, always reminding me that life should be lived as fully as possible until our last breath is taken.

It is sometimes more challenging than others to live accordingly but if we do not we are shortchanging ourselves.  In the words of John Wesley, founder of Methodism and for whom one of our communities, Wesley Village is named:

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can,

in all the ways you can, in all the places you can,

at all the times you can, to all the people you can,

as long as ever you can.

Learn more about the communities of United Methodist Homes Assisted and Independent Living by visiting our website or contacting us. We would love to further assist you with your journey of aging.

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About Jim Stinson

I first became an ordained member of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church fifty years ago. Through my time with the pastoral ministry, I worked extensively with older adults, many of whom were members of my congregation. I also served as the Director of Spiritual Life for United Methodist Homes from July 2002 until my retirement in July 2015, providing guidance and support to residents, family members, and staff. I love reminding people that “old” is not a dirty word and encourage others to adopt a healthy perspective on aging. I am also the author of a book, Just Because I Am Old – A Practical and Theological Guide To Caring, which was recently published in 2014.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.