Every person has the potential to age successfully

Mary Wasagali

What you need to know:

Ultimately for one to age successfully there is need for social-economic transformation meaning that older persons need to have financial empowerment or money in their pockets. 

Every person was created to age successfully. To age successfully is to age with integrity, dignity, to age happily and peacefully.

A person is said to have aged successfully when they are healthy, and feel fulfilled and gratified in most of the aspects of their life, including life experiences. When one ages successfully, one appreciates their existence and the gift of life, this is characterised by attributes such as very high levels of morality, calmness and happiness and selflessness.

On the other hand, there are those who portray bitterness, unhappiness and anger, such older persons are often unappreciative, depressed and always complaining. These are some of the indicators of unsuccessful aging.

It is true that as we age, the body experiences physical, social, mental and emotional decline. We undergo changes noticeable and unnoticeable sometimes we are not even alive to these changes. Often all we are left with is wisdom and knowledge about the supernatural, trying to make meaning about life and reconciling all the experiences by letting go of the negative ones. 

The once youthful vibrancy and energy is replaced with limited mobility, reduced energy, exhaustion and age related illness. With old age comes vulnerability and therefore the need to be empowered financially, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. 

There are a number of things that can aid one to age successfully for instance, good nutrition, decent housing and good health all of which require financial empowerment hence the need to work towards having money in the pocket. To be financially empowered, older persons need to continue being productive, they need to have long term and short term plans of what they want to achieve until the last day.

They need to actively participate in and benefit from government programmes like Parish Development Model among others. They need to learn how to save even during old age and prepare for old age early enough. Older persons should continue consulting and learning from other older persons who are successful. 

Some older persons stop working expecting their children to pay back and take care of them. It is very absurd to look at children as sources of income more so girls in the form of bride price. Working will improve the physical life, social life, mental life, emotional life as well as spiritual life. Working ultimately improves   their lifespan by reducing some of the age related ailments. 

Older persons between 60 and 80 years still have a lot to offer despite the declining energy levels and mobility. They can engage in income generating activities such as rearing chicken, simple backyard agriculture, handicraft or any other activities that are not so physically exerting. These activities are not only a source of income but are also a form of exercise which the body so badly needs if it is to function normally.

It is very important for older persons to have saved before the age of 60, but it is never too late, for better late than never.

One of the ways that can boost their savings is by participating in government programmes such as the Parish Development Model. They can participate by giving ideas, advising, and proposing implementation methods as well as other innovations that are favorable for them.

Ultimately for one to age successfully there is need for social-economic transformation meaning that older persons need to have financial empowerment or money in their pockets.  This can only be achieved if the older persons can continue being productive through working.

Sister Mary Wasagali is a member of the Equal Opportunities.