October 21, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille


What inspires you to get out of bed every day? The answer is different for every single one of us, of course, but there is one commonality: it may allow you to live longer. Scientific studies are showing us that having a sense of purpose is an integral aspect in longevity, something shown in Japan – the country with the highest life expectancy on earth. The connection between purpose and living longer is important, and it’s one that often goes unaddressed.

Remarkably, there is no word for our definition of “retirement” in the Japanese language. Instead, there is a concentration on maintaining meaning and purpose beyond a person’s working years and defining themselves according to their current passions and pastimes.

So just how can we help seniors – and ourselves – stay involved with what sparks interest and makes a difference in the world around us? Here are some great suggestions to get you started:

Cultivate a sense of compassion for other people. There is no shortage of suffering these days, and there’s something that all of us can do in some way to help ease the struggles of somebody else. Have a conversation with the older adults in your life about what or who touches their hearts the most – mental health, homelessness, single parents, stray animals, veterans, etc. Direct that compassion into action by brainstorming ways to make an impact.

Prioritize family. With so many families living at a distance from one another, and even further separated recently as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, take steps to close the gaps and bring family members closer together. Plan a backyard holiday gathering or family reunion. Commit to a video chat or phone call with a different member of the family each week to reconnect and get caught up on their lives. Work on documenting your life story, and that of past generations, to share with future generations.

Redefine retirement. For a senior who is already retired from one career, consider another. Is there an unfulfilled dream that might be investigated, such as earning a degree in a different field of interest? Investigate volunteer or part-time employment opportunities offering the chance to learn something new while serving others.

Take time to play. Meaning and purpose are found in lighthearted endeavors too! Sports, hobbies, art, travel, exploring nature, music, reading, and many other engaging and fun activities provide opportunities for self-expression and a more enjoyable life. Betye Saar, a 93-year-old artist, explains, “…the creative part of me is forever young.”

At Home Independent Living, the top-rated home care company in Syracuse, NY and nearby areas, can help make sure the seniors you love maintain their sense of purpose as they age. Our caregiving team is full of innovative strategies to help a senior continue to enjoy a life of purpose and meaning. Reach out to us online, or give us a call any time for additional tips and to get more information on our personalized in-home care for seniors in Syracuse.