Mygrandmother was my love, and she died many years ago, but the life welived together is still fresh in my memory. I always remember thatmorning when she passed on. She died when I was nine years ago, in myroom. When I woke up, she was no more and her memory still lingers inmy mind. I remember how we used to play and talk with her, and thepain she was going through due to the disease she was suffering from.The experience I have from this course, reading books, taking care ofthe elderly in the nursing home, and that from my Grandmother’slife and death, will help me understand what ageing successfullymean. Did she age well? Moreover, knowledge gained from theseexperiences can be of great significant to me as an adult learnerwhose aim is to help the elderly age well.
First,let’s explain what successful aging is. According to Bowling(2007), when an individual has the capability of aging well, it meansthat their mental, physical functioning is good. Moreover, socialsupport and function, and life satisfaction is essential in enablingthe elderly to age successfully.In later years people who agesuccessfully are associated with happiness, wellbeing, andpsychological stability.
Disabilityrelated to diseases, physical disabilities, mental problems, andboredom hinder successful aging of the elderly. Elderly people whoinvolve themselves in activities like social engagement and pursuinga passion age successfully. Hope is important during this period andit is the responsibility of the elderly to stop thoughts that killtheir hope in life and focus on those that are positive. At this age,some look at what they did earlier in life. It is important to focusmore on success than what failed to avoid stress related diseaseslike depression and heart attacks (Hilton et al., 2009). Cavanaugh &Blanchard (2011) suggested that activities that worked out boosts thewellbeing of an old person as it increases hope. Hope can also begained through self talk. Telling yourself repetitively that you areworthy, healthy, and smart stick on one’s mind, therefore agingbecomes successful
Otherimportant aspects that improve the process of aging are associatedwith self caring.Personal hygiene improves mental and physical healthin old people. Knowing what one believes helps a lot. One should knowwhether he or she believes in his or herself or in higher powers.During times of difficulty, being spiritually strong might offerstrength and comfort in the elderly.Social support can also beoffered by people who are members of one’s congregation.Furthermore, elders who learn more age successfully, because theirminds are always active. To keep the mental capability active, it isessential to take such activities like taking a class or evenreading. This can be done in colleges, local libraries, and also atsenior centers. Close relationships with friends and relatives shouldbe improved, and exercises like walking should be done with friends.Regular association with ones family and friends reduces stress atthis stage in life (Hilton, Kopera-Frye &Krave, 2009).
Accordingto Vaillant (2002), during this period, diet should be takenseriously. Eating right should be a priority to avoid dietary relatedcomplications and diseases. Regular visits to the dentist,optometrist, and also the doctor are important. Things that hurt themind should be avoided and one should dwell on the positives ratherthan the negatives. Drugs and substances like cigarettes and alcoholare harmful, and should therefore be avoided. Smoking acts as a riskfactor in diseases like stroke, mouth and lung cancer, and alsocardiovascular diseases. Elderly longevity can be enhanced throughsuch diets like vegetables and fruits, cereals, unsaturated fats, andlegumes (Cavanaugh et al., 2011)
Atthis point in life, the elderly have a desire to care for others.This aspect helps them to develop a lasting and valuable contributionto themselves and to the coming generations. In African countries,the elderly engage in caring for their grandchildren, they give themadvice and teach them about various beliefs and values, and also playwith them traditional games. As a result, their mental and physicalstability is enhanced. According to Vaillant (2002), generativitybecomes an essential tool in ensuring successful aging.
Communityactivities help the elderly to interact with others and also helpthem. They help them to develop their lives positively and also thoseof others (Hilton et al., 2009). Such activities are participating incommunity meeting and campaigns, joining social clubs andvolunteering.
Duringthis stage of life, majority of the elderly suffer from grief. Thismight be as a result of losing a loved one. Therefore, it isimportant to know how to take care of one self when in grief, formental and physical stability. Feelings of grief might make anindividual feel physical pain, weak, and exhausted, upset stomach,breath shortage, and loss of appetite. Mental functioning can also beaffected in such a way that a person feels confused, like a passiveparticipant, detached from the reality, like people are different ordistorted, and restless. Sleep troubles and nightmares can beexperienced at night (Vaillant, 2002).
Duringgrieving period, elders who take care of their spirit, mind, and bodyincreases their life longevity. Spiritually, it is important for anindividual to cry, seek company from friends and family, and findtime to be alone (Vaillant, 2002). Mental functionality during griefshould be enhanced through engaging in activities that one likes,doing what is within one’s capability, and also comforting oneselfthrough thoughts of the lost person.Physically, regular exercise,eating healthy, doing comfort activities, and resting work wonders(Hilton et al., 2009).
AdultLearning and Development
Accordingto various researchers, the process of adult learning is contextbound, highly personal, and it can sometimes be complex. No singletheory that can explain how this process occurs. As a result, variousmodels, explanations, assumptions have been formulated that givesmore knowledge about adult learning. Most of this theories andassumption can be traced back from literature of the past. Not onlydoes this knowledge base help researchers to be effective in theirpractice, but also it helps in formulation of more responsive ways tothe needs of aging people (Cavanaugh et al., 2011). Adult learning isdifferent from child learning, and Malcolm Knowles in nineteen eightycame up with the concept of andragogy which is the science and art ofhelping the elderly to learn.(Hilton et al., 2009).He further statedsome assumptions that showed some of the differences between adultand child learning. Some of these assumptions are discussed below.
Adultlearning enhances the elders life development as they are able tostop being dependent and become more self directed as they mature,and can therefore direct their own learning. The adult learner can beable to make adjustments in life after evaluation of the learningexperiences. Moreover, instructions become easy when the teacher workin collaboration with the learner to come up with the bestinstructional materials, resources, and methods for learning. Theyalso aid their learning through experiences they acquired in life,and are ready to learn when new life and social roles are delegatedto them. Another difference that was suggested is that, adultlearners are internally motivated and are problem centered and theiraim is to immediately apply what has been taught (Cavanaugh et al.,2011).
Moreover,in nineteen eighty four, knows posited that it is important for theadult educators practice effectively to enhance the development ofthe adult learners. According to Vaillant (2002), the adult educatorshave the responsibility of ensuring that the learning environment iscooperative and healthy. Also, it is important to assess the elder’sspecial interests and needs objectives of learning should bedeveloped in a manner that they meet the needs, skills, and interestslevel of the learner. Working collaboratively with the adult learnersyields the best results, thus it is essential to engage them inmaterials, methods, and resources for effective learning. Inaddition, in order to achieve the learning objectives, sequentialactivities must be designed and learning experience quality should beevaluated for successful adjustments with the aim of satisfying theneeds of the aging person to motivate him or her to learn further(Merriam & Bierema, 2014).
Educatorsalso are supposed to explain to the learners the reasons behindlearning specific skills. Adults are taught activities that they canperform rather than memorization of things, thus teaching shouldfocus on immediate problem solving skills. As they mature inlearning, adult learners acquire self directed learning whereby theybecome capable of doing their initiatives without the help of family,friends, and teachers. They are also able to make positive decisionsabout resources, content, and methods that are suitable for theirneeds and interests (Merriam et al., 2014). Therefore, they becomeresponsible for their learning process since they can determine whattheir needs are, set life goals, identify workable resources, developplans that are suitable in meeting their objectives and goals, andfinally evaluate the respective outcomes. Self directed learning isimportant as the learner can be able to incorporate the learningprocess into their daily activities and also be done at one’s ownpreference and convenience (Hilton et al., 2009). Other adultlearning processes that are important are like transformativelearning where the adult learner is able to change their perceptionsabout the world and themselves, thus improving their consciousness.
Inconclusion, successful aging is bound on the physical, cognitive, andsocial functionality at old age. Loss of these functions threatensthe health and level of wellbeing of an aging person. Thus, it isimportant for the elderly to adopt activities that will boost theirphysical, social, and wellbeing. Some of these activities are likeexercises, learning, and also involvement in social contracts androles.Adult learning and development has also been discussed, andsome of the benefits it has on the aging person is that he or she canbe able to work and learn independently. Moreover, transformationallearning can help the elderly to change their negative perceptionsabout the world and self, which is very essential for successfulaging.
Bowling,A. (2007). Aspirations for Older Age in the 21st Century: What is? InternationalJournal of Aging and Human Development,64, 263-297.
Cavanaugh,J. C. & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2011).Adultdevelopment and aging (7thEd.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning (C & B-F).
Hilton,J.M., Kopera-Frye, K. &Krave, A. (2009). from thePerspective ofFamily Caregivers.TheFamily Journal,17, 39-50.
Merriam,S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2014). Adult learning: Linking theoryand practice.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Vaillant,G. E. (2002). AgingWell: Surprising Guideposts toa Happier Life fromthe LandmarkHarvardStudy Of Adult Development.Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. (V).