Goal Setting for a Long Life

Connie Michaelis, Lifestyle Consultant for The Piper Assisted Living and Memory Support

Three sisters born in Muskogee, Oklahoma met for a reunion in 2014. The only unusual fact was the sisters were 102, 104 and 110 years old!  It was a dream of theirs to be together again after a ten-year separation.  With the help of many people, the gathering was arranged.  These three beautiful sisters had many words of wisdom for those attending.  An essential element of their mutual philosophy was to keep setting goals and staying active. Ruth, the 104-year-old, said her motto was, “I’d rather wear out than rust out!”  While goal setting is a hot topic this time of year for lots of people, we often overlook the importance of talking to our parents and older loved ones about their goals.  Books are written for all ages about the importance of planning for the future and setting targets for success with one exception; you rarely see goal setting advice for Elders, as if they no longer have a need for such planning.

There is no better way to have a meaningful conversation about what is important to our elderly loved ones than talking about setting goals.  Many shy away from such topics because they think it might be depressing or create some discomfort.  My experience is that our Elders love to share their thoughts when asked in a way that engages a conversation.  Instead of the awkward, “Mom, it is time for you to move out of this house!” why not engage in a healthy discourse with questions like: “Mom, what are your goals for 2018?”  “Dad, what would you like to accomplish this next year?”  “What would make your life more rewarding or peaceful?”  “Mom, as you think about this new year what are your biggest concerns and how can I support you?”  The beauty of this discourse is that all parties involved in the conversation will learn new things.  Don’t forget that goal setting is vitally important for everyone, but especially our Elders.  Give us a call at 913.400.7006 to talk about the future.  Remember, you don’t quit dreaming because you are old, you become old when you quit dreaming!