Despite looking forward to it their entire careers, many seniors find themselves adrift after they retire.
Though that dream of a jet-setting life has been achieved, your evenings are free to attend both the Symphony and the Ballet when you're back home in Cincinnati, and you finally have a chance to just spend time with your children and grandchildren. But something still seems to be missing— that sense of purpose that helped you power through the days.
For many older adults, that sense of purpose was given by their career, and it is crucial that you hold onto that purpose even after you give up your career.
“Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning,” says Laura Lamb, ERH’s Vice President of Residential Housing and Healthcare. “When you lose purpose, you lose a lot more than direction. You can lose health and your sense of well-being, too.”
A study conducted by the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota discovered just how integral that sense of purpose is to maintaining quality of life.
How to Rediscover Purpose after Giving up Your Career.
In a pilot occupational wellness program conducted at 3 senior apartment complexes in the St. Paul area, faculty members from the College of St. Catherine surveyed 65 older adults to understand what kinds of activities ensured quality of life.
They discovered that, on average, older adults who participated in social and community activities saw an increase in their vitality, social functioning, and mental health.
And we've seen the same right here in Cincinnati.
Step 1: Connect with a Community
Rediscovering purpose is about more than filling your day with activities. It’s about connecting with people and enjoying life.
Just ask Louise Mandell.
She has been residents since deciding, in 2009, that she didn’t want to worry about home maintenance or finding in home care if she needed it. After 4 years, she still can’t say enough about how their lives have improved by the community at Deupree.
“If I were to describe Deupree House in just a few words,” says Louise, “I would say ‘good food, good friends, good activities, and comfortable living.’ It’s a wonderful place to live.”
She especially loves how the atmosphere promotes social connectedness.
“Deupree House has done a marvelous job of getting current residents to make a point of inviting new residents to come for drinks and have dinner together which gives you an opportunity for more than just superficial hellos,” Louise says. “We have a monthly cocktail party for all the residents, and it’s just a wonderful time when everyone comes together, and you can socialize and catch up with each other.”
Step 2: Rediscover the things you enjoy most.
Whatever your passion is in life, a retirement community offers ways for you to pursue enrichment. Senior living is what you make of it when you live in a community like Deupree House. Residents are able to take advantage of any a number of leisure, social, and educational opportunities, and older adults who prefer more solitary pursuits can find fulfillment too.
When Sue Pontius first moved into her apartment at Deupree House, she thought her gardening days were over.
“I thought I’d be content with what bloomed in pots on my balcony,” she laughs.
Though, at the time, the landscaping didn’t have any space dedicated to resident gardeners, Sue knew that she “hadn’t outgrown [her] need to play in the dirt.” So, she asked the groundskeeper if she could assist him in selecting flowers from the green house for planting. He agreed, and today, Sue is chair of the Deupree House gardening committee.
And she couldn’t be happier.
“I come back inside, dirty, exhausted and soaked with sweat,” Sue explains. “I’m a real mess. But, still, I have to do it because it’s so satisfying.”