Every few weeks, the Retiree Center will present a new article in its End of Life tips series. While we know these are difficult discussions to have, our goal is to ensure our retirees get access to helpful information to help them plan safely for the inevitable. There are many ways to ensure the future includes and safeguards our individual hopes and wishes as life begins to change with increasing age.

End of Life Tip -5: Coping Mechanisms

There is no “right” way to handle one’s grievances regarding aging and death. Many approaches to coping strategies can be used to deal with loss. Coping mechanisms are meant to provide the individual with comfort during a time of distress, confusion, or uncertainty. Some mechanisms offer psychological adaptation, while others provide physical or emotional support. Regardless of the way you utilize coping mechanisms, they are meant to provide short and long-term relief, and may look different for every individual.

Coping Strategies

Maintaining a positive Outlook

Keeping a positive outlook can increase longevity and prepare one for the future. Ways to improve one’s positivity include engaging in spirituality, volunteering within the community, and partaking in enjoyable leisure activities such as reading, art, or cooking. Practicing enjoyable tasks boosts one’s mood and encourages safe coping strategies and positive behavior.

Creating a Support System

Staying close to family and friends is another way to promote healthy coping habits. Social support can help prevent stress and disease as well as strengthen an individual’s ability to adapt. Additionally, spending time with like-minded individuals will increase the likelihood of positive change. A reliable support system not only offers support, but also encourages the individual to strive for balance in their everyday life.

Exercise and Nourishment

Another method of coping is keeping a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Daily exercise can be as simple as walking around the neighborhood which can increase physical strength and mental health. Exercise also blocks the effects of aging on cortisol levels, thus slowing down the body’s aging process. Pairing daily exercise with healthy foods nourishes the body to ensure optimal functioning, clear decision-making, and positive behavior.

The use of coping mechanisms, or lack thereof, can result in favorable or unfavorable health outcomes. It is important to strive for the best coping mechanism that works for you, whether that includes spiritual comfort, social comfort, acceptance, accommodation, self-reflection, or volunteer work. There are many opportunities to seek out coping mechanisms within one’s community. For more information on coping mechanisms, you may want to talk to your doctor.

While it may seem overwhelming to initiate these conversations early, it is important to guarantee your own satisfaction nearing the end of life. For further information regarding coping mechanism, please visit the National Institute on Aging: https://www.nia.nih.gov.

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