Third age (3rd age) has often been defined as the golden period of adulthood. This is classified as the active and productive age of elderly say, from 60 to 75 years when the body and mind are still active and agile. This is the period when an individual having retired from active professional life is trying to settle in a new and sometimes uncertain voyage. While active running time might have been over, life ahead is still long and needs to be made meaningful considering the fact that longevity is pretty long in current times.
It is in this context that certain habits become crucial to lead an active and productive third age (3rd age). These habits make life more effective as well as productive.
The most prominent among them include:
Habit 1: Keeping Self-Esteem: This is one of the important aspects as retirement from work and professional life creates a low esteem syndrome among many individuals. They feel rejected and left out. Crucial imperative is to keep the spirits high and maintain self-esteem. Having a respect for oneself and keeping self-esteem are crucial for life journey as everyone wants to live with dignity. By affirmative actions, 3rd age elders need to maintain their esteem during this period of life.
Habit 2: Maintaining Fitness: There are two dimensions to fitness: physical and mental. A 3rd age elder needs to maintain a perfect physical health through balanced diet and regular exercise (including walking / yoga) and also keep mental strength through regular workouts like meditation, mental games, puzzles, etc. A regular documented plan will help to keep the elderly both physically active and mentally agile.
Habit 3: Being Busy: One of the biggest problems of retired life is a sense of emptiness getting out of active life. Best antidote to the same is to keep oneself busy. How to keep busy is purely an individual’s choice; one may pick a new hobby like music or painting, one might choose to do social service, one might learn a new language or skill, one may become reader and so on. Idea is to plan daily routine in such way that one remains busy and active for the entire day time as he / she was during working life.
Habit 4: Remaining Connected: To counter loneliness which is faced by many elders, one must always remain connected. Remaining in touch with family members, friends from schools / colleges, being part of senior citizen communities / clubs, either through physical or digital mode are some of the habits 3rd age elders must inculcate to lead a connected life. Apart from mitigating loneliness, this social connectivity creates a bond of strength.
Habit 5: Being Happy and Making Others Happy: This is an important habit the 3rd age elders must inculcate as happiness is true significance of life. While life is a journey that has its moments of pleasures and sorrows, a matured elder must appreciate philosophy of life and try to be happy at all phases. Besides being happy, he / she should behave in such a way that always brings happiness on faces of others. Creating an ambience of happiness should be true motto of a 3rd age elderly.
Habit 6: Fighting for Rights: This is crucial for survival in life. There are many times that elders are attempted to be abused or not given their proper / legitimate rights. Sometimes they are abused as others feel that elders are weak and cannot fight back. It is time we change the stereotype and take care of our own destiny. Wherever we feel that due share is not given or our rights are snatched or attempts are made to abuse us, we as elders should fight back for our rights through all means including legally, if need be. Idea is simple: let us take care of our own destiny.
Habit 7: Planning for 4th Age: Last but possibly the most important habit for 3rd age elderly is to plan for the 4th age i.e. terminal period of life. This includes proper advanced financial planning for last phase of life, writing a will, creating a clear estate plan, etc. Making a decision where to spend last period of life, whether in own home (self-aging) or shift to an old age home is also important. This detailed planning, if done properly, will make last period of life mush smoother.
The above seven (7) habits are suggested for all elders in 3rd age. Since elders in the said age group are still active and agile, it is possible for them to follow and hopefully would make their live happier and better. It may, however, be noted that these are only suggestive and not prescriptive. Many of these may need be modified in individual context. Nevertheless, these suggested seven (7) habits are pointers towards a framework of an adoptable approach in life to be followed in 3rd age to make journey of life more enjoyable.