In my job, I have the honour and privilege of working with older adults. The average age of my clients I would say is in the mid-eighties. I informally polled three of my cognitively-intact, female elderly clients. They all lived alone. What I asked them was, "What brings you happiness? What brings you joy? What do you look forward to?"
The first woman I asked was 82 years old. Her answer was plain, simple and took no thought at all. She said, "My family. I have 6 children, 18 grandchildren, and 11 or 12 great grandchildren. I have to stop and think, and count them, because it's hard to keep up with all of them. I especially enjoy the company of my three-year-old great grandchild". She then directed me to look at a picture frame on her wall. It had all her grandchildren standing on a stairwell. You could tell she was very happy to share this moment with me. The second woman, who was 8 years old, quickly replied, "lunch with my friends. I still have a brain, so that makes me happy, too. I enjoy reading and following US politics on television". The third woman, who is 84 years old, had to think a bit. At first, she couldn't think of anything. After my prompting and encouragement to find an answer, she stated, "My family". She also went on to say she really enjoyed reading and knitting.
With these thoughts in mind, I think about what brings me happiness and joy now and what it will be in the future as I grow older. The importance of staying connected with family and friends is up there on my list. Reading is and has been a love of mine, so I hope for many years that I continue to "have my brains" and my eyesight so I can continue to do what I love.
I am curious to know what my clients who have cognitive impairment will answer when I ask these same questions.
May happiness continue for many, many years.