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Enhanced independence

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Another reason that a sense of purpose grows in significance as one grows older is that one’s sense of purpose and self-worth can morph as life changes. One’s personal purpose changes since the first entry-level job until the final departure from full time work upon retirement. A healthy individual reflects and adjusts their goals for personal fulfillment as situations change. However, many people become overcome when their previous self-identification such as their position at work or role as a spouse is dramatically altered. Sometimes things get a little blurry.


Acknowledging the importance of purpose in the lives of older adults, it would be advantageous to offer programming that assists residents to examine and identify areas in which they might find purpose. Based on guidance from Ed Merck, a retirement expert, here are some guidelines to share with residents:

  1. Identify activities that give you a sense of purpose and well-being.
  2. Synthesize your list to the commonalities among those activities.
  3. Contemplate including contemplative activities that strengthen your inner self.
  4. Learn to be still and teach yourself to be comfortable with stillness.
  5. Explore opportunities to create so that you have a type of self-expression. (


Any major change in life or milestone that is passed opens an opportunity for reinventing oneself and purpose. Retirement and post retirement years are prime times that challenge us to re-examine what is meaningful and filling our lives with activities and engagements that reinforce our sense of self-worth. Our residents reside at this place of transition. We can help our residents gain purpose through our focused planning to engage them and facilitate their search for meaning.

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