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A problem I see a lot with elderly people is an addiction to work and other future-oriented endeavors. It's hard to tell someone they're reaching the end of the life, that they're essentially done with planning for the future.

I was thinking about this because I saw this video (youtube/watch?v=byomo0C0LBM) that made the basic point that seniors are happier if they focus on living in the moment. It's hard though, I feel like some seniors are happier when they keep busy. I don't know, what do you guys think?

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Future-oriented endeavours… wouldn't that include spending time with one's grandchildren?

I dispute (to the point of apoplexy) the notion that any event that will occur after the end of one's life is no longer one's concern. No cathedral would have been built, no city planned, no toil against disease or ignorance or want undertaken…

But I don't mean to be obtuse: what you're getting at, yes, is that our parents should feel entitled to stop banging their heads against brick walls? Cease to worry and fret about what they might have left undone, and so on?

Indeed. Hear, hear. However. I'd take the phrase "some elders are happier" - and cut it short there. Some like to keep busy, some like to talk, some are knackered and long to sleep. Some, regrettably, are "happy being miserable" - the career complainers and lifelong slave-drivers, for example.

But I think what most of them probably are, though, is long, long past being counselled on The Good Life by us mere whippersnappers.

Yes, Jeanne, absolutely.
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And what are those "things that will actually make them happy"? According to the video, they are interacting with friends, being socially active by mentoring, volunteering, or being politically active, and being spiritually/intellectually active. These are generalizations drawn by sociologists and obviously don't apply to everyone.

If you know someone who is anxious in his or her old age, and is trying to leave their mark and not enjoying the present, I'm not sure that having a conversation with him (or her) will provide a solution. How about just being the friend, and enjoying some time together now?
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Sorry about the video, I messed up posting the link. This one should work: youtube/watch?v=byomo0C0LBM

I guess I phrased the question poorly. What I'm trying to get at is this: some people get anxious as they get older. They want to use their remaining time stressing themselves out in order to "leave their mark" rather than enjoy the time they have left by spending it on things that will actually make them happy. And it's hard to have that conversation with someone, because it feels like you're telling them to give up.
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I can't find the video to watch, and I am only commenting on your post.

It could be argued that everyone is happier when they keep busy. Certainly there is a lot of evidence that persons with dementia are happier when they have something to do. Rest, reflective moments, quiet time -- we all need those, too, but we seem to have been made to be busy.

I'm not sure how "being busy" and "living in the moment" are tied together. I can be busy cleaning out the refrigerator while I am living in the future, planning meals for the coming week. I'm not sure I'd be happier if I gave myself fully to living in the moment of tossing out leftovers that look like science experiments.

When I'm cooking I'm definitely preparing something for the future, but I also live in the moment of smelling the spices, and enjoying the textures and colors, and getting satisfaction from how things change as they are combined. Lucky people can live in the moment in their work, as well as working toward something in the future.

I'm not sure you can tell someone else to "live in the moment." Some people do this consciously, others wouldn't identify it as such but do it anyway, and others seem oblivious to the here and now.
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If a senior is still able to go to work, more power to them.... it keeps the brain active and gives a person a sense of self worth. My boss is 80 years old, yet he looks 65, and can run circles around someone decades younger :)
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