Some days are definitely better than others! In our Connections program, some days are amazing and you don’t want the day to end because of the electricity in the room and first class contribution from the Club Members themselves.
We live for days like these. When our Memory Care Specialist and Program Director – Cathee- briefed us on the theme for the upcoming day, I had an inkling that this might be a really good day. The theme being “Optimism”. However I had no idea just how dynamic and dramatic the day would be.
Cathee started by comparing optimism and pessimism and seeking to find out how our Club Members and volunteers perceived themselves. She briefly described how we should avoid negative thoughts and the “Cortisol Connection”. For those who have attended our Brain Boosters program we know that cortisol is a potent chemical that surges when we become stressed or worry over nothing. Research has shown it can act like a drug and shrink human brains. Cortisol shuts down learning, creates anxiety and can cause depression.
We talked about worry. Did we mean worry or did we really mean “concern”?
Some of us admitted that we worried about our children even in later life when they have children of their own; and we all worried about the world in which our grand children will live when we are gone. The ‘trick” being to turn that worry into a positive, or an opportunity. This was the moment when our Club Members stepped up, and before Cathee could go into her pre-planned program, we changed course!
One gentleman suggested that we break the discussion into three separate elements: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. We did so and there followed a great discussion where everyone seemed to want to contribute quite profound thoughts. So below this paragraph I am posting a replica of the thought process that evolved, and which we recorded in précis form.
Following the debate we completed a questionnaire specially structured to determine whether we were naturally pessimistic, or slightly or strongly optimistic. The results probably surprised some since nearly everyone was determined to be at least slightly optimistic and many very optimistic, even though these Club Members had earlier perceived themselves to be less than optimistic!
Later in the morning, after our yoga session left us relaxed and mellow we chose to sing some positive songs chosen by the Club Members and these included: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”, “You raise me up” and “The Wind beneath my wings”. Later in the afternoon we closed with “Wonderful World” and “Happy Together” by the Turtles!
After lunch Cathee found time to return to the theme and asked us to list all the things we find positive now we are older (and maybe wiser)!
It was an interesting list and as one Club Member called Tom reminded us, “its an infinite list and we have to find space and time to continue to extend it”!
I repeat, in no particular order:
- Going to bed when we want
- Getting up when we want
- White hair
- No need to visit the barber
- The sense of being alive
- Children invite you to dinner!
- Good health
- Easier parking
- Time to self
- More choices
- More time to try new things
- Learning to play music
- Learning to dance
- Learning to sing
- Reading more books
- Travel to new places
- Making new friends
Yes, we agreed with Tom, the list is endless. Tom told me that even busy working people should be able to find ‘space’ to do most of the above, but it seldom happens. Retirement opens up the choices, or perhaps facilitates the optimistic thought patterns. Good choices today open up infinite possibilities for tomorrow, and so I repeat my favorite mission moment quotation from Dr. Seuss:
Being a volunteer at Memory Matters has certainly introduced me to new friends, both staff and Club Members, and days like today help to keep us all positive and feeling young!
I could not finish this blog without a mention of one of our Club Members who was celebrating his 60th Wedding Anniversary. Cathee, Karen and I were present when he presented his wife with a lovely bouquet of roses. It was a very special moment and capped off a super day.
Please share this if you believe it would help someone. Call 1 843 842 6688 Memory Matters office for more information. It’s always confidential. We offer memory screening too. We are a phone call away here in your local community.