As we travel and speak to various groups of baby boomers and seniors,––whether working or not––there are three areas of life that these people are desperately seeking. Sometimes they are not consciously aware of their wants until we bring it to their attention. For example, we often ask a question such as, “Raise your hand if you like to travel.” Invariably, many hands go up no matter what age. So what are three core things that people in the over 60 age group want from life?
1. Fun and Adventure
We think of engaging in fun and adventure as something that the young like to do. What is striking is that when we ask the question in our presentations, “Raise your hand if you love to have fun and adventure?” Almost everyone raises their hands. Seniors mentally still think of themselves as being youthful and many in fact, do have an enjoyable time and engage in adventurous activities. There are many very active seniors enjoying life to the fullest.
Eighty-year-old Montserrat Mecho is fully engaged in skydiving and windsurfing. Or there is 83-year-old Perth man, David Carr, who competes in the World Athletics Championships. Recently, an Australian study indicated that seniors getting involved in activities that are slightly risky are beneficial. The report on television showed a woman who decided to go skydiving for the first time in her life when she was well into her eighties. When she was interviewed afterwards, she was beaming because of the fun that she had experienced.
Many seniors love to travel. We do so regularly and engage in fun activities such as hiking and skiing. Some of these activities have been in remote areas such as Patagonia with some element of risk. However, the enjoyment and sense of fulfillment outweigh the slight risk. We love to chase storms. We don’t do this as an idle activity. We fully engage in the chase and at times get an adrenaline-filled rush. In the end, we have a great time. Find out what gives you a sense of adventure.
2. Having A Sound Mind
Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia are conditions that seniors are concerned about and want to avoid. So seniors desire a sound and clear mind even as they age. With the increasing incidence of these conditions and with no “cure” in sight, the older generation is very open to looking at various options to stimulate their minds.
We implore the over 60 crowd to follow these tips to stimulate their minds:
- Learn a language
- Learn a musical instrument
- Do crossword puzzles
- Take dance classes
- Write a book or start a blog
- Download a brain exercise app for phone or tablet
- Take classes such as art or pottery
These tasks are just a few examples. Regular exercise is also a strategy for a sound mind because it enhances blood flow to the brain and stimulates the release of chemicals that improve the thought processes.
3. Making A Difference
Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative care nurse, questioned people on their death beds and asked them what their greatest regret was. The most common answer was that they wished they had followed their innermost dreams, that they had the courage to make a difference.
When you ask people, to be honest with you, they state that they want to feel that their life has been meaningful. They hope that they have made a difference in the world, whether it’s through some philanthropic endeavour or just to change the life of someone who they know is in need.
What we humans have that is different to all other species is the desire for fulfillment. Many people have made a lot of money and then they reach retirement age and realize that something is missing. They don’t feel as if they made an impact in the world.
Staying in regret is wasted energy. You can’t do anything about the past. You can learn from it and create a strategy going forward. However, if you go through the last 25 years of your life and don’t feel as if you have made a difference, then you will be near the end of your life looking back with regret, instead of appreciation.