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{ } P AGING Aging and “Phosphorescence” with an Attitude Dorie Sugay is the Executive Director of Visiting Angels, a company that provides living-assistance services to seniors and adults-in-need who wish to stay in their own home or receive one-on-one care within a facility. This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It was written independently of Visiting Angels. The names of clients and caregivers were changed to protect their privacy. 80 hosphorescence! The word got my attention and when I looked up what it meant, it became my inspiration for this article. What is phosphorescence? defi nes it as “the emission of light by a substance as a result of having absorbed energy from a form of electro- magnetic reaction, such as a visible light or x-ray.” And that is my inspiration for this “Aging with an Attitude” article. (For the record, the only beverage I am sipping as I write this, is green tea with Echinacea!) We know that experiences influence our feelings, our opinions, our choices – even our goals. Think of experiences as the source of energy that YOU process and from it you radiate positive light or you emit darkened shadows. (It’s a stretch but this makes the topic of how to “age with an attitude” a little more interesting!) My grandpa lived to be 110 years old. When people talk of “working a room” my mind turns to memories of him flitting like a butterfly from one group of people to another, always leaving them laughing as he walked away, humming as he went. People used to call him “the charming Spaniard.” Then there’s Grandma on my dad’s side, refusing to allow someone to help her out of the car, and saying “Let ME do it—I am slow, not unable.” I think of an elderly Polish woman neighbor who used to bribe me with home-made pie so I’d play duets with her on the piano. I picture Avo, my “adopted” Portuguese grandma who spent some time in France. She always dressed like someone special was going to visit. Avo remains a voice in my head, reminding me to “never let myself go.” Fast forward to 2017 and I am exposed to the inspiring energy of our clients at Visiting Angels. There’s fearless Mr. H who recently went on an Alaska adventure. Even though he is in his 90s, he insisted on cleaning his attic until we begged him to stop. And there’s Ms. M who is in a lot of pain but always smiles because “it is better than frowning.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2017 All of the aforementioned have tackled physical challenges and made adjustments in their lives in order to cope. My own grandparents, who are less active but still independent, dealt with emotional pain as they redefined their goals, like many may have to. Their experiences radiated a certain kind of energy that influenced me to want to “age with an attitude” not only for myself and for the benefit of my son but also to encourage others. Ask yourself—how do you handle the energy you receive from those around you who are experiencing the aging process? Does it inspire you to have a bring-it-on attitude or do you see aging as a dungeon of doom? If you are not blessed with inspiring role models in your life, what can YOU do now to find that energy and light so you can age well? Aging does not have to be a time of mourning for that (youth) which was lost! Think of experiences as the source of energy that YOU process and from it you radiate positive light or you emit darkened shadows. Our generation seems to be aging better than the generations before us, but we can do better! If you are someone who is caregiving and you feel that your situation is draining life out of you, draw light from the fact that the person you are caring for chooses to live, and bring your light to the situation. Help your loved one remember that even breathing is a good starting point for gratitude! Make sure they are getting the medical and/or psychological care they need. When you visit, be really there! As a