3 Tips for Elder Resiliency

Two elderly women demonstrate elder resiliency as they enjoy a game of mahjong at a table. One wears a grey sweater and glasses, smiling with her hand poised over the tiles. The other, in a purple top, reaches for pieces, with a walker visible in the background. They look content and engaged.

By Sydney Clevenger, with scheduling assistance from Rose Schnitzer Manor Active Assisted Living Resident Arlene Layton

With all that’s happening in the world, particularly since Covid, aging with grace has become an even tougher task.

What makes some individuals more resilient to life’s ups and downs?

We asked three elders at Cedar Sinai Park‘s Rose Schnitzer Manor Active Assisted Living—Eva, Reva, and Eve— for tips on keeping positive, active, and engaged. That scheduling a get-together with the three ladies was a task unto itself—they had only a short window of time between a friends’ lunch, Mah Jong, and a mindfulness lecture—leads to tip number one.

  1. Socialization

Our seniors agreed that it is important to be independent, but also to have people around regularly.

“I thrive on people,” said Eva, 89. “I suggest for people to get involved and not live by themselves.”

Reva, 81, agrees that isolation can be a recipe for negativity. “Finding peers with whom to share and not depending upon your children for entertainment is important,” she said. “Sometimes, my daughter who lives [in the town I live in] will call and ask me to dinner. And I’ll say ‘Gee, I’d like to, but I’m doing such and such.’ That’s the kind of relationship I want. There are people where I live that I can talk to and socialize with and enjoy.”

Adds Eva: “I can’t imagine staying in a house by myself and thinking that’s good living. The TV doesn’t give much interaction. Here, I can walk out of my room and talk to the staff or visitors and it’s very nice.”

  1. Humor

Eva hails from California most recently, and Reva from Connecticut. They didn’t know each other previously before living in a senior community. But they hit it off right away due to their similar humor.

“I got here about a month before Reva did,” said Eva. “And when she came into the dining room, she was looking for a place to sit. She came to my table and we just hit it off. We’ve sat together ever since, and our group has grown. We just have a great time together. We love to confuse the servers when they ask our names [since their names rhyme]. We always say if we were ever in the same school at the same time, the two of us would have been expelled. We laugh a lot. It helps; it really does.”

  1. Purpose

For Reva, playing games like bridge, Scrabble, and Mah Jong keep her mind active. And she starts every day by playing a round of Wordle. “Got it in three this morning,” she said. “I did, too!” said Eva.

Eve, 94, suggests focusing on what you can do, and what you want to do, rather than what you can no longer do. “A woman came into my office when I was still working and said, ‘You know, my mother gets up in the morning and she goes into the bathroom, looks in the mirror, and says, ‘Oh, I’m so glad to see you!’ I thought that was a very good attitude,” said Eve.

Reva said elders should take the opportunity to try new experiences. She was recently inspired by a fellow resident who went to France at age 98 for a World War II ceremony.

“That made me think . . .maybe I could travel at age 98!” said Reva.

“Never say never,” added Eve.