I didn’t know until being certified as a Mental Health First Aid Adult Trainer in 2016 that mental health and depression in older adults is often ignored or dismissed. I also didn’t know that among the elderly population, aging white males commit suicide in America at a 98% higher rate than all others. I was actually shocked at first but now understand (Colorado State University report). “In the United States, older men of European descent (so-called white men) have significantly higher suicide rates than any other demographic group. For example, their suicide rates are significantly higher than those of older men of African, Latino or Indigenous descent, as well as relative to older women across ethnicities.”
Depression is the culprit, especially for those who have difficulty being as opposed to doing. I consider myself in the category of an older white male who loves living in the moment or being, but also thrives in doing the things I care about.
When my own retirement became a reality, it was very tough to find the the new chapter of doing something that provided me with the same ego fulfilling experience as did my long corporate and business career. I found after experimenting with volunteer work in the community and public service that making a difference for others gave me the balance needed to thrive and preserve a healthy mind and body.
We older Americans, by choice, can map out our lives by being ourselves in the context of all we care about, including pursuing professional and vocational outlets for continued growth and personal rewards.
We can also take in the romance and adventure offered in life by fulfilling your bucket list of the amazing places to visit and explore around the globe or at home. There are so many things to do as we age, assuming our good health is maintained.
For me, getting older is a privilege…many never see the morning sun of old age. We owe to ourselves and others to show the way with our wisdom until the very last day of our lives…
Judy and Steve Sparks, Children and Family Advocates…