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Positive Aging

Jacqueline M. Sander

Jacqueline M. Sander

Jacqueline Sander is the Executive Director & Partner of The Birches Assisted Living. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Administration from NIU, which helped her skillfully guide The Birches community through the extreme times of the pandemic. Jacqueline is passionate about keeping up with various industry trends, advocating for and applying best practices in senior living as an active LeadingAge Assisted Living Cabinet member. She values providing an atmosphere of growth and opportunity for all individuals regardless of age or ability, being a preferred provider of quality care, and putting The Birches at the forefront of industry trends. She is proud of helping The Birches become the first certified Montessori Inspired Lifestyle community in Illinois and being an active Chamber Board Member to support small businesses and help them thrive.

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positive-aging

A Shift in Your Mindset

In a world of anti-aging creams, the value put on busy lifestyles, and immediate gratification, it makes us question to ourselves, is this how we want to age?  

Are we supporting a world where we need to look younger, rush to meet the latest trend, and devalue life’s experience because the internet tells us the answers we seek?

Or are we at a pivotal moment where we can create a world where we take the opportunity to intentionally value the moment and our relationships, find patience to complete a goal that may now take more time to learn than it used to, be open to what’s possible in our next chapter, and accept kindness to oneself when life throws us a curveball?

The fact is, we are aging every moment and every day. This will not change.

If we admit and mindfully embrace that we will be older tomorrow, we can then start being open to possibilities when it comes to aging rather than fearing the process.  You can start taking back control and choice in how you live and plan your life.  There is no such number or research that shows that when you hit __ age, it is ‘only downhill from here.’  Research, through the MacArthur Foundation, proves that 70% of the way we age is due to lifestyle choices.  

With the right mindset, and intentionally focusing on what you can do versus what you can’t do, and surrounding yourself with the right support system that believes in what is possible, you have the power to age happier and healthier everyday regardless of age and cognitive ability.

Yes, we may not be able to do as much as we used to do.  Instead, it is important to focus on what you want to do now.  Do the limitations you put on yourself actually exist? What can you control?  What is your purpose or what gets you out of bed today?  

If we place value to all we have accomplished in the past, validate those experiences and appreciate how they made us be the person we are today, we can then move on to control where we want to be next.  We can be mindful and intentional in how we choose to live. This is the power we have over our personal aging journey through a Positive Aging mindset.

We are presented with choices every day. Anger versus kindness, fear versus wonderment, hesitation versus willingness, and don’t versus do.  Do you live with regrets or weight on your shoulders? Can you do something today to release some of that weight? Tomorrow?  Is the situation realistically something you can control?  Are the choices you make today bringing you closer to a happier life? What are you learning next?

We have one life to live.

We don’t know what tomorrow brings or if life is going to throw us another curveball.  We are resilient, and what we choose to do is all we can control today. When the unexpected happens, we may have to modify our environment, we may need to ask for a little assistance or support, and we may have to stop something we used to do in the past, and that is okay.  Be kind to yourself with the process because adjustments, modifications, challenges, curveballs, curiosity, and growth have always been a part of living life, and it doesn’t change because you have reached a certain age.  We just now know better.