It is too easy to forget that older folks still have and need goals. Elderly flexibility in attaining those goals can be very important to a healthy lifestyle that gets elderly citizens up and moving, according to new research.
Older people who persistently strive for their goals, but at the same time are able to adjust their goals to better correspond to current circumstances, move across a larger life-space than do their less tenacious and flexible peers. Furthermore, tenacious and flexible older persons better perceive their possibilities to participate in outdoor activities. This was observed in a study conducted at the University of Jyväskylä.
“Almost all of us have some personal goals, which guide our behavior and everyday life,” says doctoral student Sini Siltanen. “Older people have goals as well, even though they are not discussed that often.”
The study results highlighted the role of tenacity: those who persistently strived for their own goals had larger life-space, even in spite of poor flexibility.
“Our results indicate that persistency and the ability to adjust can function as personal resources for maintaining out-of-home mobility and participation in later life,” Siltanen says. “Moreover, it seems that while flexibility is especially important for maintaining autonomy, tenacity may be what gets older people out the door.”
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