How to live happily as you age

Milnerton members visited the Urban Park in Green Point

We all want happiness, health, and to remain active. And, in this post–pandemic world, we look for ways to get the most out of each day.  Here are a few ideas to assist you to live your life fully:

Start a hobby or activity. Many people want a hobby but are limited by working lives and family obligations. But now is when you
can try the different options for crafts or hobbies to identify one that’s best, or to enhance what you have done before. 

Sign up as a volunteer. Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organisations, and we at the CJSA would love to have you assist with our activities. You can derive so much pleasure when you volunteer, and it is not uncommon for volunteers to give a new lease on life to those they assist. Studies show that people who make time to help others often feel happier themselves.

Spend time outdoors. In Cape Town, we do not have an excuse – we have wonderful weather conducive to enjoying the outdoors, whether it’s a walk in the park, sitting on a bench on the beachfront watching the waves and boats in the bay, hiking, or going on a picnic. Warm weather boosts morale and promotes a positive mood.

Adopt a dog or assist at an animal shelter if you don’t want to have a pet in your home. The unconditional love from animals certainly makes one happier and provides an opportunity to exercise and enjoy fresh air. Some studies show that owning a dog can decrease anxiety levels and blood pressure.

Spend time each day with people you love. Best practice to promote happiness is to be in close proximity with at least one person every day. However, electronic services like Zoom and FaceTime allow us to stay connected even when we aren’t near one another. Regular chats via telephone or other means promote feelings of warmth, increasing our endorphin activity, i.e. our ‘feel good’ hormones.

Continue working if possible and only if you remain fulfilled. You will be stimulated from being productive, active and fulfilled in
an enjoyable field. However if you are not happy in what you are doing, don’t feel obliged to remain in the position. Rather move to a more low-key, less stressful position.

Practise gratitude. There are so many ways in which we can show gratitude – and promote our health – reducing blood pressure and cholesterol. Being grateful decreases feelings of hopelessness, stress and depression. 

Boost your mood and overall health by smiling and laughing. When you smile your body produces serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, chemicals that make you feel good and increase your happiness levels. It is also suggested that happiness and laughter increase longevity too. 

Focus on what’s in your control and try to change things that make you unhappy. Don’t focus on things beyond your control. 

Meditation and yoga help to enhance memory and mood. Practised regularly, they can bring you happiness.

Eat correctly and mindfully, focusing on pulses, proteins, fruit and vegetables as your main source of diet. Your body will thank you for doing everything in moderation, and good eating habits decrease the risk of diabetes and other diseases.

Exercise regularly. Whether it’s chair yoga, gentle walking or swimming, exercise is the best way to remain fit, and to sustain muscle tone and lung capacity.

Watch news in moderation. There is so much trauma worldwide, so try to restrict watching TV news and limit your cell phone use to a maximum of 30 minutes daily. Feel good movies or documentaries are a good way to reduce stress.

Make amends with your family. Reduce your stress levels by letting go of the past. Old arguments and disagreements can lead to constant stress, which isn’t good for your long-term health.

Take all prescribed medication, ensuring that you do so as directed. Don’t borrow or share medication with family or friends. Regular check-ups are also important to ensure that you maintain optimum health.

Have 7–9 hours of undisturbed sleep every night to prevent tiredness during the day. Turn off tablets or phones at least an hour before bed to enable normal melatonin production. Warm baths, relaxing music or special hot drinks assist with getting to sleep easily.

Even if you only look at a few of these suggestions, it’s a step in the right direction to living mindfully and enjoying the journey. You can get involved in suggested activities at our centres, so join a branch closest to you where you will be encouraged, supported and assisted to start and maintain the journey to living a meaningful, healthy life.

Upcoming special activities:

Day Trip on the Red City Tour bus, enjoying a trip around the Peninsula and a fish and chip lunch in Hout Bay. 

Arts & Crafts Exhibition on 5 March at our Sea Point branch. It will be well worth visiting the exhibition as there will be beautiful items on display from all our artists and crafters, and some are for sale. The exhibition is from 10h00–15h00.

Our annual Goudini 3-night break takes place from 9–12 April. Bookings are open. 

Contact the office for information on any of these activities.

Diana Sochen, Executive Director

Social and Personal
Births: Joy Rubenstein – Granddaughter Hilda Wilk – Great-grandson
Engagement: Sonia Norrie – Grandson
Special Birthday: Freda Farkas – 90th
Anniversary: Liz and Selwyn Kantor – 59th
Welcome to new members: Leonore Bain, Helene Kolevsohn, Jay Spencer, Melanie Shirk
Well wishes to those who have been under the weather. We are holding you all in our thoughts and prayers: Collette Levin, Liz Kantor, Cecily Mendelsohn, May Sher

Cape Jewish Seniors Association
Director: Diana Sochen, 021 434 9691,
Admin: Amanda, 021 434 9691,
CJSA on Facebook

• Published in the March 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

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