The environmental pressures that are determining Aniisa’s post retirement adulthood seem overwhelming in so many ways. She will need personal resiliency and community support in order to experience Optimal Aging. When she moves to Canada her former stresses will be replaced by numerous new cultural stresses. If Anissa realizes that she should put satisfying her own needs first; she will have a much better chance of experiencing optimal aging. Active ageing is a concept she can use to make sure that in Toronto her needs are met for a safe home and good health care. She will need to find ways to actively participate in her new community in ways she finds satisfying. Safety, reliable health care and participation will ensure a higher quality of life. Health and social services are an important determinant for Aniisa’s age.
Resiliency one of many behavioral determinant affecting quality of life in post retirement adults is a dynamic characteristic. Aniisa can choose to life optimistically or pessimistically; attitude is a personal determinant. The physical environment may or may not improve an aging person’s quality of life. Living in a country at war must have been very risky for Aniisa so the ability to function with resilience would have helped her withstand the pressures and risks. Her resiliency and the amount of reserve capacity she has saved up will help determine how well she will be able to handle the change to her new life in Toronto. Aniisa still has potential for growth and development. As an older adult she can still she change and challenges as learning opportunities and a chance to grow as a person. Her personality is not rigidly fixed only because she has reached the age of 60. Plasticity is the characteristic that is found in her reserve capacity. Plasticity will allow her to adjust to new situations instead of fight against them.
The stress of the war and difficulties war causes for daily life surely had a negative impact on Aniisa’s resiliency. Regaining resiliency while under a new set of stresses will not be easy. The transformation in her life will be more difficult than under happier circumstances. Such a big change for mature adults under happy circumstances would still be highly stressful and challenging. Instead of leaving Somalia because she wants to leave; she is leaving because she needs to leave for safety reasons.
Aniisa will be living with her son and his family which she may or may not view as a comfort but it should meet the economic determinant in a positive way. Aniisa must have an open mind about what amount of time and affection she may receive from her son. If she can find away to remain resilient that will help her accept the changes in the relationship with her son since he is now an adult. Appropriate behaviour and a willingness to accept her circumstances with an open mind willhelp.
Aniisa will be negatively or positively impacted by the social transactions she will face in Toronto. Toronto is a large city with diversity and a relatively cosmopolitan atmosphere. Aniisa may be faced with strangers treating her badly because she is Muslim. Her resilience and reserve capacity can both enhance her ability to choose as much as possible positive interactions. Her ability to ‘bounce back’ from a bad or difficult encounter will help her become stronger and more self-confident. The positive social transactions she is involved with each day can help her handle the negative emotions that negative transactions will initiate. Although living in a home with four children may seem overwhelming to some older adults; the situation can be seen as an opportunity. Living with her grandchildren will allow Aniisa interactions with young people which is not possible for many people. For example in nursing home situations older adults are surrounded by other adults of the same age living in exactly the same way. The lack of diversity can be stifling for experiencing ‘optimal aging’ which means continuing to grow developmentally in the later part of the life span.
The hypothesis presented above stated ‘If Anissa realizes that she should put satisfying her own needs first; she will have a much better chance of experiencing optimal aging.’ Without empirical data there is no way to prove the hypothesis to be really true or false, but it is still useful to evaluate the idea. Retaining resiliency and building up resource of reserve capacity can only be accomplished by regaining losses. The only way to regain losses is for a person to recognize their needs and try to satisfy them. Aniisa may find it important to make friends with other Somalian ladies her age living in Toronto so she will have a social life in a different sphere than her son’s family. One of the first things she may want to do is find a mosque she feels she can worship in comfortably. She may want to take up yoga, painting or a hobby she always loved but had to give up. She may want to teach classes about Somalia or become politically active. There are many ways that Aniisa can experience optimal aging even though she is in an external environment that is totally foreign.
Staudinger, U. M., Marsiske, M. and Baltes, P. B. (1995). “Resilience and reserve capacity in later adulthood: Potentials and limits of development across the life span,” In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.). (1995). Developmental Psychopathology, Vol. 2: Risk, Disorder, and Adaption, pp. 801-847, NY: Wiley.