“We live, we die, and the wheels on the bus go round and round.” Those are the famous words of Edward Cole which was the role played by Jack Nicholson in the 2007 movie The Bucket List. The touching movie was about about writing a “bucket list” which contained a list of things he and his friend wanted to do before they died. The main characters of the film that were accomplishing their dreams have inspired the young and old to think about their dreams and find a way to fulfill them. Many seniors are starting to think about their own bucket lists early on so they can accomplish them while they’re still relatively active. Many Assisted Living Homes and Senior Marketing companies are channeling their efforts to encourage seniors to make their bucket lists so they consider their old age as a new take on life.
The term “senior” covers a vast range of age groups. Making a distinction between baby boomers, who in 2010 are age 46 to 64, a 70 year old, a 75 year old and someone 80 and older is paramount to providing relevant and meaningful information in areas such as navigating daily life, healthcare, education, and even merchandising. Whatever age one decides the time is right for charting their wish list, many are getting assistance on doing just that. Assisted Living Homes, Senior Marketing services and Hospice centers are getting in touch with nonprofit organizations that help seniors and those on their death bed fulfill their last wishes.
A number of businesses have also popped up based on the idea of helping seniors create their wish lists. 10 years ago Bob Haverstick started a company called Never Too Late which specializes in making the aspirations of senior citizens and terminally ill adults come true. The company has fulfilled over 2,000 wishes in a decade, garnering unusual and funny stories along the way. “We want to continue to make wishes happen for the elderly and for adults with a terminal illness and create more spinoffs of our organization,” says Haverstick.
“Once people hear about the mission or read about a wish in the newspaper or see a wish unfold on TV, they want to become volunteers or send funds to help support the cause.” Haverstick’s Indianapolis based company has the goal of helping people live each day filled with energetic compassion and translating that mind set into the world of “wish making.” The company offers programs where elementary school aged kids visit seniors in long term care and assisted living facilities and become pen pals with residents who have no one left to visit or write them.
Some seniors around the country are using their computers to share their personalized wish lists on social networks. They’re blogging their way to fulfillment with dream lists that include activities such as sky diving, scuba diving, parasailing, riding a “Harley,” getting a tattoo, bungee jumping and yes, seeing Paris. It may be slightly more practical for some seniors to think “outside the bucket” and envision a few aspirations that are more suited to accommodate physical limitations, not to mention budgets. “Good” bucket list fulfillments for some seniors should leave footprints on their memories, and not compromise their pocket books or their frail bones!
Some seniors might prefer simpler bucket list suggestions such as learning to draw or paint, playing an instrument, reading that novel they never got around to or learning to use the computer. Many physically fit and active seniors go back to school and continue their education as their bucket list wish. Activity directors in assisted living homes have also created online “travelogues” or Power Point presentations that would allow residents to take virtual tours to anywhere in the world. This could make seeing Paris or even climbing Mt. Everest a reality all within the premises of their assisted living facility. Most people in their latter years still have important items left on their bucket lists and all they need to do is pursue their passion, one step, one day, one wish at a time. By the year 2030, the total number of people in the U.S. over the age 65 will soar to 71.5 million — one in every five Americans. Live your life to the fullest by fulfilling your dreams!