Leaving a Legacy

Everyone leaves a legacy. Your legacy could be the values and skills you’ve passed on to future generations with your teaching or parenting, or it could be a home you built, a stone wall you laid, a garden you nourished, a salmon creek you restored, a tree you planted, or a story you wrote. You may choose to consciously leave a legacy, by developing and passing on something of great significance and meaning to you, or you may have already made a lasting difference in someone’s life simply through something you said or did.

With increasing age, many people express a desire to give back to their community, to share what they have learned or accumulated, and to leave a legacy of meaning and purpose. Finding meaning and purpose in one’s life is the basis of spiritual well-being, which has been associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression.

The following resources provide ideas about different types of legacies:

The New Horizons for Seniors program provides federal funding of up to $25,000 for projects by seniors for seniors who want to make a lasting difference in their communities.

You may want to make a difference in your community through improving its safety, for yourself and others, by starting an elder block watch.

Or you may want to make a difference through volunteering.

Your legacy may be a memoir. Many colleges, universities, seniors’ centres and various community programs offer courses to help with memoir writing. Most universities waive tuition fees for students over the age of 65.

Your legacy may be your art, a garden, or your collection. Many fine museums started with someone donating a collection.