Fighting The Demons Of Old Age
Aging gracefully is a saying that everyone has in mind when it comes down to getting older. However, its meaning is not universal. For some, it’s about keeping up appearances and remaining charming and elegant even with white hair and some wrinkles. For others it’s about maintaining their lifestyle, especially if they have a great taste for active experiences, travels or even parties: They can’t bear the idea that their body might not be reliable anymore. Some people see old age as a dark window into a lonely world, where nobody wants to have anything to do with your old self. Others fear that might lose their independence and maybe even their mind. For the majority of adults, the prospect of losing one’s mind, losing the very ability to think and have opinions, is just like losing themselves. Is growing old synonymous with a loss of abilities, whether mental or physical? It is, at least, what most people think. They picture old age as a stage in life when one becomes useless, and terribly out of touch with the reality. In short, there are many demons that are associated with old age. But are they are real?
Loss Of Independence
The common fear about old age is to hit a point in your life when you can’t trust yourself to do the most basic things, such as eating food every day or securing a roof over your head. Even if you’re healthy and sane of mind, it can be still difficult to keep healthy in old age, especially if your pension is too low to ensure the minimum comfort. You might find yourself having to move back with your family. Or maybe for any reason – whether your mental or physical abilities are regressing – your family doesn’t trust you to take care of yourself anymore. In any case, when a parent moves back with their children – even though those are now grown adults – it feels like a terrible step back. Despite being a parent, you might find that you suddenly are at the charge of your children. This is a difficult situation for everyone.
Feeling Useless And Unwanted
It’s not uncommon to wonder about whether you are still useful to anyone when you reach old age. Indeed, getting older means retirement, which in turn means that you no longer contribute to the growth of businesses. If you haven’t planned your old age carefully, you may find yourself without anything to do. For a start, this might be dull, especially if you’re still mentally and physically active – or still would like to be. Additionally, it can also become depressing, as you are not in a position to help anyone anymore. This is where you may be wrong. There are still ways to use your health, your mind, and your experience to help others. You could join organisations dedicated to helping elderly people who are not as active as you are, such as Seniors Helping Seniors for example. But you could also join reading clubs for children and help the younger ones fall in love with books and stories. Or why not share your professional expertise as a freelancing consultant?
Being Out Of Touch With Modern Lifestyles
The main problem with getting old is that the world doesn’t stop changing just because you do. As a result, you might find yourself out of touch with modern lifestyles and technologies. Think of how old people today can struggle with video conferences, skyping, social media, or even a click and buy button. Now, where will technology be when it’s your turn to be old? Will you need to take classes to keep in touch with the modern pace of the world? Will you still be able to follow? What will it mean for your social life if you’re technologically stranded? These are many questions that have no answer at the moment. However, one thing remains for sure. Technology will keep evolving and redefining people’s life. As a result, staying connected with the world around you as you age is about understand tech.
Getting old is about living longer, which is great news. But just because you live longer doesn’t mean that your friends and relatives do. You may find yourself gradually isolated as you age. Isolation is the most common reason for depression in old age. Isolation doesn’t only mean that you are alone, it also means that you can’t find ways to build bridges back to a social life. Fortunately, more and more organisations are looking at solutions to fight loneliness for old people. Take a look at what the Dutch nursing homes have started. They allow students to come and live for free in their nursing homes as long as they agree to spend a minimum of 30 hours per months with their elderly housemates. The results are promising, as both students and seniors benefit from the interaction. It’s an exchange of experience, wisdom and somehow friendship too.
Losing Your Health
When you get older, it’s not only your hair that turns grey. It’s your entire body that starts aging. Like any machine, it can start malfunctioning too. Maybe your heart becomes weaker, or you find that your legs can’t carry you anymore. Or it’s our eyes that can’t focus and need stronger correction. Getting old means that your body changes. While you can’t stop it from changing, you can try to maintain your health with a regular physical activity. Swimming, for example, is gentle on the joints and still keep your muscles strong and active. But tennis or badminton is also a good idea, especially if you join a senior league, as you can combine a burst of activities and fun. However, don’t attempt ball games if your eyesight isn’t corrected or if you’re suffering from joint pain.
Losing Your Mind
Last, but not least of your worries, is the fear that your mental abilities might decline. Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are, unfortunately, a known risk. But you can prevent them from developing a healthy lifestyle, which includes the right kind of food and regular physical and mental activities. If you are feeling confident, why not join a local club, such as a book club, where you can meet other readers on a weekly or fortnightly basis to discuss your readings. Keeping your mind active is key to healthy aging.