AS WE AGE: A PRIMER FOR GROWING OLDERFeb 27th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Dr Jerry Elrod's Senior Moments Blog
Surprising Aging Issues
Aging doesn’t happen all at once. Margery Williams, famous for “The Velveteen Rabbit,” allows that it takes awhile. Your fur rubs off and eyes drop out. That’s a pretty accurate picture.
No, we don’t learn it all at once. We don’t discover the amazing secrets that come with experience and lessons from our elders and our own stumblings and fumblings as we grow older.
A repetitive surprise that seems to come our way as we age is believing that you are now (state your current age). It seems only yesterday that my age was so much less an issue. It seems impossible that I have been retired (state how long). It just isn’t conceivable that my parents have lived as long as they did or have. It isn’t really true that my grandchildren are in college or soon will be. It isn’t realistic that I have applied for long term care insurance. And, finally, surely it can’t be true that my physician has ordered that I not drive any longer.
If this is the case for growing older, I would like very much to explore whether there may be some more gentle options that could ease me from one decade to the next. Sure there is much about being older that is satisfying, eye opening, somewhat surprisingly profound. But can we do without some of the down sides, some of the currents that seem to sweep us in directions we had rather not go?
Choosing to be Active and Alert
John Glenn, national hero and over 90 now, says exercise and keeping active has helped him deal with facing aging. Some of the residents of Care Centers and Assisted Living Facilities surprise us with their level of activity, cognitive functions, alert and ready responses. Some give up and give in much too early. Other seniors seem to find ways to stimulate themselves and become stimulating to others as they go through their daily routines.
Growing older is an inescapable given. It brings with it the need for readiness for dealing with whatever comes next. Standing up and deciding to overtake the need for a walker may not be a smart thing to do, but it may be an exercise in determination that enables defeating the weaknesses we could otherwise be prone.
Refusing to allow the creeping inabilities to take charge of one’s life is another way to demonstrate that, while recognizing changes, you don’t have to give in to all of them.
Having a mindset that continues to be perceptive, refuses to yield to the negatives, nurtures an attitude of strength of character and keeps a sense of humor is a means for growing older with grace, maturity, dignity, perseverance and honor. Growing old doesn’t have to be a disease. It can be another turn in the road, another slight hill to climb, another challenge to assume. It can be the opportunity for allowing entry to a phase of living that can be a productive adventure. While we may not be able to head off growing old, we can conquer just “being old.” Leave room for some more growth.