Seniors: Avoiding Old Age and Being Out of Date

May 10th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

The challenge for elders is increasingly one of trying to keep up with the demands and multiplied changes of day to day living.  What with all the Ipods, Ipads, Android, IPhone, and numerous other emphases on the I, our contemporary world demands senior citizens keeping up like it never has before.  There was once a time when life seemed to be met with relative ease.  Keeping up with the technological wave of change for retirees is both a full time and notoriously confusing phenomenon.  Those of us past 70 and retired are constantly met with new gimmicks, tech advancements and inventive means to be in touch with the rest of the world.  For some, the question is, “do I really want all this access” to people and ideas that continue to flood over us?

Having grown up in the eras of tape recorders and xerox machines and faxes and computers and GPS Systems, and numerous other, what felt like then, notable advances, this new and improved phenomenon leaves me not even sure how far behind I really am.  Before I have familiarized myself with the latest advance, there is another grabbing the advertising headlines.  Before I have any idea that I need an Ipad, I have discovered that I am buried by all the hype.  Before I realize how far behind I am technologically, the science and mainstream media are talking about what’s next.

To be sure, I can turn my head and try to avoid all this multiplicity of new world phenomena.  My “brave new world’, to some degree, is still caught in the 1960′s.  Gee, I am really out of date.  Avoidance, denial and its twins “refusal to acknowledge” and “eyes wide shut” are available options.  But then we close and lock the doors to many of the new generation who really do know what’s going on and would like to discuss it with us.  Techies and first graders today know more about the information revolution than you and I knew by the time we had reached 30.  We may feel literally lost in the darkness of rooms without electricity.

To turn on the lights, we have to decide to keep up.  This world is strange and so new that recognizing its differences may tend to overwhelm us.  If so, it is then that we need to resolve to avoid the onslaught of old age and being out of date.  Stephen Hawking is already warning us of encroaching aliens and their potential presence.

It is true that it is easier to melt into the easy chair and find its satisfying comfort in indifference.  Old age apathy is a disease, not likely given enough diagnosis.  Our minds can become repositories of the past, comfortably ensconced in yesterday.  But yesterday has already been enjoyed.  Yesterday slipped by, often without our even knowing it.  Yesterday can trap us in fantasy that is no longer useful.

To be vital, to be rich one needs the challenge and test of the now.  To avoid old age and being out of date means opening doors and windows (that,too) to new worlds and vistas not known before. Even the language has been monopolized by the encroachment of technology.  Catching up means being able to speak in a new language, to know the questions to ask, to  understand that our world is no longer the world.  Giving up our comfort zone for a whole new arena in which life is being acted out may produce for us discomfort and confusion, but at least we will no longer be aliens in this brave new world.



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