I’ve always believed that age is but a mere number, and what really matters is one’s attitude. However, every once in a while something happens to nudge that belief, just a little. After all, the truth is, as the years pass, we do age and everyone gets there sooner or later.
We just returned from a trip and realized we didn’t have the stamina we had five years ago. Yep, it isn’t easy to accept the fact that growing old is tough.
We often tell children that growing up is difficult. And of course, an elderly person will tell you that growing old is not for the weak. New aches and pains pop up as the body breaks down. In the course of things breaking down, new issues show up. The most common problem with growing old is the feeling that you cannot live your life as you once did. Even a trip to the grocery store is often so painful that you won’t want to go. Yay for online shopping, eh?
While talking to my uncle on the phone and reminiscing, we marveled at how quickly time flies. When we cannot live our lives as we once did, our mental health takes a toll. The only two people I know who seemed to manage pretty well in spite of their health issues are my Grandma and Mom. My Grandma passed away at the age of 87 and my Mom, at 64. Cheerful till the last conscious minute. Their secret? Making adjustments.
So how can we make those adjustments? Here are four things that ease the way.
Find the Right Tools
One of the hardest things about growing old is having to depend on medical aids. Many folks feel defeated when they have to rely on these to achieve their day to day tasks. This feeling is understandable, and one way to tackle it is to reconsider one’s perception of those aids. When my cousin mentioned Quingo Mobility Scooters, I thought it was a cool idea. In fact, these, and walkers and hearing aids are not meant to shame the user but rather offer the freedom to move around and hear as they once did. It’s easier to do some shopping with family, operating a scooter, than it would be without. A hearing aid makes it nicer to hear the sweet voices of grandchildren rather than lose that forever. No matter which tool you need to help you, the best thing is to embrace it as freedom rather than a hindrance!
Of course change is difficult. We go through plenty of change in our lives and we just want to catch a break and live without issues. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work out that way. So do this: as you face a new health issue, take a moment to breathe through the emotions you are feeling. Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel angry or depressed about the situation. Then remind yourself that it’s far better to find new ways to live rather than sit in despair. Think about it for a moment; is it better to sit and not go anywhere or to be out and about and amongst your social circles?
Confide in Your Peers
Living an active elderly life has its own challenges and one of the best ways to work through those challenges is to chat with your friends who are dealing with the same. One of the most harrowing effects of depression is that we are left feeling very alone. It appears that everyone else is living a life we wish we could have. Reality sets in when we chat and learn how others also deal with the same health issues that we are. Checking in with one another is a great way to be sure that not only do you have an outlet for your own emotions and fears but that your friends do, too. Sometimes the greatest way to feel good is by helping others. So go buddy up!
Feel Your Emotions
It’s not always going to be a bed of roses. You are going to have days in which you just feel sad, angry, or awful because of a health issue. You can’t smile all the time. You know what? That is completely okay! It’s not only okay, it’s normal. If you are having a bad day, let people know openly rather than be pouty and spiteful. If you want space to just rest, let people know. Yes, they will worry about you and that is okay too. It’s coming from a place of love.
Always remember, living with a disability and/or health issues is not for the weak. But you are strong and you are amazing at living life. It may not be the same as it was before, but you can still make it as awesome as you want it to be.
Do you agree?