Can We Talk?

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The more time I spend with older people the more I realize that their greatest fear is being alone. Not just physically alone but having to fill up to 12 hours a day with something other than silence. 

Many elders are widows/widowers and some are just not very good at socializing. It’s amazing how happy a simple conversation can make someone when there’s not much else going on in their life.

So, next time you see someone sitting alone on a bench or staring off into space, try interacting with that person and you might both feel better!

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Cause And Effect

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Some things are better left alone. That might sound defeatist but there are just times when one must leave well enough alone.

Here are a few examples concerning older people:

  • If you ask for a different medication, you may suffer worse side effects.
  • If you send out appliances to be fixed, you will find yourself without them for possibly long periods of time.
  • If you wait around for perfect weather conditions, you will be spending a lot more time stuck inside.
  • If you wait for others to do things for you that you’re capable of doing yourself, you will lose your independence at an alarming rate.

Most aging Americans today refuse to let their limitations rule their lives. Instead, they find ways around their disabilities and power ahead. I hope my generation has as much moxy and determination as theirs. It’s to their credit (those that are thriving) that they’ve defied the odds and entered into a new world of technology and hope!

 

Caregiving In America

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Ever notice that there are more new drugs on the market every day? And just the side effects, alone, can make your pulse quicken. In 2016, we should be curing diseases not still suffering from them. Why is healthy, affordable living so out of our reach?

Watch any black and white film (and even most current ones) and there’s not an actor to be found without his/her lips wrapped around a cigarette. People sometimes have to work at jobs surrounded by carcinogenic substances because that’s all they are qualified to do. We can’t start living in bubbles so what’s a person to do?

It’s true, for the most part, that we are living longer but we’re not fully prepared to care for our loved ones when they reach those new stages of life. Once upon a time, your grandmother might have lived with you and helped raise you while your parents worked. Don’t these same selfless people deserve our love and support? Not everyone can afford to take on that responsibility but… isn’t it worth looking into other options?

It’s not unusual to see multiple videos on social media showing stray animals being rescued and given another chance at life. Shouldn’t we do at least that much for our elders?!

Stages Of Life

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When people label their various stages of life, it’s usually things like ‘before kids’ or ‘after divorce.’ But when you’ve lived well into your retirement years, it tends to be more like ‘before dementia sets in’ or ‘after everything stops working.’

None of us can predict the future and, as we grow older and approach our declining years, we’re learning that some things ‘just happen’ – no matter how much we try to plan otherwise. Bad things happen to good people and some bad people live to a ripe old age.

Different religions teach about destiny and fate. But, for all of us, life should be a journey well traveled. There will be ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, good times and bad. It’s up to each of us to make the best of the hands we’re dealt.

We, alone, are responsible for the choices we make. 

So, next time you decide to label your life’s stages, try these on for size: ‘before I finally opened my eyes’ and ‘after I forgave myself!’

That Changes Everything

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When you look down at your hands and don’t recognize them as your own… that changes everything. When you have an ongoing conversation with someone who isn’t actually there… that changes everything. And when you have to center yourself on the edge of a chair and push as hard as you can with both hands to stand up… that changes everything, too.

No one expects life to remain the same for always. Most of us can accept that and learn to adapt. Change is hard but it shouldn’t be impossible – one would think…

So, what do you do if someone you love refuses to accept change?

You can’t just leave them alone in a world that no longer exists. You must help them acclimate themselves to their new surroundings. Brighten up dark rooms with color, place familiar objects within reach and keep their spirits up at all times.

There are creams and lotions on the market that supposedly remove wrinkles and age spots; books-on-tape that can keep you company when you’re alone or lonely and canes or walkers that can help you get around faster and easier. But only YOU can choose to change!