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Dealing with aging

By Tefoni Mahon

            Jonathon Swift said that, “Every man desires to live long, but no man desires to be old.”  Isn’t that the truth?  When you’re young, you just can’t wait to be an adult, make your own decisions and come to that time in your life when you can retire, kick up your heels, and just relax.  However, no one realizes that on your retirement cruise of leisure, the following guys have boarded with you:   Arthur Ritis, Ben Gay, Rue Matoid, Al Zheimers, and Dee Pends.  Moving towards our golden years, can be frustrating, surprising and depressing and that’s why Truman Capote said, “Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”  Looking into that mirror and not recognizing yourself, is something that happens to us all.  There is no stopping it-we can maybe slow it down a little-but it is inevitable.  Everyone living is going to get old. 

            Frank Howard Clark stated, “We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.”  How do we cope with getting old?  Here are some helpful hints that I have found to help ease the pain of progressing into those golden years.  1.  Accept the fact you are getting old.  You don’t have to love it, but welcome it.  Although, don’t expect the worse.  A negative outlook on life can cause stress and tension, which will lead to more wrinkles and aches/pains.  2.  Redefine attractiveness.  Focus on the whole person rather than a youthful body.  Speak up against that inner voice, and counter it with positive statements like, “I am healthy and loved.”  3.  Keep learning.  This will keep life interesting and satisfying.  It will also keep your mental facilities sharp and healthy.  4.  Keep busy-try new things.  Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, “Men do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing.”  The busier you are, the less time for worry about things you cannot change.  5.  Eat healthy.  A healthy diet can help you maintain a satisfying quality of life.  Make sure your diet includes protein to help keep your muscles strong, healthy fats only (found in fish), water, fiber enriched foods, fruits and vegetables.   Consider asking the doctor about a vitamin supplement also.  6.  Stay Social.  Talk to other people your age and see how they are handling aging.   Talk to young people and use your wisdom to guide them in life.  7.  If you become depressed or feel overwhelmed, go to a professional and talk about it.  Sometimes, just having someone listen and validate your fears can be most helpful.  8.  Find a purpose.  People with grandchildren or pets are said to live longer.  Also, volunteer work can be enriching and rewarding and it will also keep you busy and social.  9.  Exercise regularly.  Not only cardio and stretching are important, but also try relaxation/meditation exercises.  These will help clear your mind and keep you more centered.  10.  See a doctor regularly.  Make sure that your blood pressure, sugar levels, and cholesterol are at healthy levels.  11.  Put your affairs in order.  Being prepared can cause an ease of mind.  Planning for what’s about to come doesn’t mean you are giving up and ready for the casket.  It means that you are maturely thinking about what is to come and making sure everything will be the way you want it to be-on your terms.    12.  Keep humor in your life.  A preacher once asked an elderly man if he was beginning to think of  the hereafter.  The man politely said, “All the time.  I am always walking into a room asking, “Now, what did I come in here after.”  How we think about things changes how we feel about things.  Laughter keeps are stress hormone levels down.

            Growing old is just a fact of life and part of the journey-not the destination!  How you handle it will make all the difference.