|Have you noticed what a beautiful day it is???
YES! You Can Teach Old Dog New Tricks
So you're old now. That little voice in the back of our mind is growing a seed planted all those years’s ago. We heard our mother tell about our father's driving and how, when that he was coming up on fifty, he just couldn't think as good as he used to. The seed has taken root and we begin to realize that it could be us...someday. So, do you think that you aren't as good as you were at one time...are you beginning to say it out loud...well, you know, I am not as young as I used to be? We need to talk!
First of all let me tell you about myself...I am not a psychologist. I am a 69-year-old retired educator. I am writing about what I see around me. In fact, like my blog description above says, I can tell you about this from the place where the rubber meets the road.
In an article written for Integrated Psychology Associates a Dr. DeLee Lantz had the list of myths down perfectly:
When people think of growing older, they often have images of deprivation, poverty, poor health, loneliness and loss of mental capacity. Does the prevalence of this view mean that it's likely to be accurate? How true is the stereotype? Is this the future we all have to look forward to? Is it true of older people? Or are some of these beliefs simply myths about aging that we've come to accept because of their repetition?
I am here to say these are mostly myths. So don't make excuses.
1. Myth Excuse: I probably am getting dementia because I am old. Let's get the loss of mental capacity out of the way first...I'm not trying to be funny here but...don't think about it. If you have ever kept a car because it did not break down or act funny...and were paid for...you can understand this. When it quits working, it quits working. Did you begin using it less because you were worried that it would quit? Well I wouldn't. I would use it until it quit. When it was done then so be it. Why would we even worry about it until the time came? It is not myth that we will grow old and die if we keep on living. I don't know about you but I like living a lot and I am willing to accept the consequences of growing old. Get over it! Don't think about dementia or other age related mental problems!
2. Myth Excuse: I am getting cranky because I am old. The myth is that as we get older we become cute and sweet or cranky and mean. This is the truth as I know it.... our personalities do not change. If we are active, smart, evil, mean or even dippy, we will be all those things as we grow older. We do not change. So don't use age as an excuse to do mean things or to act like you are dippy. Age has nothing to do with it.
3. Myth Excuse: I am feeling depressed but who wouldn't? I'm getting old. There are some basic sign of depression that all of us should be watchful for...changing sleep patterns, negative thought patterns, appetite loss, pain and a feeling of hopelessness...to name just a few. Depression hurts! Get the help you need. This is not normal just because you are old. Do your research. If you are depressed, it is a symptom of an illness and can be treated. Don't accept it!
4. Myth Excuse: I have gained weight and I can't do anything about it because I am old. The truth is we can improve the condition of our heart and the shape of our body. Aching joints could have more to do with inactivity than it does with activity. In fact, in my case, I can actually make my joints hurt by focusing on them. I like to wake up with gratitude, think about what I will do and get on with my day. I will repeat the same advice I gave above one more time...don't think about it. And, if you have a deteriorating hip or knee, get it fixed as soon as you can. We are going to live a long time so we need to take care of ourselves.
5. Myth Excuse: I will spend all the rest of my days alone because I can never feel love again. This may be a myth from my generation...I don't know. I know for a fact that old people can love with as much passion as young people. If you have lost a mate or divorced at a late age, you can still have a life with another person...age does not change that. It is your choice.
6. Myth Excuse: I am just miserable because I am old and don't have very much money. Listen, we need to make good choices as we get older. Living within our means in a positive meaningful way can change the way we look at our old age. I live in an RV resort for 6 month out of the year. Here in Arizona where old people gather to sit in the sun, there are small houses called park models. You can own one for anything from $5,000 up to $60,000. Yearly rent is $4000 a year (less than $400 per month). This park has about 200 year round people. These people have found an affordable, social and active way to spend their retirement. They can afford it. There is housing for people that need financial assistance in the community and some have been able to use the aid. They do not need to be miserable or lonely. I am beginning to believe that seniors are lonely because of the choices they make.
7. Myth Excuse: I can't play golf because I have a leakage (bladder control) problem. See, I don't know about this. I don't leak and I love to play golf. From what I read, bladder leakage is not a disease...it is a symptom. If you leak, do some research on the websites about an over active bladder or bladder control then get help. Doctors can make that problem go away.
8. Myth Excuses: I can't learn to play bridge...I'm just too old! I know people that are learning to golf, play bridge, play mahjongs, quilt, write, make jewelry, and quilt...need I say more. We continue to learn and actually may even become very wise if we "put our mind to it". The myth that we can't learn as we get older is the worst myth of all...it is absolutely untrue!9. Myth Excuse: I can't do a thing about my life...I am old. Wrong...many, many of the things we worry about...failing joints, depression, loneliness, poverty are things that can be dealt with. By being proactive and doing what we should, we can live long, happy, social and productive lives. You can be sure that we are going to live a long, long time. Make the best of the years given to you!
News people and advertisers are planting the idea that retirement and aging is an awful place to be. Pharmaceutical firms want us to believe that we need more and more medication. Aging is not awful. Really, it isn't. We have a lot of choices in this day and age. We will work until we can or want to retire. Maybe some of us will work longer, maybe some of us less. It is a fact and always has been. Don't dwell on it. For goodness sakes have you noticed what a beautiful day it is? And it could be that we live out a self-fulfilling prophecy in our old age. How we spend our retirement years will be what we think it will be. Think positive!