Friday, December 7, 2012

Aging: Is it a problem when you feel younger than you are?

It is happening...again. The issue of when we will need special care is the ongoing topic of conversation with our children. They are wondering "What will shall we say? What should we do? Did you see Mom/Dad driving, paying the bills, stumble on the front sidewalk?" They are worried.

But the aging seniors don't see the problem because they feel young. This can be a very difficult conversation.
video from Graceful Aging
In an article written by Susan Arnquist for the NYT several years ago she sited the fact that young people think old age begins at 65 while people that are actually 65 think old age begins at 75.

In a poll take by The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. this year, the question was posed "Is 61 old?" 
The perspective of age depends on what side of 61 one is. The survey indicated 67 percent of Americans age 45 and older said 61 was middle-aged, 20 percent said age 61 was young and only 13 percent called 61 old. 
However, 56 percent of adults age 45 and younger said 61 was middle-aged, 7 percent said 61 was young while nearly 37 percent said it was old.

Read more:
Here's what I have learned as I grow older. Young people think we are old and would be shocked if they knew truly knew how we feel emotionally and truly don't understand what is going on inside our heads. My senior friends will often say, "Don't tell my kids I am doing this". They know the children would not expect them to have so much fun and probably be embarrassed or not approve. 

The funny thing is these senior "old people" line up for senior specials, sign up for Social Security as soon as possible and always take advantage of the McDonalds senior meal deals. They feel young but they give off "old" signals. I can understand how the children are confused. I remember when my dad went to a field on the side of the mountain with a chainsaw to cut wood for his fireplace. It was called Social Security Mountain. I was confused at the time because I did not see him as old. I was okay with the chainsaw and hauling wood but I wasn't okay with a place that only "old people" used. I was young and just didn't get it.

We all know that we are afraid of the unknown. Our children are probably afraid not only for us but also for themselves. They cannot understand what it is like to walk in our shoes until they actually walk in our shoes! That is where we come in. It is our job to start the conversations early...on a positive note. Whining and moaning is only allowed in the bathroom.

If you are smart you won't wait until they come to you. Be pro-active about issues like driving or assisted living. Have a plan and let them know where, what, how and if. If you don't take control, you will lose control. I cannot even imagine my children coming to me in a group to have an intervention and taking control of my life. I really don't want that but, if it does happen, I think it will be my own fault.

Just a thought!


More information:

The Elderly vs. The Middle Age: Who Is A Senior Citizen, Who Is Middle Aged And Why?
Huffington Post


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