Friday, October 25, 2019

Getting Involved with Our Age

I have been reading a blog written by a nurse about aging. She is 97 now I believe and has just written her 100th post. Her website's name is Engaging with Age. Here is a woman that wondered what we all wonder: is this the way it is with most I developing in my old age at normal pace or not?

I am 78 years old and have writing about this subject
for many years.

She decided back in 2017 to start recording the markers of Age Related Changes (ARC). She was 95 at the time and really had not paid attention to her age up until that time. Then one day she got up on a birthday and realized she was 95 years old. She began to wonder about aging and what were normal age related changes. Curiosity sent her out to find books or articles that would tell her about what those changes would be and, I suppose, when those changes would be developmentally appropriate. I am finding it fascinating.

This summer I had occasion to visit with a doctor at OHSU about a cholesterol problem that has plagued me for 20 years or more. The medication that everyone else can take is the one that I cannot.
In the course of that visit the doctor visited with me while teaching a future doctor to understand the what and the why for medication.

It was the most interesting experience I have ever had...I always wondered what is going on inside the doctor's head. The conversation they had about the medication he was recommending turned to my age.

This is not the first time I have heard the discussion about my age. My dentist wondered about my teeth...should I get the cavities fixed and the crown put on given my age. I was very surprised because, really, I don't plan on dying soon and my teeth are very important.

The lipid specialist told the student that I might live until (hypothetically) 87 without any problems without the medication but, what if, I could live until 97! Thank you very much! I might live a very long time in spite of my issues and probably will.

The nurse that is writing the blog knows that there is decline and recognizing what we can and cannot change is so important. Engaging with our aging can be a learning experience. So obviously those of us that are living the aging life are the ones that know about it and should be writing about it. We truly are the experts.

The questions that often come to my mind are the ones that are related to the physical decline we all experience. True my lipid medication left me weak but after I stopped taking it, was my strength going to come back I asked myself. How physically strong, fast and even appealing we are is important to us all of our lives. Even kindergartners recognize that if they can climb high and run fast, they are good! That feeling of being physically strong is important when we are small and the need for it never goes away.

So I would ask:
  • Can we regain strength in our hands and legs forever with exercise and movement?
  • Does the ability to know where we are in our own space so we don't fall be retained late into life? What would we need to do to be stable on our feet?
  • Developmentally, when is it appropriate for us to lose muscle mass?
So, if you are an aging senior and you can offer some insight into what you are experiencing, I would love to hear about it. Pass the word on to AARP or whoever you think of. I want to know.

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