Growing old is a privilege that has some pitfallsA reader suggested that since this column has an aging title, so why doesn’t it speak more often to those, or about those, in that category.
A reader suggested that since this column has an aging title, so why doesn’t it speak more often to those, or about those, in that category. She thought even younger folks reading this column would appreciate information that may help them know more about old age, its problems or pleasures so they could more successfully adjust to their future.
I’ll give it a try today, you be the judge. If you think, I missed the boat, please let me know what problems or pleasures those younger readers, who are lucky enough to live that long, should hear about.
One problem the younger generation should anticipate is memory loss. I, personally, demonstrate that extremely well, fading memory, especially names. We have to write more things down and then remember where we put it and make the habit of remembering to read what we wrote down. Memory loss can be frustrating and one humorous story illustrates that it gets worse as you get older.
A woman walks up to an old man in a nursing home and tells him that if he drops his pants, she can tell him exactly how old he is. He says he doubts that but drops his pants. She says, “83”! He said, “That’s right, how did you know.” She replied, “You told me yesterday.” We forget more and that is a constant problem.
Hearing loss comes to many of us who have grown older. While hearing aids have greatly improved, some of the quality is still lost and when even a few words are lost, meaning can be too. Loudspeakers help increase volume, but for some hearing problems that isn’t always enough. High-pitched voices can be more difficult to hear and fast talkers too. Missing a couple words out of a sentence can thwart the message meaning.
Lonesome can be a factor in older age. The work life usually involves a number of people. Social activities reduce in number, especially as an individual may have lost their marriage partner of many years. Volunteering is a great undertaking to reduce loneliness because there is great satisfaction in helping others, just being generally helpful.
It has been said that there are three stages for those of us lucky enough to live long: 1) youth, 2) middle age, and 3) “My but, you are looking well.”
Older age can be a great thing. Youth too often has more energy than they can keep under control. Speed, or lack thereof, is one of the contributing factors, but there are several. One statement sums it all up: Old age is the best possible fire extinguisher for flaming youth. Another saying that lays it on the line is: By the time most folks learn to behave themselves, they are too old to do anything else.
Some things that a person can do to delay aging is to stay involved with younger people. But don’t, foolishly, try to keep up with them. How will younger folk know that they have seriously started to age? When you are sitting at home on a Saturday night and the phone rings, and you hope that it isn’t for you.
There is a supposition that women, especially, don’t like to reveal their age as they get older. One judge was especially considerate of that possibility and when he called a woman up to the stand, he’d say, “Let the woman state her age, after which she may be sworn.”
You are young when it is as easy to go upstairs as down, you are old when it is as hard to go downstairs as up and really old when all you exercise is caution. One thing that our 6 a.m. coffee group helps me with is laughter: We don’t stop laughing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop laughing.
The only thing worse than growing old is being denied the privilege. I close, as is a pleasure for me, with a poem:
Better to ride
The rising tide
Of times incessant call
Then to tussle in rage
With advancing age
And get nowhere at all.