This excellent post by Janet Givens asks ‘What does old age really mean?’. As somebody speaking from the experience of being in the 60th year of my life and also caring for my 92 year old mother in the last few years before her death, I have a pretty good idea. Here’s my list of what old age means:
- It means you will fight until the last moment possible to hang on to your independence instead of going into residential care.
- You will need to accept your body’s limitations, or face years of depression.
- You will drive your car until the last possible moment before the family take away your car keys because you have started to become a hazard to other road users.
- You will constantly look back to a time when you were younger and life was better.
- Friends that you’ve known all your life will all die, one by one, so somehow, somewhere, you will need to make new ones or face years of loneliness.
- You cannot help but think that you are a burden to your family.
- Bodily functions you took for granted will cease to work properly, and you will need to make ‘adjustments’.
- Mobility will decrease for sure. The legs always go first.
- It will be harder to remember anything or learn anything new.
- You will get to know your GP and ambulance staff quite well.
- You will feel cold all the time.
- You will find it hard to do up buttons.
- You will become clumsy and prone to falling over.
- You will need to use a walking stick, maybe two.
- You will resist until the last moment the necessity of using a mobility walker.
- On outings with your family you will eschew the use of a wheelchair and walk along pushing it at a snail’s pace.
- You will wake up several times during the day, but do not remember falling asleep.
- It will get harder and harder for you to hear what is being said, but you will resist until the last moment the necessity of using a hearing aid.
Depressing isn’t it? So I say this… live life to the full while you can and while you’ve still got the wherewithal to do so!