Things Most People Stop Doing as They Age
There are many things people stop doing as they age either because they:
- have health problems,
- lose the energy they had when younger,
- no longer have as many people in their lives as in prior years,
- change their views on different things, or
- simply become uncomfortable when doing them.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to think that nothing will change for them as the years go by, but this simply is not true.
Unfortunately, because many people believe this. They don’t prepare for the future and, as a result, have a difficult time adapting to the inevitable.
Here are some things you should consider if you are already in your 50’s. All of the items discussed here do not apply to every individual, but among them, you’ll find issues that will impact you in your older years.
Taking Care of Vehicles
When people are younger, stronger and healthier (and have enough time to do so), they enjoy washing and waxing their cars, boats and recreational vehicles. It’s a matter of great pride and satisfaction to step back and look at the beautiful fruits of their labors.
However, doing this is not so satisfying for older people, who mostly just take their vehicles to car washes or hire people to detail them. The latter is not cheap to do, but it is less expensive than pulling your back out and having to make a trip to the ER and also saves time.
Cooking Big Meals
For many, aging means cutting way back on the types of foods they eat and meals they prepare.
Younger people, who like to entertain, love to cook fancy meals for their friends and loved ones. The guests love it, too, because they don’t have to clean the house, prepare the food or spend hours washing all of the pots, pans and dishes after the meal is over.
However, after the years pass by those who prepare the dinners come to see that their guests have mostly stopped reciprocating.
Once this happens, homemakers cut way back on inviting people to dinner.
They start to
- prepare simpler meals for the immediate family,
- pick up already prepared food from fast food restaurants or grocery stores or
- may even stop cooking at all!
I knew one 80 year old woman who threw her kitchen stove away shortly after her husband died. She told me she tired of cooking!
Once health problems set in, options become more limited.
Seniors stick to smaller meals that are made up of easy to chew foods and won’t create problems with their digestive tracts.
They rarely cook for others because by the time they reach “a certain age”, many of their friends are either dead, sick, living in nursing homes, are on restricted diets or have become picky about what foods they’ll eat.
Furthermore, preparing big meals for people is expensive and becomes difficult to do.
Wearing Harmful Clothes
For many older people, act of dressing can be difficult and sometimes dangerous, so they start opting for clothing that is easy to put on and wear.
Many wear slip on tops that have either buttons or zippers, pants and shorts that have elastic waist bands and wide legs and low heeled shoes that are made of soft materials, have rubber soles and that slip on rather than needing to be tied.
People who don’t opt for these types of clothes or carry clothing choices too far often find themselves being injured when dressing.
- one man I know who was trying to slip into a pair of narrow slacks, lost his balance, fell and broke his wrist.
- another man who bought a pair of shoes a size to large to save some money, tripped, fell, hit his head and died!
People with Arthritis or back problems can seriously injure themselves if they try to wear the wrong types of clothing.
Fortunately, most people realize their limitations and dress accordingly, which is why you see many of them walking around in “Grandma and Grandpa” clothes!
Living in Two Story Houses
People who are used to living in two story houses often sell them and move into condominiums, villas, apartments or mobile homes.
This is because many realize that taking care of them is becoming too difficult and also that the stairs are making navigating increasingly difficult.
Picture an older person with health problems trying to carry laundry back and forth or someone who just had a surgery trying to climb up those stairs.
The truth is that people who refuse to leave these types of homes don’t do well in their older years. For example, my husband and I advised an elderly neighbor who was slowly going blind that living in his two story home would create problems for him, but he ignored our warnings.
One day he was coming downstairs, did not see the bottom step, fell, hit his head, had a seizure and had to be rushed to the hospital. He was never right again.
The bottom line is that stairs and senior citizens are a dangerous combination.
Thinking people realize this and sell out before trouble strikes, and they are wise to do so.
Driving at Night
Senior citizens generally find that driving after dark is a dangerous thing for them to do, so they stop doing it!
Most accept that their medications, reaction times and health problems can cause them to have accidents, but these are less likely to happen during daytime hours, especially if they make it a point to drive at low traffic times, such as during mid morning or afternoon hours.
At some point the elderly among us that housecleaning is a thankless job. It takes time, effort, a good deal of energy and most dislike doing it. Furthermore, it’s something they have to continue to do because they no sooner finish, than have to start all over again!
Health problems also play a role here because they can make housecleaning extremely difficult to do.
For this reason, old people either don’t stop cleaning do a lackluster job of cleaning or hire someone to do this task for them.
They know from experience that if they do try to clean their homes themselves, it is likely that they’ll get hurt.
For many, doing this job is just not worth the risks. So they get help where they can and simply make do.
Using ladders for certain jobs is a young man’s task because most seniors lack the dexterity and sense of balance to keep from injuring themselves if they try to climb up on one.
A friend thought he was OK to do this, fell off and broke the heel of his left foot! That was his last foray into the big world of ladder climbing!
Falls are one of the biggest killers of the elderly, so any time an older person steps up on a stool, chair or ladder, he is inviting disaster.
Playing High-Impact Sports
There are some people of a certain age out there who still are able to hit a tennis ball or play baseball without hurting themselves, but they are few and far between.
Don’t fool yourselves. Those ads you see that show smiling older people who are jogging on beautiful paths or galloping across green fields are nothing more than hype.
Arthritis and other illnesses ruin any chances that most people will be able to continue playing heavy duty sports. None of them want to go ice skating when their feet have bunions, ingrown toenails or a good case of Plantar Fasciitis. The pain is simply not worth the gain!
A friend of mine decided that pickle ball would be a safe sport to try. Before long his knees started killing him. Following that, he discovered that he had torn his rotator cuff and needed surgery.
This is just one example of why the elderly no longer play sports!
Aging Limits What People Can Do
The inability to do certain things sneaks up on people, and it arrives in stages and at different ages.
Those in their 50’s start to notice mild declines. By the time they reach their mid sixties, most have already experienced one or more serious health conditions. At 70 they become somewhat forgetful and start having problems taking care of their personal affairs. By the time they’re in their early eighties, many already find themselves struggling to maintain or already living in nursing homes.
Individuals who understand while they’re still in their fifties that they will start declining should take steps to protect themselves so that they don’t run into problems later.
For example, they should
- think about moving to a smaller home or condo that they will be able to manage more easily,
- start downsizing,
- replace carpeting with laminate flooring, which is much easier to maintain,
- replace draperies with vertical blinds,
- make their homes senior friendly by adding grab bars in bathrooms and widening doorways wherever possible,
- see their health care professionals regularly,
- learn how to prepare simpler meals and
- find out what resources will be available to help them as they age.
Innovative Ideas That Will Make Life Easier As We Age discusses several resources people may be able to use as they grow older that will help them to do so in safer and easier ways.
My husband and I are in our mid 70’s. Having done many of the things on this list early on, we can tell you that the quality of our lives is much better than those of many people our age as a result.
If you are an older person, do you see any of your issues in this article?
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Sondra Rochelle