6 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Older Years
People age at different rates.
Many don't think about the aging process or take the attitude that they are going to stay young as long as they can by doing things such as exercising, eating right and having a variety of surgical procedures that make them look young.
While these may seem to be great ideas, the truth is that people who feel this way are kidding themselves and as a result can do themselves a great deal of physical and emotional harm.
For example, exercising is a good idea, but those who think they can do this activity the same way as when they were in their twenties find that they become plagued with a variety of injuries, some of which lead to serious health problems.
We hear stories on TV all the time of people in their 80's who do miraculous things. They inspire other senior citizens, but many fail to understand that these individuals
- represent a very small minority of the elderly,
- sacrifice a great deal to be able to do those things,
- are able to afford personal trainers, expensive exercise equipment and nutritionists and
- are lucky enough to enjoy better health than most people their age.
The average person simply grows old despite his desire to retain his youth, so it is very important for older people to be realistic.
Doing this makes the aging process much easier to deal with psychologically and also creates safer and healthier living situations.
Aging Makes Life More Difficult
Life is never easy, but as people age it definitely becomes more difficult.
They lose their sense of balance, don't hear and see as well, are slower to respond, lose a good deal of their former energy and develop a variety of health and financial problems.
Their social lives dwindle because they
- no longer have as many people in their lives as in prior years,
- develop communication problems and
- become physically or psychologically uncomfortable when doing many of the things they used to enjoy.
As reality sets in, they also become fearful about what will happen to them as the years go by.
They used to think that nothing would change, but for many just about everything changes. This makes daily living increasingly difficult.
It's a slow process that sneaks up on people until they suddenly realize that they've got big problems.
Below are some of the things smart elderly individuals do to adapt so that they can deal with their issues.
Taking Care of Vehicles
Washing, waxing, cleaning and repairing vehicles become exhausting tasks that force seniors to find other ways of caring for their vehicles.
They find that they must
- take their vehicles to car washes
- hire people to detail them and
- go to repair shops to take care of basic maintenance tasks they used to be able to do themselves.
If doing these things becomes too expensive or difficult, they sell their cars.
When this happens they
- depend on friends and neighbors,
- use car services or
- take advantage of public transportation
to get where they need to go.
Many move into assisted living facilities that provide transportation so they no longer have to worry about getting where they need to go.
Others move in with their children, which is yet another option for them.
Doing these types of things relieves older people of the burdens attached to owning and maintaining vehicles and also helps to keep them safe.
Older people generally find themselves
- cutting back on the foods they eat and prepare,
- spending less time cooking,
- eating out more often and
- entertaining less.
Some people even stop cooking altogether! (I knew one 80 year old woman who actually threw her stove and oven away after her husband died!)
Buying groceries also becomes a problem, especially for those with serious health problems.
In addition, many have dental problems that make eating difficult. A dentist I know recently told me that the average person has lost all of his teeth by the time he reaches the age of 75!
Given these circumstances, it is easy to see how these issues can negatively people's health, finances and social lives.
Fortunately, there are several things people can to that will help them deal with their issues.
- many grocery stores and pharmacies now deliver,
- people can purchase prepared foods and have them mailed or
- they can move into assisted living facilities where meals are provided daily.
Doing these things can go a long way towards helping seniors to eat nutritious foods regularly and avoid many of the issues mentioned above.
Dressing can become difficult and sometimes dangerous.
For these reasons, smart seniors generally opt for clothing that is easy to put on and wear such as:
- slip on tops that have no buttons or zippers,
- pants and shorts that have elastic waist bands and wide legs and
- slip on shoes with low heels that are made of soft materials, have rubber soles good arch support and fit properly.
Wearing safe clothing items helps people to avoid falls and puts less strain on their bodies.
They may not be as attractive as the clothes people wore in their younger years, but they are much more comfortable and help people to avoid accidents.
Where people end up living in their golden years can make a huge difference in their safety and comfort.
Those who plan ahead live in single story dwellings that are located close to doctors, hospitals and shopping.
They make their homes handicapped friendly by doing things such as
- eliminating carpets,
- getting rid of throw rugs,
- making sure all rooms have good lighting and'
- putting grab bars in showers and tubs.
They also avoid stairs like the plague and do whatever they can that will help them to avoid falling, which
is the number one killer of senior citizens!
Driving is a danger for many seniors.
Medications, reaction times and health problems can cause accidents which lead to life changing injuries and even death.
They are willing to voluntarily give up their cars and drivers licenses so that they do not fall prey to these types of issues.
Instead, they use the methods mentioned above to take care of their transportation needs.
Doing this helps to keep them safe and also protects their health.
Housecleaning is a thankless job.
It takes time, effort, and a good deal of energy, but it is a task that must be done.
Health and age can make this job difficult and dangerous so older home owners either have to hire someone to clean their homes,or move into a senior community where cleaning is included in the provided services.
This is not a pleasant choice, but unless people want to move in with their children, it may be the only choice.
Aging Is Sneaky Business
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 senior citizen facilities.
Individuals who are realistic about the aging process while they’re still in their fifties should take steps to protect themselves so that they don’t run into problems later.
Whether they realize it or not, 50 is the age at which people start to view them as senior citizens. It's that year when they are invited to join AARP!
Furthermore, many health problems start to rear their ugly heads when people are in their fifties, so it is during those years that they should consider
- moving to smaller, single story living facilities,
- making their homes senior friendly,
- making their homes safer,
- seeing health care professionals regularly,
- learning how to prepare simpler, healthy meals and
- finding out what resources will be available to help them as they age.
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 who believed that they could beat the aging cycle.
You can't. The best you can do is to prepare for it.
If you are an older person, do you see any of your issues in this article?
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Sondra Rochelle