Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#Old Age Blues--How to Cure Them

When Yaksha asked Yudhishtra what was the biggest wonder of the world,the latter replied "We all see a number of people dying every day,yet we believe that we shall not die."

Certainly this is a big wonder.Though thousands of years old,this exchange is very true even today.Why do we bury our heads in sand and refuse to consider this possibility?In fact we do not even like to think about old age because it is a harbinger of death.This precludes us from reorganizing our lifestyles in order to live through our old age with minimum stress and maximum comfort.

Maintaining ties with those who love us and making provisions for old age,I think, most of us do.But very few are mentally prepared for the numerous problems which old age brings in it's wake.When life is at it's high tide we do not for a moment,consider that it will dip one day;and when it does,we have problems adjusting.Very few can face this turning point with equanimity.

A raving beauty can no longer ignore her wrinkles,a CEO retires and does not know how to kill time,a robust man is beset with diabetes or cardiac problems,a mother looks at her empty nest through bleary eyes,friends and contemporaries pass away one by one,and worst of all--a couple is suddenly reduced to one lonely individual.

Along with advancing age come,aches and pains,infirmities,poor memory and other age related diseases.One does not know when and where all this will end.No doubt it is not easy to keep cool in the face of so many debilitating changes but since these changes are not reversible a way has to be found to adjust according to them.

The first thing to do is to accept that these changes are here to stay,that you are no longer the person you were at age fifty.Once you have accepted this truth there will be less turbulence in your emotions.Acceptance facilitates adaptation and adaptation gives peace.

When you find yourself on the wrong side of seventy (or sixty?) restructure your daily schedule keeping your needs and limitations in view.The first requirement is to maintain your health and stamina with exercise,rest and good food.Take the medicines which are necessary but avoid going overboard because medicines will not make you younger and they can have ill effects too.The same goes for medical checkups.

Old age gives rise to many infirmities.If your legs are wobbly,you are afraid of falling down,walk with a friend or take a stick in your hand.Adjust your morning regime according to your changed sleeping habits.

Eating habits also need to be altered in tandem with what is prohibited for you and what does not suit your digestive system.

If time hangs heavily on your hands try to find a new occupation for yourself.Join an activity group which tallies with your interests.It could be anything from yoga,meditation,spiritual meetings,social work,residents'welfare associations,cards or a morning walkers group.

It feels good to connect with others.You feel a part of the world around you and not an isolated person left alone to die.Studies show that working and interacting with others stimulates the mind and improves cognitive abilities.It also keeps loneliness at bay.

Keep in touch with your friend circle even if you have to force yourself to go out and visit a friend or simply pick up a phone.You can discuss common problems,exchange health tips and even share your fears and worries.Pleasantries exchanged once,lay ground for pleasant recollections later on.

Whether you live alone or in an old age home or with your children,it is best to keep up the amount of activity you are capable of.If you live with your children they will be grateful if you can do small errands like picking up groceries from the market,helping your grandchildren with their studies or supervising the servants while they go about their work.

The so called golden years are not really golden for many.Health problems,loneliness,poverty,inability to move about,or callous family members;all these factors are enough to cause pain and frustration. Dissatisfaction with such a life and worries about the future tend to result in excessive rumination and it is easy to sink into depression or anxiety.Do not hesitate to seek professional help if the problem continues to disturb your daily life continuously for more than two weeks.

Old age can cause many emotional problems.Self esteem is the worst casualty.The body becomes weak and unattractive,cognition becomes slow and accolades too peter down.Under the circumstances you need your own support more than ever.

Whenever you are faced with a difficult task which makes you feel inadequate,think of the challenges you have met and the problems you have solved.These are days for mellowing down,but underneath you are the same vibrant person who has many achievements to his credit.

Do not compare yourself with those you see gadding about managing their affairs.You were equally active and efficient at their age.Such comparisons are not fair.The very fact that you are at this moment,reading this post ,means that you are literate and also computer-savvy.And you can still read.Make the most of the abilities you have.Do not underestimate yourself.

Old age should not mean the cessation of all initiatives and responsibilities.Show love and affection to your family members,ask after their welfare and extend whatever help you are capable of giving.Do not presume that all the giving and caring has to come from their side only,be proactive.This will not only keep you healthy and happy;but also well connected and appreciated.

Those who do not have anyone close whom they can tap for help can contact Helpageindia.It is doing excellent work.


Image courtesy google.

40 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing.. :)
    Please do visit my page https://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=493719

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  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing the Helpage India details... Cheers Induji :-)

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    1. Thank you Archna,i m glad you found it useful.

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  3. This kind of post is essential required. Thanks Indu.

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    1. Ranjana you are most welcome,thanks for reading.

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  4. AND having an avocation - relatively sedentary one - helps. Like blogging for me :)

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    1. Yes,it certainly does.

      Do you know Suresh i looked up google to see if my post about old age was there;and i found yours too--about middle age :)

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  5. make as many virtual friends as you can because they are the ones who are really " like Minded " and they are the ones whose company one really enjoys and of course make the computer your best friend it helps in killing time

    lots of love Indu ji
    and please read my Buddy Parenting ---khushioy ke pal ----its another one about enjoying old age

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    1. Thanks for your addition Rajni.
      It is on my mind...been short of time lately--dental torture chamber :(
      Love n hugs.

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    2. get well soon Indu ji ---my good wishes ----I know about this torture chamber

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  6. Very thoughtful post! thanks for writing it.

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  7. Great pointers Indu! Every elder needs to bookmark this one.

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    1. Thanks a bunch Zephyr-i am living it ,you know.
      Love n hugs.

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  8. Wonderful post - reminds me of my grandfather, of a life where elders become an inspiration to the young.

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    1. I am glad it kindled this memory in you :)

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  9. Thank you for the timely reminder. What you say rings so true. I am so busy living now that I hardly think of growing old. But I did make a few adjustments to my life and got more active.

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    1. Mridula you are an inspiration for anyone wanting to be active.

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  10. Profound message.

    Cheers,

    Sriram & Krithiga

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    1. Hi Sri Kri,welcome to jeeteraho.
      Thanks for the compliment.

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  11. Yes, Indu, all valid points.

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  12. problem that people face with old age is mainly due to relations,daughter-in-laws and grown up sons not treating them like in past or not getting the same importance. with growing old age homes across india,its a bad trend in human relationships.old age homes in metros are very very expensive for the services they provide,since they have demand,they are cashing on it.so one should definitely plan for their old age coz its not predictable.worst thing i have seen in my country is a 70 yr old woman who can barely walk begging at traffic signal in hot summer without chappals. india and its people must be ashamed of these sights for having rogue governments and rogue people for electing such representatives. i dunno how honest is helpageindia,coz we see people running business in the name of NGO'S and making their living without working hard.

    i dunno how yudhistra felt people believing in immortality as wonder though death is certain to everyone.it means unintelligence or lack of wisdom as wonder.wise believe that death is ultimate peace or bliss.

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    1. Rohan all you say is very true.It is a shame that people like that woman have to live this way.
      I don't know about the private OAHs but the govt. run are in abysmal condition.One NGO i associated with for some time had the same deloraeble services,i left in disgust.
      Have a nice week.

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  13. Practical advise on a topic that nobody wants to talk about.

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  14. The hard realities of life dealt with all the sane advice, Induji! Very well described and let everyone understand that sunset is the golden time in life:)

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    1. Thank you Rahul,it pays to be well prepared.

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  15. It is good to be prepared. Thanks for these info.

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  16. Be prepared, it's not with old age, but goes with the circle of life. What I was in y 20s, I am not so in my 30s. One must act according to age, in all ways possible. And those are some good tips suggested by you, I will keep those in mind.

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    1. Yes Saru,one ought to be rational in one's expectations.

      Have a nice weekend :)

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  17. Indu, thanks for your visit and kind words, so I could come here and enjoy, appreciate your thoughts.
    Talk about old age, I am in charge of four seniors who ate beyond 80 and no amount of preparation is good enough to go through this phase of their lives. The reasoning and wisdom for some reason decreases and it feels like they are waiting for the day to leave the earth with nothing to accomplish further. Lucky few do exist in their eighties that lead a meaningful life. I am not sure if that is called karma or luck!

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    1. It is true,cognition,memory and sharpness does decrease with age.Research tell us that attempting new things keeps the brain healthy but the motivation or energy is lacking in most.It is very sad.
      However loving family makes some difference.You are doing a fine job Padmaja.

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  18. You have rightly pointed out that one has to figure out ways to beat the old age blues. These hold good for everybody at every stage of life. One has to accept the changes and adapt accordingly. Helpage India has been doing a good job since many years.

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    1. Acceptance and adaptation--you are bang on Somali.

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  19. The problem is people panic and over-react most of the times. It's all about acceptance. We need to accept the transition and the changes. Since we've been used to some routine all through our lives, not having one would leave us confused/annoyed/irritated as well. So as you said, it is always better to keep ourselves occupied (group activity or any activity), while taking care of our health and stamina.

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    1. Ashwini you have a point there--routines can be boring but also reassuring.

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