Just as in your 40’s and 50’s, where you see different people in different states of health, the same goes for those in their 70’s, 80’s and upwards. Some of us are still in good health, living much the same as we always did. Others are not doing so well, have multiple diseases and have been forced to live a different lifestyle. With all of the advice out there for seniors, which of it fits us?
For example, Mary, recently retired, started volunteering at a hospital. She knew that staying in touch and staying social was good for her as she aged. As the weeks went by, Mary became jittery and anxious and didn’t look forward to her time spent helping at her local hospital. She made an appointment with her family physician, worried that there was something seriously wrong with her.
Mary’s doctor asked her if anything in her life had changed recently. Mary said that she had started volunteering, that she knew having an active social life was an important part of being healthy. The doctor explained that if she was used to leading a fairly quiet life and had never liked group activities, that volunteering in a hospital may not be for her.
How can you be social and healthy when you tend to be an introvert? Mary’s doctor advised that she join some online groups or possibly volunteer for a helpline where she could work from her home on the telephone. That way she could still be involved, help others and help herself. For Mary, it was the perfect solution.
In what other ways does the one size fits all approach not work as you age?
- Many doctors tend to prescribe the same medications, at the same dose, to most patients. As we age, we need to be careful of how medications interact with one another and past the age of seventy should be on as few medications as possible.
- Many seniors do not fall into the groups we think of the most – wealthy or poor. A lot of seniors fall somewhere in the middle and because of that are not the big spenders that some companies would like us to think seniors should be. Don’t get pushed into thinking that since some of your friends with a larger income are buying this or that, that you should be doing the same. On the other end of the spectrum seniors are not all wishing to move in with their children because they can’t afford to live alone. Many are living alone for the first time in their lives and loving it!
- Seniors are not all frail and focused on the past. Many seniors are robust, interesting and still trying out new things. They write books, perform in symphonies, run marathons and a long list of other things. Yes, some are not doing so well as their counterparts but seniors are as varied as anyone else.
- Not all seniors view themselves as old. Though there are some who put forth the image of being unable to do things and worn out, other seniors feel the same as they did decades before and are always surprised when they remember their age marks them as “old people”.
- Seniors are ruining the health care system. This is far from true as the majority of those visiting the emergency departments are under 65. Many seniors are in very good health and have more time as they age to ensure they stay that way!
Remember, you are as unique as you ever were. Don’t let others tell you that because you’re a certain age, you have to do things a certain way, behave in a specific manner or give up on everything that’s fun. You owe it to yourself to enjoy your years as a senior, be as different as you’d like to be and live your life to its fullest!