By Tom Mathei
Indy 500 drivers will tell you, when they see an accident happening in front of them at close to 200 mph, they steer right for it. The theory is that when traveling at that speed if you steer right for it, it won’t be there when you get there. Too bad for us seniors all the bad things that can happen to us as we age can’t be avoided with similar plan. Can you imagine what that would be like? “Please bring me the extra large pizza, with extra cheese, extra sausage and extra pepperoni. I would also like some garlic cheese bread with all the garlic butter it’ll handle. I’m looking right at a heart attack coming up real soon. But don’t worry; I’ve got a plan to avoid it. Pass the salt, would you?”
Life and aging are different for sure. We’ve all experienced hardship in our lives. We’ve all attended funerals of beloved family and friends. We’ve all laughed at the memories generated over a lifetime. However, once we achieve the honored title of Senior Citizen, our minds sometimes do wander inside our own paradigms. We don’t recover from activity as quickly. We definitely notice a different looking face in the mirror each morning. We head for the kitchen table with our calculators trying to figure out if we can make it to the end of life without a change of life. For a senior there is a lot out there to worry about, and more time to worry.
Pointing out the Top Five Senior Problems is the first step in developing the needed perspective to assist seniors in staying happy and healthy. After defining the problems one through five, in future blogs I will work through and discuss each one individually. The Top Five Problems for Seniors list is not the result of a scientific poll. I have only personal experience in taking care of two sets of parents, and hanging out with a lot of old folks, just like me. To know The Top Five is to avoid them, or at least understand the senior perspective. Here they are:
1.Falling down. The damage suffered both physically and mentally is a huge problem for aging seniors. Loss of muscle mass and bone density makes injuries from falling the number one game changer for seniors. Once you’re down, you have to decide to get back up. That decision can only be made by the senior. Everyone has a different tolerance for pain and a different mentality towards pain in general. Depression becomes the co-enemy of the senior, sapping the will and weakening the body. Leading to any number of unpleasant outcomes.
2. Forgetting Medication. Stairs sometimes take more of an effort to climb for seniors. So getting upstairs and forgetting why you are upstairs is maddening, frustrating and all too common. So is forgetting to take your medication. However, not taking your medication can have serious negative, if not fatal, repercussions.
3. Loss of Mobility. Losing your driving privileges due to old age is like a kick in the head. Some of us realize our limitations and voluntarily and wisely surrender the right to drive. However, once you do, you become a permanent pedestrian and/or passenger. Using public transportation can be difficult for seniors. Begging for rides can be demeaning and not always dependable. Loss of mobility can unfortunately mean loss of freedom.
4. Staying Independent. Don’t tell anybody, but… Seniors hate going to live with their kids, more than kids like moving back home. Living independently, even with a little In-home care, is everything to seniors. Assisted living is something to be afraid of, especially if you’re the one moving in. Somehow to me, residing in an assisted living facility is still living in an institution. Trying to figure out staff to patient percentages, and the level of care your senior can expect, is only the beginning of gathering enough information to make a sound decision when the time comes.
5. Financial viability. I’ve heard it said that timing is everything in life and comedy. Well, if you are a senior today, your timing on life is terrible. Just when you are ready to slide into a comfortable retirement the market crashes and slashes your nest egg almost in half. Then the real estate equity you were depending on is much less. Prices rise. Financial decisions must now take on more planning and praying.
Priming the mind with things to think about is what I want to do. The benefits, whether you agree or disagree with my point of view, flow towards you rather than away. Watch for future blogs discussing each