Shades of old age

“Nothing makes one old so quickly as the ever-present thought that one is growing older” Georg Christoph Liechtenberg

Old age is referred to as the autumn of life, second youth, or the golden years. This is the final stage of life and is inevitable. It is a time that everyone experiences in a different way. There are many shades of aging which you will hear from people’s life stories. 

Growing old is a constant process that takes place from one’s birth. Its course depends on genetic factors, living conditions, and lifestyle. 

Stages of growing old

The World Health Organization divides the process into 3 stages:

Consecutive stages involve progressing physiological and mental senility:

How do we perceive the elderly?

The way we perceive the elderly depends on many factors. The youthful, the middle aged, and the elderly perceive old age in different ways. The boundaries of old age are approximate and flexible. It’s common that people who are more than 60 years old feel young and wouldn’t identify themselves as old.

Who is considered old, irrespective of age? A person who has ceased to be active and has lost his or her vitality. The symptoms of growing old are obvious in such a person. 

There are many stereotypes about old age that influence the way we perceive elderly people. We owe a kind, respectful approach to the old.  

The colors of old age

Growing old has its benefits. It is a time when people can experience a “second youth”. See what the benefits of the golden years are:

The splendor of old age

Free time increases with the end of a professional career. One can devote it to realize forgotten passions, rest, or travel. 

Grandchildren are born. You can use your free time and life experience to help raise them.

Volunteer work can be a good use of your abilities and time for others’ benefit. 

Universities offer different programs for older people. If you didn’t have time to study until now, retirement offers such opportunities. You can also take part in many activity programs for people who are 50+, 60+ years old.

Some people when asked what they fear the most would answer “growing old”. What makes some people think this way about aging?

Drawbacks of growing old

For some people, growing old is associated with many ailments like urinary incontinence, memory impairment, osteoporosis, rheumatism, obesity, or dementia. 

Impairment of one’s physical fitness. This leads to becoming more dependent on others and brings growing frustration over lack of independence. 

Many older people think they are useless or feel rejected by society. Often, loneliness can accompany these feelings as one’s partner or friends who are the same age pass away and children live their own lives.

How to help aging loved ones?

When we first encounter old age in our family members, we don’t always know what to see or how to treat them. It’s difficult to figure out how to help without hurting that person’s feelings.

A few helpful tips

Do not impose your help – an older person is not a child. They have the right to make decisions about their life including whether to accept or reject your help.

The elderly need a purpose in life – an activity that will fill their free time, engage their minds, and give them something to do. What is best for a person depends on their health, physical condition, and needs. 

The elderly deserve respect and consideration. Help them keep their dignity. It is difficult to have to resign one’s independence and rely on a caregiver. 

Suggest your loved one try exercising to the best of their ability – a fitness routine will help improve their mood and keep them healthy.

If your loved one is ill, provide proper medical care and ensure their comfort. 

If your loved one requires care you can’t provide, get help from professional caregivers or voluntary workers. 

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