Aging in style or just aging looking like your suppose to, you make the choice!
I am enjoying my adulthood journey and wish I could say the same for many of our aging population. What I am observing as a RN, daughter and friend I must say it is a concern to me…why do people of age want to home in on talking about their illness (s) and making it their main topic of conversation? I can understand when a crisis happens, there is a new diagnosis that is heavy on their mind and that there stages they go through (shock, grieving, angry, bargaining, depression and acceptance) but I am not talking about this. I am talking about the need to focus on the aging process as a loss and a ‘giving up’ instead of looking at it for what it is… a time of a new stage in life from 40 and on some sooner where your process of mind and physical body goes through changes that can offer freedom, curiousity, and enjoyment. Let me give you some examples.
A family member of mine is in the last stage (I know I am not there but almost 55 years of care with geriatrics I have an idea how many live, some healthy with going about each day with a form of a work out or others closed in a box in their own world. There are conditions that slow us down but don’t cripple us and having a condition that isn’t curable many can be kept under control. Though many like my family member give in or give up to the condition because or are set in their ways set to no change not paying attention to what they ate or stop exercise and the amount they eat. By doing this behavior what develops is weight gain and the signs started showing up of further health conditions like obesity, adult diabetes II (occurs 45 and up roughly), cardiac disease that would have never had occurred if the individual balance rest, a form of light exercise and good diet eating. On top of that from the immobility of sitting in the house or wherever you may sit all day gives you also sedentary lifestyle=less tone to the muscles with less muscle and more fat and stiffening of the muscle and joints that increases the risk of pulling a muscle or back which did to my family member, at first. Now over 6 years uses a cane and can barely walk with sciatica damage and the MRI and CatScan recently done only supposedly shows arthritis. Prevent this people just through a routine of balancing rest, exercise program (intense or slight work out = only 15 minutes a day), and good healthy dieting and high probability you will live longer with a better healthy tone body. The KEY to obtaining this is start YOUNG and you will get into this as a routine and it will feel like it’s a regular part of your life with you wanting to do it but if your elderly you can still do it. It maybe harder but go about it with your primrary MD’s approval with reviewing what is ok for a daily 15 minute exercise with proper dieting balancing this with rest. When he have a chance to correct obesity and prevent disease situations grab the opportunity before it is too late and unbearable to exercise, get out of the house, and now you sit in the house with few nearby to come and visit or even want to. Like many other family members and families in the world going through this that ill one limits the places they can go, limits independence (they have to be driven long distances 30 minutes away, have to do there shopping etc…). Where when they had there independence with having conversations with them other than there condition made you more out to look forward to visiting them. It’s just normal. Same example as if having a long term friend or sister you hung with for decades parting and gossiping and eating out and shopping together now moves into adulthood married with children. Than this sister depends on you for babysitting frequently, driving or picking the kids up frequently from school events, gossips about how bad the marriage is for 6 years now. Like anything else negativism all the time seen and heard you don’t want to be around. It is unfortunate but true. You on the other side feel obligated to do so for all the years of good life with that person but life good be better in the end if that family person doesn’t put themselves in that situation but it doesn’t always work that way. So make your life better and don’t but yourself in that situation. I am very much tryng to do so. One way of reaching it is through good diet (treats now and than), good exercise, and balance with good rest; doesn’t always work that way with work but I try to make up for it. My family member by diet alone, could help the situation. One by making good diet decisions and don’t eat after 5pm or 6pm and good healthy food. Don’t have a dinner 9pm at night; or usually big meals after 6pm and make smaller meals.
I was very patient when I learned about the family member changes 6 years ago with no progress just the opposite to even activities of daily living capabilities and than what go me was that member getting use to it and being drawn in to live that way where it’s like a addition now. This can definitely end your life sooner so it is up to you.he had to change his eating habits, monitor his blood sugar, and learn to give himself insulin shots. I understood it would take him time to adjust, so his constant talking and yes, even complaining, was expected. As a friend, it was my job to help that loved individual go through this transition and give the needed support to ease all the changes that the family member would have to go through.
So, here’s his story now. That member is less than 81 years old and has had this condition for several years, continues to make this health issue the topic of conversation to me, family members, and friends even when things are going really well. The fact is, this condition for getting close to 10 years, my family member, has chosen to play the ‘poor me scenario’ at times it appears to come across as. The doctor and myself as a RN almost 30 years has provided excellent information and several resources to help with coping. In only took me 8 years with some family sibling help to have her agree it’s time to move out of the house I grew up in since 1966. No one else lives in that house.
It is taking a toll on my psychic energy. In other words, it sucks the life right out of me and, after visiting, I am tired after 14 hours working and so ready to take a nap.
I see this with other friends going through a similar situation with some family member also. They talk about their arthritic aches and pains plus stiffness in their joints as much as they do about the changes in the weather. These are chronic conditions, meaning they will experience this from time to time, and talking about it obsessively won’t change a thing.
At what point do people decide that the aging process means they need to constantly talk about their health issues? At what point do they stop engaging in healthier topics of conversation? What are the reasons for this shift in how they converse with people and, more importantly, do they even realize how depressing this whole routine is?
Again being a RN around geriatrics I understand. One reason may actually be major depression (also known as clinical depression) , which is a medical illness. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain and can appear in people regardless of age, race or economic status. The illness can appear after a triggering event or for no apparent reason at all or simple normal with being alone by yourself (possible spouse deceased, friends moving if not dying off as age progresses) but when will the stop? At this point I highly doubt it and for me writing with some exercise busy in work and a good love life all help out.
Tune in tomorrow with Part II “To help you detect this early or even possibly stop it, the signs to look for:” regarding those with aging becoming depressed and setting them up to become isolated and in their own bubble or a world.