Learning To Grow Old

Learning to grow old

We are all going in the same direction; some later, others first, but we all get old. It is this great transformation of the body and mind during which there is a breaking point that can be problematic. We are talking about that moment in which the work routine changes, because you retire or because age limits prevent you from carrying out the activities you were used to.

In some cases these situations become really serious. The elderly begin to feel that they are no longer useful and go through periods of deep depression. Become distant or gruff. He remains alone almost all the time and in the family he begins to be seen as an incomprehensible presence.

Learning to grow old

We grow old as we have lived. People who have led a rewarding life are usually able to accept age changes more naturally. Those who have unresolved conflicts, unsolved frustrations and those who have cultivated conflicting relationships over the years, on the other hand, will face the aging process with greater difficulty.

In the latter cases, the lack of activity turns into a kind of detonator,  since it is not possible to distract these pending elements through work and daily commitments. You can’t even make big changes in your routine, and free time puts life’s dissatisfactions to the fore.

This situation becomes particularly difficult for people who were once very active or who value productivity above all else. For them it is like dying in life; especially if they have never cultivated habits such as reading or hobbies.

Those who surround and love them witness these changes from outside and experience contradictory feelings. There is a sense of guilt attending this sad condition, but at the same time the impotence arises for not being able to help more effectively. We perceive life in its facet of fatality: we grow old and inevitably suffer a progressive decay, imposed by nature. No more changes can be made in this regard.

Even if this is unobjectionable, it must be said that there are some ways for the elderly and those around them to have a better quality of life. Feeling useful and capable is one of the solutions so that the elderly can successfully lead the last phase of their life.

Learn to channel free time

Free time is not the time we have left, but one of the most important dimensions of life. It is during the so-called free time that the greatest opportunities arise to know, recognize and experience oneself as being whole. This is of particular importance during the third age, when free time becomes the norm and is no longer the exception.

What to do in your free time varies from person to person. It mostly depends on the motivations and tastes of each one. If we are talking about a sociable senior, the best thing is to facilitate contact with groups of his own age. These communities are very frequent in the church, for example, and circles or groups of elderly people who come together to read or do physical activity are also very popular.

In the case of an elderly person who is comfortable only in the family or who cannot easily leave home due to physical pain, the best alternative is to motivate him to develop a hobby that he can practice without problems. Gardening, crafts and art, reading, are all great options.

In any case, the important thing is to design a structured routine. Time for some productive activity must be included every day, possibly at the same time each day. 2 or 3 hours a day is enough. Activities ranging from collaborating in the organization of a part of the house or carrying out a housework to carrying out activities that stimulate the subject’s creativity.

With a little effort, you can help make an elder feel still active and useful. This will reflect positively on his state of mind and will bring meaning and quality even to the last phase of life.

Image courtesy of ANGELOUX

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