You can’t help getting older,
But you don’t have to get Old.
George Burns, the American actor rightly commented about aging and feeling old when he said this, “Though the ladies often get blamed for it, getting old does give everybody the creeps. After all, who would like to be a grumpy, forgetful, slow oldie?” But this isn’t always true. If you have parents who are on the threshold of becoming senior citizens, here is a look at the top 3 misconceptions about aging :
Myth 1: You get slower in the head:
It is true that aging makes you prone to diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, but aging does not mean that a reduced mental capacity is inevitable or normal. There are certain conditions like hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiency, clinical depression, electrolyte imbalance or side-effects of medicines which may be responsible for deteriorated functioning of the brain.
What you can do: If your parent is getting confused or forgetting things, do visit your doctor to identify the cause – it may very well be something treatable. Encourage your parents to keep themselves socially and mentally active by challenging their brains with crosswords, puzzles, reading or even taking up a new hobby.
Myth 2: Your doctor has to become your new best friend:
Getting old does not always mean poor health and constant visits to the doctor. A study on Swedish twins showed that only 30% of aging can be blamed on one’s genes. Curious to know who the real culprit is? Environment and Lifestyle. Another study by the Macarthur foundation showed that nearly 90% of people between 65 and 74 had no disability at all.
What you can do: Encourage your parents to maintain a healthy lifestyle, give up smoking, maintain a healthy weight, take precautions to prevent falls and eat well to ensure that they remain fit.
Myth 3: You have no option but to put your feet up and rest:
Just like any other age group, exercise can work wonders for your parents’ health. A study by Dr Lester Breslow showed that regular exercise was among the seven habits that helped one live longer (the others were never having smoked, consuming moderate or no alcohol, having a breakfast daily, avoiding snacking, getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night and maintaining ideal weight).
What you can do: Encourage your parents to continue some form of exercise (keeping in mind any pre-existing heart or joint conditions). This will help maintain their immunity, muscle tone and vigor.
Aging does not mean that your parents have to hang up their boots, throw away their happiness and drag their bodies through poor health. A lot of senior citizens today are working as consultants, discovering new interests and enjoying life to the hilt in their golden years.
As for the little health problems that keep popping up, Homoeopathy is always around to gently support your parents’ health, without causing any side-effects. Your parents can maintain a socially, mentally and emotionally active life. All they may need is a little support and encouragement from you. As Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”.