Living peacefully, happily and actively in old age
What is the definition of old age? The World Health Organisation considers age 65 and above as old age. This is the time when the various signs of old age start appearing. Those who are employed retire from their jobs at the age of 60. Suddenly, their hectic life comes to a stop.
While they work, they enjoy many privileges such as higher income in the form of fat salary, power and authority to control people, all of which comes to an end with retirement. All these changes are stressful for seniors, who feel this loss and experience emotional shock. Left with more idle time now, they do not know how to spend time. They get bored easily. They should develop an attitude of being active and keeping good spirits.
This is possible if their mind is not obsessed with negative thoughts of helplessness and declining functions of old age. They should spend time in meeting people and actively exchanging ideas. They should read good books, understanding and exchanging new ideas with others. They should spend at least an hour daily reading as it stimulates the brain and delays deterioration of cognitive functions.
They should not withdraw from outside activities. They should challenge their debilities. For instance, they should walk despite feeling a little pain in the leg. They should see their abilities /strength or what they can do rather than what they cannot do or their debilities. Being preoccupied with debilities leads to low self-esteem and poor self-image.
To reiterate, people who are beyond 60 years can still lead a reasonably peaceful, happy and active life, despite the characteristics of old age. Most old age-related problems occur due to a wrong attitude of looking at ageing negatively. Instead, seniors should accept it wholeheartedly as a natural phenomenon, be confident that they are still left with their potentials and capabilities which they can use to lead happy and active lives.
Seniors should not brood over their social loss of not being able to connect with as many people as they could in their earlier years and consciously adopt change in lifestyle of a relatively quiet life in old age. That is, see old age in a new and wholesome perspective. Thus, they can add life to years rather than deduct years from their lives.
This blog post is by Serene Urbana (Bengaluru) resident Dr A. Sreekumar Menon.