Do you remember the days when as young people we would think in terms of “an old man of 60”? Well, now that I am sixteen years past that age I naturally think differently. I think I prefer the word mature rather than old or elderly. It is said that seniors always consider elderly to be ten years beyond their present age – a good concept!
Rita and I recently moved into a Retirement Community to help relieve some of the pressures of living with my wife’s Parkinsons. I know it has only been two weeks since we arrived but so far we are not disappointed. The big lesson I have learned already is that seniors cannot be categorized into one big group and labeled as being past their shelf-life!
Probably the biggest disservice rendered to seniors is the equating of physical incapacity with mental abilities. It is so easy to link the two. The agility of the mind is unrelated to the mobility of the body. The conception of the elderly in the minds of many is that they have run their course, are now worn out and should be treated accordingly. They need rest and care. They need to be allowed to sleep at will or potter around passing the time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Care, yes, but activity is the name of the game!
The elderly are people too and they love to walk and to read. They love to discuss and debate. They love to be active and get the most out of life. It is true that some lack in physical capabilities but what is lost there is often made up in mental abilities. Never equate the two. The elderly are not a bunch of physically decrepit psychological misfits! They are people who love life, who socialize, who enjoy a joke and know what they like and dislike.
There may be some forgetfulness in the mix but I know people in their forties who cannot remember names and faces or telephone numbers. Yet there are seniors who can remember names and faces and telephone numbers. It is not simply an age thing. So you younger folk, don’t write us seniors off as though we are finished. We are not done with life until the casket is closed. It is true that we may not be able to run the 100 yard dash as fast as you but challenge us to scrabble and that may be a different story!!