Old age : Living gracefully

C L Gupta
If all is destined, the senior citizenship will also come with all its accompaniments. All the odds and evens as faced during the spent lifetime before this get renewed as this phase sets in. Therefore, myself, having gone through this phase of life felt the need to share and at the same time highlight the problems faced in now changed phase of life.
Broadly the problems which encounter the Senior Citizens can be categorized and discussed under three main headings.
They are in no way watertight in their nature and certainly overlap with each other and therefore inter related.
Circumstantial issues
The service class people suddenly landing from a busy routine schedule to plenty of time with no schedule may suddenly find it hard to reconcile with the situation immediately. Reply to sudden questions asked by many known and few unknown that how will you spend your time now look very embarrassing for the retiree.
Non sensitizing the pre retirement period for post-retirement plan gives sudden jolts to some people and they come under stress and even get into depression, leading to precipitation of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, insomnia and even the heart diseases.
The sense of deprivation of power, privileges, and the importance brings many problems if one is not prepared and precipitates unpleasant entries in the new phase of life.
These changes do come and come in abundance, when the free telephone, residence, chauffeur driven car and free domestic workers at the Govt cost are lost. Very thoughts of this if taken seriously can affect the health badly.
Professional segments like, practising doctors, teachers, architects, lawyers etc may be affected to lesser extent than others.
Non professionals like business dependent people also get affected when their wards start neglecting them and try to keep them away from the business activity on the pretext of new ideas and progressive investment in business. Advice of the elderly is taken as unnessary, unwanted and irrelevant and that starts pinching the body and soul of the elders.
Your friends and few relations with whom you used to enjoy the happy moments of your life by sharing jokes, exchange of gifts, pleasantries start getting separated from you either by natural events or by feeling of negligence and disrespect by your new generation families.
Your happy moments of laughter, jokes ,and other social events start shrinking. This sense of deprivation also influences and affects your health and life.
Also seen is another blunder the old people do, more so in business class is handing over of everything to their wards believing that they will always be at your beck and call at the time of their needs. They even deprive their better halves by not leaving anything in their wills.
All this makes their lives totally dependent especially financially upon their wards. Then what fate they are met with is known to everybody and needs no less condemnation than when they by force are deposited in some shabby old age home by the so called their own.
Health related disabilities and problems
While you are young and busy you adjust and enjoy your time by serving your family ,your wife ,and children as long as you have the healthy body, you have healthy mind. Minor troubles are taken care of by themselves in your busy schedule. Age related health problems do not spare any individual is also an established fact. This is irrespective of however rich ,powerful and resourceful one may be.
In fact the circumstantial environment as highlighted above can never be separated in the role played by them in contributing to the health maintenance and issues related to it.
All of us have worn and torn our all the systems of the body gradually though not manifestly till we attain the age of senior citizenship.
Diseases like hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis heart diseases, nervous system affecting stability and balance of the body, Insomnia, falling eye sight, urinary system involvement, graying of hair and appearance of wrinkles on the face are proofs that ageing process has set in.
Many of them are treatable but can put the person under stress at this respectful age one has reached with the blessings of the Almighty. All these changes as highlighted above can make you feel depressed ,but should create an awareness that “Life and its style of living has to be changed as, no body else can come to your rescue to bear the problems you have started facing” Nobody on this earth can share your physical sufferings. So there is need to prevent them to large extent by change in the life style as this age sets in.
Useful Tips
A few tips which are helpful are jotted down as below. These are helpful at all the ages in general but more so in ageing period of life.
*Eat less and not like a glutton
*Regulate your activity by uninterrupted physical exercise.
Avoid diet rich in fats and masalas.
*Consume most of your fluids intake during the daytime, avoiding them after evenings.
*Keep salt intake less
It has been seen that many mishaps like slipping in bath room resulting in fractures to hip or any other bone, falling due to unstable body causing head injuries, strokes cardiac or cerebral while straining at stools or at the time of passing urine, striking the head with edges ,projections and with walls of dark and not well lit bathrooms result in serious injuries which sometimes can prove fatal.
*Before you get up from the bed, sit on the side of the bed hanging your legs, take deep long breaths for at least 3- 4 minutes. Do not stand up suddenly .This can cause giddiness and sometimes a fall due to the pooling of blood in your lower limbs and thereafter the postural hypertension.
*Put your nearest light on and do not walk in the darkness.
*Do start walking when you are fully awake
*Your bathroom must be well lit and in no case dark.
*A senior citizen who suffers from any kind of instability on standing or tremors should take the support of the fittings in their bathrooms,or preferably the help of somebody.
* Never keep the bathroom locked from inside.
* Avoid smoking be in the bathroom.
* Especially the ones who are suffering from urinary diseases ,they should essentially avoid going to the bathroom and instead use urinary collection pots for this purpose.
Another aspect which is no less important is change in style of you life by physical activity, like walking, deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and attending the community held prayers at the religious places of your choice. This will always give satisfaction and peace to your mind.
Do not try to give unsolicited suggestions and advice to anybody otherwise you might have to eat a humble pie.
Last of all never bring the fear of death in your thoughts as this is an inevitable certainty and irrefutable truth.
Thank Almighty the creator who has given so much time to live in this world and courage to face the problems.
(The author is former Professor Surgery GMC Jammu)