From Darlene’s Hodgepodge blog
I know that most of you were introduced to Dr. Bill on Ronni Bennett’s blog, Time Goes By. His first video asked elders to sign a letter to Oprah requesting her to have him as a guest on his show. He has just made a new challenge to the elders. He wants us to make a video on aging and explains it in the following video. More videos can be seen on Time Goes By. http://www.timegoesby.com/
I do not have a video camera but I will write about my aging experience. It is my hope that many will accept his challenge because he is a wonderful advocate for elders. Wisdom comes from knowledge and the more the young people understand about aging the more tolerant they will become.
Aging begins with birth but accelerates in the later years. It is an ongoing process.
I was not aware of the aging process because it was so gradual. I think I first gave it some thought when I turned 50. I was eligible for senior discounts at many places and was able to join AARP. I was then considered old. I found this to be hilarious because I did not feel old. I couldn’t run as fast and I became tired a little sooner than I had years ago, but nothing else seemed different.
Looking back on the intervening years I find that each change in my capabilities was so gradual that I easily adjusted to the process as it happened. I can only compare the wearing out of the body to a motor. The parts begin to slow down and not function quite as well as they did when they were new, but they still work. Eventually one part fails and the other parts have to take over the chore. Then another part wears out and the whole motor begins to stall.
From the time I was a small child my passion was travel. To go to a foreign country was the ultimate goal of a lifetime. I was able to fulfill this dream when I was in my early sixties. That’s when the first part of my body failed me. My knee became exceedingly painful during the tour. I still didn’t feel old, however. I was an active person with a bum knee.
I took my last trip to Europe when I was in my mid-seventies. Then it hit – I was not enjoying the trip with the pleasure I had felt on previous trips. There were times when I just wished that I was home in my own bed. I suddenly felt old and realized that I just couldn’t do this anymore. I think the awareness that my body was no longer able to stand the rigors of traveling by myself was dwarfed by the fact that I no longer felt excitement. The former joy of life had dwindled along with the physical deterioration.
The aging process seemed to go a little faster from that point on. I took longer to complete every task and tired very quickly. It has continued to be a slow decline . My eyes are dimming, my bones are porous, and the motor has broken parts now.
I am maintaining my independence as best I can. I now need a cleaning woman to do my floors, but I continue to live alone and take care of myself. I really have few complaints and am just amazed to still be here. I will turn 84 next week and I think I am doing very well.
On the whole I find many wonderful things about being old. I have the freedom to do whatever I choose to do. I am not responsible for anyone except myself. I can be as selfish as I wish without guilt. My days are full of the simple pleasures. I am grateful for the parts that still work. I can read, watch programs that I enjoy, write and call friends, or simply do nothing. The choice is mine and mine alone.
The days fly by and life is good. Yet, I am old and have the fears that accompany being an elder.
If you ask any elder what they fear most you will hear them tell you that losing their independence is their biggest fear. Some refuse to quit driving for that reason and others continue to live alone, even though they are not capable of taking care of themselves. Like me, the specter of a stroke is frightening. The second fear is suffering Alzheimer’s disease or of Dementia. Each time a word is forgotten the loss of one’s mind is hovering on the edge of one’s awareness. I am forgetting words so often now that it becomes an ever present fear.
No elder wants to be a burden, but as our bodies and minds begin to wear out we are forced to think of how we should handle this situation. That’s where Dr. Bill Thomas comes in. He has solutions for dealing with the realities of aging and making these years of freedom happier. No one wants to end up in a nursing home, but the reality is that many of us will. Lets help Dr. Bill eliminate that necessity with his planned retirement communities.