How to cope with problems of old age?

Old woman.

Everyone wants to be able to enjoy living.

It is no different if you are one who is in the later years of life.

Despite perhaps being more restricted in what you can do physically, you certainly want to get the most that you can out of life.

Don't you?

Those who have been better prepared for retirement say that, while they miss certain aspects of their former work, they now enjoy the less hectic pace.

They find mental and physical stimulation in taking walks, enjoying this activity alone or in the company of others.

Then there are those who find much pleasure in having the time to read more.

And if their eyesight is not keen enough, they like to listen to recordings, radio programs, or have others read to them.

And they enjoy good conversations with people of all age groups.

What can help you better cope with problems associated with old age and make your life more enjoyable?

Keeping active

But it is also true that activity is needed.

It is generally recognized that remaining physically and mentally active is important for physical and mental health.

Anyone whose health allows greater activity, but who just sits around constantly, is going to become quite depressed.

Such a person can also become less sound physically.

In this regard, the director of the National Institute on Aging in America, stated:

"Any type of useful activity in which one really feels a sense of accomplishment or of doing something worthwhile can make retirement more meaningful. Just imagine if you literally closed up shop and were not doing anything that gave you any sense of purpose or substance. That can be very devastating.”

A woman in her mid-70’s remarked that she could not comprehend why anyone her age with comparable health and finances should have a problem leading an interesting life.

The key for her was engaging in a variety of activities.

She said of those who were not finding any enjoyment:

"Maybe they just don't have enough varied activities, . . . but I'm having a great time.”

She did concede that when her advancing years began to limit her mobility, then she would have to cut down on some of her activities. But not until then.

A need for people

You may enjoy new hobbies and new activities.

And you may also enjoy having more time to be by yourself.

But there is no substitute for companionship with people.

Solitude thus needs to be balanced with interchange with people.

All of us have a need for people.

No one can truly be happy if totally isolated, no matter how much money that one has.

Isolating oneself because of age, when one is fit enough to do otherwise, can be very damaging to the mind and spirit, and can actually hasten death.

One elderly person advised:

Don't get bugged [bothered] about being lonesome. Just get out.” He meant that one should take the initiative in seeking out people.

Similarly, Dr. Constance Freiss advises:

"Contact with people. That is the most important thing [especially] for old people who live alone. I tell my patients to get out every day and talk to someone—even if it’s only the lady at the checkout counter in the supermarket.”

Similarly, Dr. Butler recommended activities that bring one in contact with people.

He said of the old aged people:

"They can be encouraged to enter into activities in which they help other people. They also can be urged to join social organizations, to become active physically and to develop or sustain friendships. People need to be physically fit, personally fit, which means keeping their minds active, and socially fit—maintaining relationships with others.”

Keeping good relationships

A key to developing and keeping good relationships with others is to have a wholesome, positive outlook toward them.

What can hurt relationships is a person’s not being willing to work at being compatible with others.

Some older persons may, for example, not want to listen to the views of others, wanting only to expound their own.

When others see an older person display a mild disposition, with a willingness to listen, they are more prone to want to talk to the individual.

As one older man said:

"I found that I could get much greater enjoyment out of the company of younger people when I didn't act like I knew it all, or take offense at differing opinions."

Instead, I made sure to ask them their views on things, commending them when they expressed interesting and helpful ideas.

By doing this, I also found that often they took a greater interest in me, and time and again asked my opinion, as well as showing interest in my personal experiences from former years.

Too, some older ones need to fight the impulse to complain when in the company of others.

While you may have more to complain about because of the problems that advancing years bring, a spirit of constant complaint can drive others away.

If we are hostile to others, always complaining and in a perpetually sour mood, others will likely avoid us.

Therefore, it is wise to try to make your life more worthwhile and interesting, despite your old age.

Certainly you should. No one else can help you to do this.

So cultivate a positive attitude and get the most of your life.