How do you accept change as you age?

Posted by Scott, Volunteer Mentor @IndianaScott, Wed, Apr 8 1:40pm

Aging and accepting our changes is never easy!

One of my favorite sayings is ‘it’s a good thing our children grow older, but parents don’t!’ Often I wish this was true and while it’s a positive message, not our reality.

Like it or not, time and life take their toll on us and we change. However accepting these changes can be a challenge in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Both physically and emotionally I might add.

I remember well after caring for my wife for the first seven years of her war with brain cancer my dad passed away and I was able to get to his memorial service. I was very excited to see our two grandsons and decided being ‘as young as you feel’, and wanting to make up for lost time entered into a rousing game of Freeze Tag in the hotel’s front yard. All went well until I made too fast a deke and found myself flying across far more sod than I should have been! Result? Four broken ribs, a painfully long recovery, and a reminder I’m not as agile as I once was!

I also realize that the realistic view of our age is not relegated to ourselves alone. I’ve spoken with our adult children about this and they have said they don’t really see me as aging, but just as ‘Dad’, who they want to do all the same things with they have done in the past. On the other hand, our grandsons see me as ‘grandpa’ and are comfortable ‘just having me around’ especially if there happens to be a Dairy Queen nearby!

So it is I‘ve begun to think more about the importance of accepting the changes and limitations imposed on us as we advance in age. While I’m not cashing in any chips I don’t need to, I have found I do avoid a few challenges I used to gladly accept. For instance last summer I went whitewater rafting on some Class V rapids. After almost drowning, I have forgone any return trips to rivers with this class of rapids. I swim well, just not as far and as long as I used to be able to while fully clothed and in heavy gear.

While I miss those rapids and full contact Freeze Tag, I know why my grandmother often told me ‘discretion is the better part of valor’.

As you age, are you practicing discretion, even when you wish you didn’t have to? Is it hard like it is for me?

@IndianaScott, Great post with lots more room to grow. There are a number of dos and don’t. My don’ts are hiking…..Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Alps, jumping on the bed…..aka, bed parties, In line skating, bike riding, horseback riding to name a few. Do I miss them? You bet! What can possibly take the place of those kinds of youth oriented activities. I am learning and wish everyone a wholesome and active life.

Be safe, be protected.
Chris

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@IndianaScott The first response to the question about accepting change as I get older is, "not very well." I cannot keep the super long days that I used to anymore because it is too much of a drain on my system. Likewise there are now dietary and activity changes that I never gave thought to 20 or even 15 years ago! About 10 years ago, I happened to see myself in a mirror, and it was a combination of the light and time of day, all I could think of was wow do I look old! All the experience lines AKA wrinkles, gray hairs, marks and scars are signs to me of a life fully lived. There are things on my bucket list that I know I will never accomplish, like climbing Mt. Whitney. But I can look look at it from afar, and marvel in the beauty of it. It's a matter of perspective, and a matter of tweaking that perspective to meet what I can still do.
Ginger

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My reply is, "If you don't use it you lose it." I am 79 and I find that I still can do many things and could probably do more if I hadn't stopped doing others. Just a few years ago I was riding bikes all over the place, hiking (small) mountains, kayaking and taking 4 mile walks almost every day. Then, I has knee problems (they said it was bone on bone) but I didn't want an operation (I had heard so many who it didn't help). I stopped most of my activities and just sat around, getting more and more lame (and gaining weight). Then I decided to go to the YMCA (many advantage Medicare plans cover the cost). I found I could use an elliptical machine without any pain and feel it really helped my knee so I was going three days a week and playing ping pong after (total exercise a little over an hour). I plan to go back as soon as they are open again. As long as you keep moving you won't lose everything. Some members of an activities club I belong to are in their 80s and 90s and still bike, hike and kayak. They have been active all their lives and never stopped moving.

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I totally agree with you. Use it or lose it! Two years ago, I retired to the mountains of North Carolina. It was not what I had planned. I had wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, but ran into knee problems. The isolation of living by myself in the Mountains got to me! I made no new friends there. Then my mind drifted to an old pipe dream. A year ago I moved here to Leipzig Germany. Flat as a pancake but, with miles and miles of walking trails, and green space. When I first arrived my knee was so bad, I could only hobble. My third floor walk up, did not help. But I kept with it. I walked every day, pain be damned! Slowly my pain subsided. I now easily walk four miles a day. My Cholesterol levels have gone back to normal! My Blood Pressure is well within the normal range. I have new friends who I socialize with ( well, not right now ) I am still taking my walks however, with only my furry best friend. He like me, has managed quite well, with the long walks. Yes, as we age we are not what we were thirty or forty years earlier. However I belive as you do. That if you persevere, and do as much as you can, your life will be a lot more productive. Oh yes, my age. I will turn 72 in another month. The knee has not bothered me for months, and I am able to walk up the stairs if I choose, to my ninth floor apartment!

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Good point, @kenny48 and @nene22 Use it or lose it is awesome! I know after I lost my wife I didn't get as much physical exercise as I had been while caregiving. Then one day that changed, not by design but by chance.

While visiting one of our nieces she suggested I should get another dog since I'd had dogs all my life, but we had to forego them when my wife's disease got too serious. That niece found a website and suggested I register for a rescue. I did and figured it would be a long time before I was called, if I was called at all.

As luck, fate, or whatever would have it I got a call to 'just look at a puppy' they had no home for. That day happened to be our anniversary and I took the call on the steps of the church we were married in so many years ago, which I had decided to visit. I told myself, over and over, on the 1 1/2 hour drive there that I was only going to LOOK at the pup. HAHAHAHA! That little gal nailed me on first sight and came home with me immediately in spite of my not having any gear for her!

Now I'm back to being much more active, have a solid partner (who I admit still needs more training), and I'm walking at least 4 miles a day with her! Plus she keeps me going rain, shine, snow, sleet, etc. I have to say as leery as I was at first it was totally the right move for me and the side benefit of the increased exercise and regimen in my days is a huge bonus!

I hadn't thought about it, but I have a bad knee, which the doctors told me is ready for replacement as the old surgeries have simply 'worn out'. Now with my walking I have less pain and while still a bit problematic, is far less so than before!

What do you find as your most enjoyable exercise? I need some ideas to branch out now thanks to you!

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Geez what a bunch of dare devils !!! White water rafting, extreme hiking, etc. Mine was a roller blade moment that ended with a hairline crack below one knee; and a DR. saying “ maybe you need to let this one go, huh?” Ok doc. Bike riding and walking replaced running Gym workout replaced martial art training. And I definitely reassessed my life after colon cancer. The saying “with age comes wisdom” probably showed I was a slow learner🤣🤣 But there are cool things: those senior discounts and being childlike with your grandkids or children in general and not caring about how it looks. Being the best you can be, but realizing that there are certain aspects of your life that are out of your control and that’s ok. Being grateful when you meet someone with challenges you “can’t even wrap your head around” ;and, yet he/she warriors on and you view them with admiration. So, yeah, wrinkles suck, (that’s my vanity speaking) but I’ll take it and enjoy the day.

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Hi All:

I've been reading all of your posts about exercising. However, I feel a bit like a wimp after reading your testimonials. I have heard about (and seen) older folks walking with Nordic walking poles? I'm tempted to try it as it represents a whole body work-out (especially the upper body). Here is a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/walking-poles/faq-20057943

Just wondering if anyone has tried this before and how it works for you.

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I see people using the poles a lot, usually at the lake in my town. I think it’s a great way to be outside and get some fresh air and get a good workout with the stability from the piles! Go for it……..

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@IndianaScott

Good point, @kenny48 and @nene22 Use it or lose it is awesome! I know after I lost my wife I didn't get as much physical exercise as I had been while caregiving. Then one day that changed, not by design but by chance.

While visiting one of our nieces she suggested I should get another dog since I'd had dogs all my life, but we had to forego them when my wife's disease got too serious. That niece found a website and suggested I register for a rescue. I did and figured it would be a long time before I was called, if I was called at all.

As luck, fate, or whatever would have it I got a call to 'just look at a puppy' they had no home for. That day happened to be our anniversary and I took the call on the steps of the church we were married in so many years ago, which I had decided to visit. I told myself, over and over, on the 1 1/2 hour drive there that I was only going to LOOK at the pup. HAHAHAHA! That little gal nailed me on first sight and came home with me immediately in spite of my not having any gear for her!

Now I'm back to being much more active, have a solid partner (who I admit still needs more training), and I'm walking at least 4 miles a day with her! Plus she keeps me going rain, shine, snow, sleet, etc. I have to say as leery as I was at first it was totally the right move for me and the side benefit of the increased exercise and regimen in my days is a huge bonus!

I hadn't thought about it, but I have a bad knee, which the doctors told me is ready for replacement as the old surgeries have simply 'worn out'. Now with my walking I have less pain and while still a bit problematic, is far less so than before!

What do you find as your most enjoyable exercise? I need some ideas to branch out now thanks to you!

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Love your story !!

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@hopeful33250

Hi All:

I've been reading all of your posts about exercising. However, I feel a bit like a wimp after reading your testimonials. I have heard about (and seen) older folks walking with Nordic walking poles? I'm tempted to try it as it represents a whole body work-out (especially the upper body). Here is a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/walking-poles/faq-20057943

Just wondering if anyone has tried this before and how it works for you.

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Hi @hopeful33250 I see quite a few folks, especially in Minnesota, using them. Personally I don't. but we have an elliptical machine, which gives an arm workout too, so I'd think they'd be a solid idea! Maybe then you can take up cross country skiing in the winters!

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@hopeful33250

Hi All:

I've been reading all of your posts about exercising. However, I feel a bit like a wimp after reading your testimonials. I have heard about (and seen) older folks walking with Nordic walking poles? I'm tempted to try it as it represents a whole body work-out (especially the upper body). Here is a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/walking-poles/faq-20057943

Just wondering if anyone has tried this before and how it works for you.

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 I use adjustable trekking poles when I go for a walk. One for balance since I have a bad right knee, two for helping me get a more steady stride, and 3 it is a good deterrent for dogs or critters approaching that I don't want to come closer.

Did I tell you that I use my cane as a personal protection equipment in the stores? I can wave it around if I want to and say, "this is my six feet to stay away from people and stay away from me!"
Ginger

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@barbb

Love your story !!

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Thanks @barbb Here she is today. She's a handful at times, but all in all a solid addition to my life 🙂 Here name is Napa.

2019-05-20-closeup

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Adorable! Beautiful looking coat! Looks like she must have ha shampoo very recently!

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@gingerw

@hopeful33250 I use adjustable trekking poles when I go for a walk. One for balance since I have a bad right knee, two for helping me get a more steady stride, and 3 it is a good deterrent for dogs or critters approaching that I don't want to come closer.

Did I tell you that I use my cane as a personal protection equipment in the stores? I can wave it around if I want to and say, "this is my six feet to stay away from people and stay away from me!"
Ginger

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Hello Ginger, As a part time user of a cane (nighttime and rough terrain ) I love your idea for the new use of a cane in these times!

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@IndianaScott

Hi @hopeful33250 I see quite a few folks, especially in Minnesota, using them. Personally I don't. but we have an elliptical machine, which gives an arm workout too, so I'd think they'd be a solid idea! Maybe then you can take up cross country skiing in the winters!

Jump to this post

Don't think so, @IndianaScott, I really don't like breathing in cold air😞

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