How do you accept change as you age?

Posted by Scott, Volunteer Mentor @IndianaScott, 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?

@amanda Thanks! I was trying to see how I could copy and paste your name in here but could find now way to do that so had to manually type it in. Is that the way it usually is?

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@starchy

If you do nothing else, please, please check out drmcdougall.com. He isn't the only doctor recommending his way of eating but he has a really good website. The whole foods, plant based diet with no added oils works for everything so it's really simple to manage. No need to have a separate diet for each condition. It's the way we're meant to eat. If we put super expensive rocket fuel in our cars, it won't end well. Same goes for our bodies. That's my rant. Last time I'll mention it.

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Hi, @starchy, Thanks for the reminder to check out drmcdougall.com. I've not completely given up meats or dairy but have moved successfully to a primarily plant based diet with good results. Always good to review what others recommend. One size doesn't fit all and there are no quick fixes or instant cures but slow and steady with what does work can make a real difference.

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@barbb

@amanda Thanks! I was trying to see how I could copy and paste your name in here but could find now way to do that so had to manually type it in. Is that the way it usually is?

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@barbb, I usually copy and paste a person's @username to make sure I get it spelled exactly right. If you start to manually type a member's username, the system will give you options to choose from, but they're not always the right one so you have to be careful. Does that make sense?

Here's more information about @mentions and replies:
– Replies and @mentions: How do I know who is replying to whom? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/about-connect/newsfeed-post/replies-and-mentions-how-do-i-know-who-is-replying-to-whom/

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@lolaemma

I was thrilled to see Mayo Connect putting out that information on dietary needs. And the accompanying warning about fads and fakirs ( Indian word for fabulists). The hair on the back of my neck stands up when I see a TV doctor selling their latest miracle routine. Making money on the vunerable. There is no magic. No quick fix. The secret is a balanced intake. DASH Mediterranean any similar life long plan to a long healthy life Stay the course. Not on off. Consistency. Check with your health provider. Let them set your caloric and nutritional limits. We're not cookies everyone is different.

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My junk folder is full of revelations by "famous doctors" about some food that's killing me or how I should stop exercising immediately. People are so desperate to feel well that they will fall for anything. We have been conditioned to believe that there is a magic "pill" for everything. The idea that we simply have to make the right choices, day after day, meal after meal is kind of foreign to our culture but it is the answer and it's not difficult, as you say. Just stay the course.

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@starchy

My junk folder is full of revelations by "famous doctors" about some food that's killing me or how I should stop exercising immediately. People are so desperate to feel well that they will fall for anything. We have been conditioned to believe that there is a magic "pill" for everything. The idea that we simply have to make the right choices, day after day, meal after meal is kind of foreign to our culture but it is the answer and it's not difficult, as you say. Just stay the course.

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@starchy Yeah you said it much better than I did. Thank you

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@starchy

My junk folder is full of revelations by "famous doctors" about some food that's killing me or how I should stop exercising immediately. People are so desperate to feel well that they will fall for anything. We have been conditioned to believe that there is a magic "pill" for everything. The idea that we simply have to make the right choices, day after day, meal after meal is kind of foreign to our culture but it is the answer and it's not difficult, as you say. Just stay the course.

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@starchy Yes, "We have been conditioned to believe that there is a magic "pill" for everything." That's our instant gratification culture!

My PT & I had this discussion last week. My pain doc asked at our recent (virtual) appointment whether I attribute my improvement to the new med or the PT sessions – I told her honestly, it's 50/50 PT & exercise, maybe 10% the meds. The meds just took the edge off the pain so I could move enough to get started. The PT got me on the right track with correct exercises & proper form, and he has magic fingers when dealing with specific pain issues, but without 2-3 times daily exercises at home & walking, I wouldn't be seeing nearly as much progress.
I repeat the PT + exercise mantra endlessly to the hip replacement group too – they are probably tired of hearing it! I have now rehabbed successfully from 11 ortho surgeries for injuries and/or arthritis damage, and every single one required at least 2 months of at-home daily exercise – my knee took 6 months twice a day & 6 months once a day to get back to full function after an ACL replacement and MCL repair from an bad sports injury – and I was 25 years younger then.

The same is true for diet. I have avoided all the fads – to the point where I was reluctant to go wheat-free about 10 years ago, but listened to my daughters and tried it (I have a wheat allergy, not celiac.) As for the rest of our eating, we eat what I call a "plant rich" diet, but are not vegetarian. Cookies and the like are a very occasional treat – our big indulgence is 2 dark chocolate sea salt caramels after dinner, or a small Dove sorbet bar.

Meat is on our plates about 4 times a week, fish or shellfish once, no meat at all twice. A single chicken serves the 2 of us for 3 meals – first time roasted, then the rest is diced, frozen & served in wild rice salad or stir-fry. Chili made with 2 pounds of meat & 2 pound of beans also makes 4 dinners for 2 – 2 to eat, and 2 for the freezer.

We do most of our shopping at a locally owned produce/meat/bakery shop. On our counter today are tomatoes, cucumber & peppers from the garden, avocado, green beans, peaches and grapes. Any bread is 100% whole grain (not my husband's favorite, but I do the shopping) or gluten-free breads made with a variety of grains as well as veggies.

Our kids have gone through a number of "phases" but now eat much like we do – except both have a much higher tolerance for making a big batch of something and eating it for 4 days in a row than their Dad.
Sue

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Just a quick not to let everyone know how much I appreciate your support during my time of need. The situation is still ongoing but help may have arrived. I am hanging in there, trying to be positive and taking care of myself. Gee, this grandma stuff can be hard sometimes. Blessings

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@sueinmn

@starchy Yes, "We have been conditioned to believe that there is a magic "pill" for everything." That's our instant gratification culture!

My PT & I had this discussion last week. My pain doc asked at our recent (virtual) appointment whether I attribute my improvement to the new med or the PT sessions – I told her honestly, it's 50/50 PT & exercise, maybe 10% the meds. The meds just took the edge off the pain so I could move enough to get started. The PT got me on the right track with correct exercises & proper form, and he has magic fingers when dealing with specific pain issues, but without 2-3 times daily exercises at home & walking, I wouldn't be seeing nearly as much progress.
I repeat the PT + exercise mantra endlessly to the hip replacement group too – they are probably tired of hearing it! I have now rehabbed successfully from 11 ortho surgeries for injuries and/or arthritis damage, and every single one required at least 2 months of at-home daily exercise – my knee took 6 months twice a day & 6 months once a day to get back to full function after an ACL replacement and MCL repair from an bad sports injury – and I was 25 years younger then.

The same is true for diet. I have avoided all the fads – to the point where I was reluctant to go wheat-free about 10 years ago, but listened to my daughters and tried it (I have a wheat allergy, not celiac.) As for the rest of our eating, we eat what I call a "plant rich" diet, but are not vegetarian. Cookies and the like are a very occasional treat – our big indulgence is 2 dark chocolate sea salt caramels after dinner, or a small Dove sorbet bar.

Meat is on our plates about 4 times a week, fish or shellfish once, no meat at all twice. A single chicken serves the 2 of us for 3 meals – first time roasted, then the rest is diced, frozen & served in wild rice salad or stir-fry. Chili made with 2 pounds of meat & 2 pound of beans also makes 4 dinners for 2 – 2 to eat, and 2 for the freezer.

We do most of our shopping at a locally owned produce/meat/bakery shop. On our counter today are tomatoes, cucumber & peppers from the garden, avocado, green beans, peaches and grapes. Any bread is 100% whole grain (not my husband's favorite, but I do the shopping) or gluten-free breads made with a variety of grains as well as veggies.

Our kids have gone through a number of "phases" but now eat much like we do – except both have a much higher tolerance for making a big batch of something and eating it for 4 days in a row than their Dad.
Sue

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@sueinmn, Sue, what you write about our instant gratification magic pill taking culture is so true. I wish more U.S. docs knew more about the importance of diet as a game changer for some maladies.

I'm gasping at the thought of your 11 ortho surgeries…and resulting need for pt that kept you on the right track for healing. However, you could certainly be a poster child for the benefits that resulted.

The word "diet" really wasn't in my vocabulary until a short time ago when I received a double medical diagnosis that got my attention. Making changes from "whatever sounds good at the moment" to following a plan that restricted some foods and promoted others has made an undeniable difference in my lab values for both. Ummm, however, a bit of recent backsliding and upcoming lab report may renew my focus on "climbing back on the bus". smiles

Your description of a "plant rich" diet is true for me as well because I also haven't ruled out meats and seafood entirely. One of the great benefits of "being here now" is my delight in enjoying veggies that I never experienced growing up in a very small town with one grocery and my dad's garden. While I'm not a fan of 4 days in a row of anything,(I tend to have an allergy to "fixed" routines) smiles, even halving most recipes, there are leftovers to freeze for another time when the call comes for "fast and easy".

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@sueinmn

@starchy Yes, "We have been conditioned to believe that there is a magic "pill" for everything." That's our instant gratification culture!

My PT & I had this discussion last week. My pain doc asked at our recent (virtual) appointment whether I attribute my improvement to the new med or the PT sessions – I told her honestly, it's 50/50 PT & exercise, maybe 10% the meds. The meds just took the edge off the pain so I could move enough to get started. The PT got me on the right track with correct exercises & proper form, and he has magic fingers when dealing with specific pain issues, but without 2-3 times daily exercises at home & walking, I wouldn't be seeing nearly as much progress.
I repeat the PT + exercise mantra endlessly to the hip replacement group too – they are probably tired of hearing it! I have now rehabbed successfully from 11 ortho surgeries for injuries and/or arthritis damage, and every single one required at least 2 months of at-home daily exercise – my knee took 6 months twice a day & 6 months once a day to get back to full function after an ACL replacement and MCL repair from an bad sports injury – and I was 25 years younger then.

The same is true for diet. I have avoided all the fads – to the point where I was reluctant to go wheat-free about 10 years ago, but listened to my daughters and tried it (I have a wheat allergy, not celiac.) As for the rest of our eating, we eat what I call a "plant rich" diet, but are not vegetarian. Cookies and the like are a very occasional treat – our big indulgence is 2 dark chocolate sea salt caramels after dinner, or a small Dove sorbet bar.

Meat is on our plates about 4 times a week, fish or shellfish once, no meat at all twice. A single chicken serves the 2 of us for 3 meals – first time roasted, then the rest is diced, frozen & served in wild rice salad or stir-fry. Chili made with 2 pounds of meat & 2 pound of beans also makes 4 dinners for 2 – 2 to eat, and 2 for the freezer.

We do most of our shopping at a locally owned produce/meat/bakery shop. On our counter today are tomatoes, cucumber & peppers from the garden, avocado, green beans, peaches and grapes. Any bread is 100% whole grain (not my husband's favorite, but I do the shopping) or gluten-free breads made with a variety of grains as well as veggies.

Our kids have gone through a number of "phases" but now eat much like we do – except both have a much higher tolerance for making a big batch of something and eating it for 4 days in a row than their Dad.
Sue

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Congratulations on sticking to your guns. Your story is amazing.

Liked by fiesty76

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