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As my parents age, I'm finding myself more worried about my own old age. On some level I notice that they aren't much different than they ever were, but I don't want to be like them! Recently, my mom said the same thing about her mother!!

My dad is 87 and my mom 92. My dad is still doing pretty well, although he's slowing down and obviously overwhelmed a lot of the time. He does try, but everything is an effort, from cell phones to computers. Of course, I can understand that. But, I'll admit that I get kind of frustrated that everything seems to be difficult for him.

My mom has dementia, but in a lot of ways, she is still doing well. Still, it's depressing to see her forgetting EVERYTHING and constantly repeating herself.

I find myself waking up at night worrying that I'll end up like them. I want more than that for myself and my husband. I don't want us to end up being so unaware of what's going on around us. My mom says things like "old age isn't for sissies" (I know, Maye West) and, "the one thing about old age is you become invisible, no one notices you!" I don't think that's true, but on some level, it's my mom's excuse for not doing anything with herself. I don't want to be that way.

I'm 59 and 20 years go by in a flash. I'm healthy, smart (I think), take good care of myself and am trying hard to keep up with everything (up to a point). I love my parents, but they are bringing me down and scaring me.

To top it off, my husband and I don't have kids so at some point we are going to be dealing with all this stuff on our own. I worry so much that I feel like I'm taking away from all the wonderful things that I have now.

I know others must feel this way, too. I'd love to hear from you guys.

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A person could drive themselves into an early grave worrying about this stuff. What if I get cancer? What if I have a stroke? What if I end up with Alzheimer's? The list goes on and on. The way I look at it is:1- first I make sure my soul is right with God so I know exactly WHERE I'm spending eternity 2- I take care of this body (that will eventually poop out) as much as possible, but I realize that I don't really have any control, only God does 3 - I spend as much time as the Lord allows me to have, making a difference wherever I can. And fourthly I acknowledge that the God who knows how many hairs are on my head, has my days numbered and won't let anything happen to me until He gives the OK. I know it sounds kinda simple, but it gives me a great calmness knowing that the One that created me has it all figured out.
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Well, I don't know if I am in the category you would call elderly, lol, but I am 74 and I plan on riding horses again. After years on my own, and some encouragement and guidance from my daughter about 3-4 years ago I started dressing differently - not that I dressed badly before but I was more matronly. My daughter told me I had a "bod" and to show it off more. I bought straight leg jeans, camisoles, and cute dresses and joined online dating sites. Even the guys at work noticed. I met lots of men of all ages - oh my goodness I have some stories there - a 23 yr old!!! - and was not totally prepared for them, but learned quickly how to handle various situations. Finally 2 1/2 years ago I met a very nice man of 60 and we are an item and planning for permanent. He breeds horses for a hobby and I am learning to "read" them and feel comfortable around them and can call myself a wrangler. I have chased herds of horses through fields of clover!Two years ago we went tenting in the mountains, I hadn't been in a tent for years. I expect we will again, I have formed a bond with one of his mares and want to ride her - the last time I rode was over 50 years ago. Oh yes, I retired from teaching college when I was 73. I could have kept teaching but my 99 yr old mother needed more attention. She did volunteer work in Haiti for 6 months of the year till she was 86. I have a few health conditions -fibromyalgia for example, which are a pain - literally - but I can still do things though at a slower pace. I am considering getting a personal trainer to build myself up. For me, in many ways, my life began again at 70. :)
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I don't have to wait till I get older than dirt to have a bad memory. I'm seeing that now. How many times can a person go into a room and not remember where or why they were going there in the first place? Oh my gosh!! I got a birthday card yesterday that says: "Ever notice the older we get, the more we're like computers? We start out with lots of memory and drive, then we eventually become outdated, crash at odd moments, acquire errors in our systems, and have to have our parts replaced." Boy isn't that the truth?? I tell ya, if you can't laugh about this age thing at some point, then you might as well just roll over and die. hahaha You're NOT alone. We're all in this thing together.
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I saw an old lady in the grocery store the other day. She obviously cared how she looked since she was dressed really nice. Problem was, her bright red lipstick was smeared pretty bad, and her drawn on eyebrows looked like Mr Spock's on Star Trek. So I guess it's all relative I guess. :)
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I heard it said by our local expert on again, Dr. Lipschitz, that there are two kinds of elders - those who stay active and involved, and those who don't. My parents were, sadly, definite type twos as their health went down hill and really did not do a lot of joining in with clubs, etc other than sporadically when they were more middle aged. They tended to quit over any kind of disagreement or perceived slight or deficit.

I also don't want to be like that! OK, I'm going a little overboard trying to leverage current medical knowledge to manage my health better than my ancestors...hardly a day goes by that I don't Google something on antioxidants, insulin resistance or estrogen receptors...I'm on yet another diet...but the main thing I'm planning on doing is staying active and involved, like the older folks in my Kiwanis club. Some of them that I admired the most - the WWII vet who quit golfing at 90 because he was unhappy with his game, but took it back up again once he realized there was a chance he could shoot lower than his age - the guy who hit the pavement and sold more tickets to our fundraisers than the rest of us put together til about the same age, after giving his wife the best care in the world for a couple of years after she had a stroke - have gone on now, but they all "lived 'til they died." (As in the lovely refrain to an old Irish dirnking song, "if the whiskey don't git me, I'll live 'til I die!")

So, I'm not sure if I'm telling you to join Kiwanis or some other group that inspires you (though you may want check it out, it really is a pretty cool service club - maybe it's that focus on "Serving the Children of the World" that keeps us young) or not too drink too much whiskey, but seriously, make a decision to stay connected and involved, be accepting rather than perfectionistic about what you can and can't do, and figure out who you can trust to take care of you the way you want in case you ever need it. Do your best, let God do the rest - don't worry about it if you have really done what you can. That Faith thing means a lot to me too...but faith or no, just worrying without doing what you can won't help anything, and what you can't do, well you can't do it!

PS to emio - the personal trainer is a great idea...and don't forget to wear a helmet when you're riding again!
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I know what you mean. And, my husband and I do laugh about a lot of things (including my parents)! Also, I try to put things into perspective. I think most people don't want to be like their parents on some level. Recently, my 92 year old mother said the same thing about her own mother, even though I know how much she loved her! What a surprise. Maybe it's our struggle to separate.

Right now I'm very fortunate that (because of my dad) my parents are still quite independent. Still, being around them on a regular basis gives me a good dose of reality. I notice my brothers aren't nearly as bothered because they don't live nearby so don't see all the little things.

I tell myself I'm going to do better than my parents because I have to. My husband and I don't have kids so it's going to be up to us to make sure we get the care we need. I don't necessarily have a problem with forgetting some things and slowing down, but my biggest fear is I'll be peeing and pooping in my pants and grossing everyone out. I'll smell bad and I won't know it because my own sense of smell will be bad. I'll keep wearing the same clothes over and over again, even though there are stains down the front from where I spilled food and didn't notice.

I remember my mom saying to me, when she still had it together, to make sure I told her if she smelled bad or had messed up her clothes. Now, she doesn't seem to care.

Don't some elderly people continue to dress nicely and take care of themselves? Don't some continue to be interesting and interested in what's going on? I'd just like to witness some positives out there!
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Well, the key is staying active, engaged, open to learn new things and have new experiences. My mom is the type2 someone mentioned earlier. I know I don't want to be that way nor have my children going thru what I'm going thru. SO I'm making sure I keep as active as possible, work as long as I can, and actively meet new people and be open to their help when the time comes.

I travel a lot and I'm inspired by the number of elders who are in their 80s and still traveling either alone or with a caregiver, etc. they may have a walker or cane or wheelchair but they are still out there smiling and living life with aches pains, etc. I applaud them. I met a guy at a convention who was still a consultant and 88 and traveled on his own. Still sharp as a tack. How about that woman in PARADE magazine who was 94 and competing in track and field events. I go to YMCA and see amazing seniors alone and in groups doing wonderfully. I have visited AL facilities and see a wide range of elders in various states. Some have lost their mental faculties but are still smiling, happy and living their lives.

I take heart that I can be inspired by these brave "live every moment to the fullest" elders and I can age gracefully just like them until my last breath.
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Keeping it on the "I," at 54 I'm trying my hardest to live life to the fullest. That way I don't think so much about how much time I have left. Toxic relatives have been kicked to the curb already, and "me" time has increased a lot. Have a home in South America to spend my old age in, and no one has to worry about burying my a__ or cremating the carcass. I'm going to be recycled now that the body has been donated to science. Re-use what they can and play or feed the rest to the birds.

My grandfather died of prostate cancer; so did my Dad. And they accomplished a lot during their short lives. I strive to do the same. Working out regularly, eating healthy, living well, and looking good are becoming more important as time goes by; but it's no insurance against what befell them.

In many ways, I am like them; and proud of it. If my life has to end the same way, bet your cookies I'll go down fighting. Just like they did. No regrets.
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Hey, as one of those drug-pushing doctors, I'd just say that all prescription drugs are not all that bad - I don't like to think where I would be without a half dose of oxcarbamazepine at night to prevent hyperacusis from triggering migraines, or my sack full of triptans in case I get one anyways. And my mom - she would have been in a world more hurt and died much younger and worse off than she did without her SInemet and thyroid replacement...though I've got my doubts about a couple of the other things she was on. Side effects are very individual - I've had more than my share - and I've even managed to have some on OTCs and supplements. I would say to everyone be very careful and very choosy about what you put into your body and switch docs if yours just blanket discourages supplements and healthful eating, and does not listen to side effect concerns. Always suspect a side effect if something new develops within the first several weeks or maybe a little longer on a new pill of any sort; people really can harm themselves by not speaking up about it and just continuing to take something that makes them feel bad because its *supposed* to be good. It is also possible that as we age, some things we take may no longer be metabolized as well and may not agree with us anymore at all, or may require much lower dose. Finally, If you choose to take "a good multivitamin" because you don't think your diet has all that you need, be aware they have recently found there is apparently some increased health risk to that. A possible reason is that there are compounds in real whole foods that we don't know about (look up the PQQ saga) and/or the balance of isoforms in the food is better than what they can cheaply and easily put in a pill (e.g. tocopherols/VitaminE - just alpha by itself may be harmful, you also need gamma.) Read those labels!
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Their daughter, you write: "...Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who tends to worry about things in general!..." I would gently suggest that this is something that you can change, especially if you get some help to change it. I can suggest this, because I have sought and received much help over the years in order to change some self-defeating thought/behavior patterns and it was totally worth every bit of time/effort/money that I invested. Get to a face-to-face caregiver support group ASAP and/or see a good cognitive behavioral therapist. I predict that you will be glad you did. Blessings to you AND to your parents. G~
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