Howdy Folks! Sorry I missed yapping at ya last month. I was busy rearranging my sock drawer. Where do all those mates go? I got about 100 half pairs. If’n you got 100 half pairs, maybe we can put em together and start a sock store.
Anyway, let’s talk about staying in the thick of things as we get grayer. Staying connected ain’t always easy as you grow older—even for those who have always had an active social life. Career changes, retirement, illness, death, and moves out of the local area can take away close friends and family members. And the older you get, the more people you inevitably lose. In later life, getting around may become difficult for either you or members of your social network. You don’t want to lose all your buddies.
It’s important to find ways to reach out and connect to others, regardless of whether or not you live with a spouse or partner. Having a bunch of people you can turn to for company and support as you age is a buffer against loneliness, depression, disability, hardship, and loss.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to be with other people. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get out of the house (if possible) and socialize:
Connect regularly with friends and family. Spend time with people you enjoy and who make you feel upbeat. It may be a neighbor who you like to exercise with, a lunch date with an old friend, or shopping with your children. Even if you are not close by, call or email frequently to keep relationships fresh.
Make an effort to make new friends. As you lose people in your circle, it is vital to make new connections so your circle doesn’t dwindle. Make it a point to say howdy to people who are younger than you. Younger friends can re-energize you and help you see life from a fresh perspective.
Spend time with at least one person every day. Whatever your living or work situation, you shouldn’t be alone day after day. Phone or email contact is not a replacement for spending time with other people. Regular face-to-face contact helps you ward off depression and stay positive.
Volunteer. Giving back to the community is a wonderful way to strengthen social bonds and meet others, and the meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life. Volunteering is a natural way to meet others interested in similar activities or who share similar values. Even if your mobility becomes limited, you can get involved by volunteering on the phone.
Find support groups in times of change. If you or a loved one is coping with a serious illness or recent loss, it can be very helpful to participate in a support group with others undergoing the same challenges.
Another thing about getting along in years is that you don’t remember half of what you did know and you don’t know what you didn’t know to start with. Well, that didn’t make any sense. Let’s look a bit at the truth and the fib with Myths about gettin’ wrinklier.
Myths About Healthy Aging
MYTH: Aging means declining health and/or disability.
Fact: There are some diseases that become more common as we age. However, getting older does not automatically mean poor health or that you will be confined to a walker or wheelchair. Plenty of older adults enjoy vigorous health, often better than many younger people. Preventive measures like healthy eating, exercising, and managing stress can help reduce the risk of chronic disease or injuries later in life.
MYTH: Memory loss is an inevitable part of aging.
Fact: As you age, you may eventually notice you don’t remember things as easily as in the past, or memories may start to take a little longer to retrieve. However, significant memory loss is not an inevitable result of aging. Brain training and new learning can occur at any age and there are many things you can do to keep your memory sharp. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.
MYTH: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Fact: One of the more damaging myths of aging is that after a certain age, you just won’t be able to try anything new or contribute things anymore. The opposite is true. Middle aged and older adults are just as capable of learning new things and thriving in new environments, plus they have the wisdom that comes with life experience. If you believe in and have confidence in yourself, you are setting up a positive environment for change no matter what your age.
So the moral of this story is get out there and aggravate them young whippersnappers cause the smile it’ll put on your old puss will keep you young. Which, of course, reminds me of a joke.
Two old guys drinking in a bar. One says to the other “If we keep this up, we’ll end up looking like those two old drunks there across the bar” The other guy says “that’s a mirror, you idiot”.