While I was in Cardiology ICU recovering from a massive heart-attack, I overheard the doctor’s casual conversation about cardiology. Seeing that I was aware of their conversation they asked me if I knew the leading cause of death in men. Having just experienced a heart attack I replied, “heart-attack.” They responded, “NO, STUBBORNNESS!”
Let me guess … Right now 100% of the ladies are shaking their heads, “YES!” Well, I’ve got some bad news for you. As we get older, as the realization of our mortality becomes more of a “permanent resident” than a “fleeting visitor,” we tend to resist. Often the physical expression of our emotional resistance reveals itself as a steadfast stubbornness. This is usually detrimental to us and, to be perfectly honest, unfair for those who love us most.
My grandmother would always say, “getting old isn’t for sissies!”
She was right! You’ve got to be pretty tough to gracefully endure the changes that take place as we grow old. It takes a great deal of self-worth, self-respect and grace to travel through the later years of life with dignity. So let’s plan on it!
The need for physical assistance is a fact of life for many seniors. That doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it, but we have a choice as to how we respond.
In these posts we have talked about the importance of physical activity. Keeping our joints moving, often through the pain of arthritis, is vitally important. Drinking clear water is vitally important for all our organs. Moving the arms, the wrists, hands shoulders all the extremities, to the extent that we can, is important in retaining available range of motion without pain or obstruction.
Perhaps you are unable to engage in physical activity. I have good news! There is something available to each of us that, if kept in check, can alter the impact aging has upon us.
Working with fellow seniors I find that ATTITUDE makes all the difference in the world. ATTITUDE will initiate either laughter or tears for the senior who falls back into their lazy-boy while attempting to get out of it! ATTITUDE will result in a spontaneous warm smile and loving hug from a grandparent whose young grandchild gently traces the lines and creases that have become so prominent in their faces. But ATTITUDE will also isolate the elderly from an outside world that to them only offers images of what life once was.
ATTITUDE – I know of nothing more important to keep in check than our attitude towards the certainty of life’s changes. Get that right and the special tools we may require to assist us become welcomed friends rather than humiliating displays of frailty.
I realize this is pretty frank talk – but we deserve honesty. We need to see ourselves as we actually are, with all the frailties that accompany us. There is a choice, victor or victim. The victor recognizes the multitude of battlefields upon which they have served. They recognize the valor by which they overcame those things that at one time appeared to be insurmountable odds. They accept the honor of rest, the medal of fulfillment, the peace of memories and the burn to press forward as a positive influence upon those whose little fingers gently trace the tell-tale lines.
Walkers, wheelchairs, canes, crutches, hearing-aids, hand-rails, pains, pads, pills and potties may take their place in our lives but our attitude must be that they will never define us! They will only serve us so that we can, by the best of our abilities, continue to expand and enjoy physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual well-being all the days God gives us to enjoy them.
Here are just a few Bible verses that encourage me when I need a bit of attitude adjustment:
“He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age …” – Ruth 4:15
“And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety.” – Isaiah 46:4
“Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” – Job 12:12
“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’S own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. EVEN IN OLD AGE they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, ‘The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in Him!’” – Psalm 92:12-14
“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is obtained by following a righteous path.” – Proverbs 16:31
“The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.” – Proverbs 20:29
“Now that I am old and my hair is gray, don’t leave me, God. I must tell the next generation about Your power and greatness. God, Your goodness reaches far above the skies. You have done wonderful things. God, there is no one like You!” – Psalm 71:18-19
“That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine!” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
You might be saying to yourself, “Laurie? You didn’t tell us how to deal with the challenges of needing physical assistance.”
Perhaps I have failed to present systematic solutions. I do not know your specific situation but I do know that our ATTITUDE sets the foundation upon which our responses rest. The impact our attitude will have over the challenges we may face will serve to empower us allowing us to look past the infirmities and forward to the opportunities yet to be enjoyed.
Loads of luv’n,