… SOMEONE ELSE WILL, and YOU MAY NOT LIKE IT!
How many elderly people do you know who are happy, fulfilled, have a strong sense of self-worth and purpose, and spend much of their time relating to family and close friends?
Growing old in our society
Experience with three elderly family members in their 90’s has raised serious questions about the future all of us are facing.
Western society has come a long way in improving the physical and medical care for elderly people, but when it comes to valuing their wisdom and experience, and maintaining their mental, emotional and social well-being we’re falling dismally short.
As people age we tend to view them as having little value to offer; they become a burden on society; we let them become progressively more isolated in their own homes, or send them off to retirement villages and ultimately nursing homes, where they are kept warm, clothed, fed and cleaned and spend their days being entertained by activities suitable for children. Meaningful social contact fades away, and their sense of worth and purpose wither. How many elderly people sit day after day doing little more than passively waiting to die?
Is this the future you want for yourself when you are old?? I doubt it.
It’s tragic that unless we die young, all of us are heading inexorably to this place, but few of us (me included until recently) are doing anything to change our direction or destination.
The bottom line is that if you don’t make choices to determine how you will live your elderly years someone else will make them for you. Even if family and medical experts genuinely care they may not fully understand your needs and desires at this stage.
A common response is, “Of course I’ll make these decisions for myself… But not now, I’ll do it when I’m older.” Here lays the big trap… leave the decisions too late and you may have limited options available or have lost the ability to assess what is best for you. Change is gets more difficult as we age; unless we make plans in advance we will likely resist even considering it until circumstances force our hand or remove the choices from us altogether.
Please share your thoughts…
How can we do things differently?
What choices can we make now to ensure we maintain a happy, fulfilling life that provides value, purpose and meaningful social connection (as well as adequate physical and medical care) in our elderly years?
Sharing your thoughts will not only be help me and others who read this blog. You will also help yourself to begin the journey of ensuring you have the future you want. (And, you will be helping the group of blokes I meet with once a month discuss this topic at our next meeting.)