Growing Old

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Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief, all will go through the aging process. However, how well each endures that process depends on the individual. After my Visit at English Oaks Convalescent Home, a skilled nursing facility for adults’ age 55 and older, I found this to be true. During my visit, I conversed with many “residents” whom were alert and oriented and very aware of the aging process. We conversed about the process of aging and the factors that appear to account for a longer life. We talked about adjusting to aging as well as the positives of growing old. After my visit, I realized that we all age at different rates and aging is a highly individual process that affects people in unpredictable ways. It is inevitable that we all grow old, but it is not inevitable to grow old in such a manner as not to be able to bend down and tie our shoelaces, or do the everyday ordinary chores without the resultant aches and pains. Slowing the "aging process" therefore depends on the individual and what steps they employ to do this. While visiting with residents, each spoke of factors, which they felt, accounted for their long and healthy lives. Just as the Abkhasians, three main factors appear to account for their long lives. The first is their diet, the second is their lifelong physical activity and the third factor is a highly developed sense of community (Henslin 2004). These factors were very similar to the ones that the elderly I spoke to had. The residents at English Oak also felt that diet, exercise and regular visits from friends and family contribute to living a longer and healthier life. Another common factor discussed by many was the importance of being involved at the facility. This presents opportunities to meet new people. Although New friends may never replace the lost closeness shared with someone who they knew before their hair turned grey, or before their first child was born, the support network that comes with sharing life with peers can counter loneliness and goes a long way toward dispelling feelings of isolation. Many felt that the more people they interact with daily, the more chance there is to form new bonds. The Abkhasian culture integrate each individual from childhood into a primary group and remains so throughout life. They have no nursing homes and the elderly do not live alone. The elderly continue to work and contribut... ... middle of paper ... ...ging. I was told that creativity learned early, does not diminish with age, elderly are sexually more relaxed and the ability to cope increases and stress levels decrease. I was told that as we grow older we take more responsibility for our health, we understand ourselves with better perspective and we are more confident and care less what other people think. I was also told that the capacity to love increases, gratitude deepens and sense of humor is heightened. This made me smile and for the first time look forward to my older days. Old age is not a popular subject in our culture. We don't like to think about the prospect of growing old, so we put it out of our minds. Consequently, when it happens to us or a family member, we have no idea of what to expect. Many factors are involved in the aging process. Aging is an extremely complex process that affects all of us physically, socially and psychologically. It is important that we understand how aging affects us as individuals. As the old adage saus, “Take The Bull By The Horns” means we must do everything in our power to slow down the aging process. By slowing down the aging process, we are extending our life expectancy.

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