By Emsie Martin
Growing old … no, wait a bit, my mother-in-law used to say one gets older, not old. Getting older, however, is no excuse for doing nothing. There are a few things that older people should still be able to do for as long as they have the strength and the opportunity. Remember, you do not stop living when you grow older, you will perhaps just have to make a few adjustments, even if the general perception of retirement is that from then on you don’t do a thing.
Dr ST Potgieter, a registered psychologist with consulting rooms in Bellville, offers the following hints:
An older person should exercise while he still can. The exercises should, however, be adapted to the person’s age. Stretch exercises, bowling, walking and swimming are examples of exercises for old people. There are many other types of exercise that are suitable for the older person.
An older person should be conscientious about maintaining good habits. Remember, people become more defenceless and fragile with age. Therefore, cut out bad habits such as smoking and excessive use of alcohol. Protect your skin against the sun. Maintain good eating and sleeping habits. Live healthy and balanced.
Unfortunately it is true that older people sometimes restrict themselves to their houses or rooms. There are various reasons for this, for instance diminished strength, not driving their car anymore and fear of crime. It is, however, good and healthy for older people to get out and spend time in nature in a safe spot. I think of things like having a picnic, fishing, walking in a nature park and gardening. Most places have organisations that arrange special outings for old people. Make use of this because getting out nourishes the soul.
Go to recitals
Many retirement villages offer many activities and even hold their own musical recitals, plays and concerts. If you can still go out by yourself, there are many venues that give special discounts to senior citizens for programmes and recitals. Make a plan and get out. It is safe and comfortable to sit in front of the TV, but outside there is a world that an older person can still enjoy. Many older people travel overseas or go to see Namaqualand’s flowers. You don’t even have to drive yourself, join a bus tour.
Hobbies and art
It is good for an older person to have hobbies and practise art. As one gets older, you cannot do the things that you used to do earlier. A man will perhaps not be able to do woodwork anymore because working with the machines has become too dangerous. But painting, photography, mosaic work, pottery, flower arrangement, colouring in, needle and crochet work and scrapbooking can be very satisfying and enriching. Be creative.
Keep that brain alert and pliable by doing brain activities such as reading books and the newspaper, writing, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and building jigsaw puzzles. Stay curious about life and learn to discover new things. It is things like these that keep one positive and help you retain a sense of humour.
Family and friends
Make time for your family. Make time for your children and grandchildren. Enjoy your children and their families. Try to keep abreast of what is going on in your children’s and grandchildren’s lives. Visit your friends. Older people are sometimes inclined to withdraw. Join in with activities arranged for senior citizens and visit other people in your complex. Older people sometimes become lonely because they don’t want to go the trouble of visiting. People grow lonely even in old-age homes because they do not visit with the other inmates.
Keep the faith
Hold on to your faith and stay anchored to the Word. You are a role model to your children and grandchildren. They look up to you to find peace of mind and security for their faith.
Do what you still can while you still can. A day may come when your physical strength will not allow you to certain things.
Also read: https://plesion.org.za/blog/ondersteuning-vir-bejaardes/