In theory I believe that every individual has a unique way of coping with the aging process and coming to grips with the fact that aging is inevitable. I have given plenty of thought to aging and I would like to live into old age, in essence the studying and gaining of knowledge of aging and age in general, aids me in understanding the stages in life’s advancement we all hope to reach. Despite the fact that we do not regularly think about aging when we are in adolescent years, early twenties or even going into our thirties, one of our primary goals in life is to grow old. When we learn about age and aging and we become more comfortable with a few of the complications that the elderly encounter, this area of life is so important to study because many of elderly individuals are living longer more fulfilling lives due to all the advancements in technology as well as adopting healthier and a more active lifestyle. I was given the opportunity to interview a well round older individual and assess their thoughts and concerns on the aging experience. I asked a few simple questions and received exceptional answers in return.
My first question was, ‘What are your thoughts on aging?’, my interviewee responded with, my thoughts on aging are getting slower while doing daily activities. For example, housework and exercising, health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious illnesses. Family not having time for you because they are too busy with their own lives also having to retire and start a new journey. The 2nd question was, ‘what are your concerns about aging?’ In which she responded, ‘ my concerns are how long will I live, and who will take care of me if I have a chronic illness. Also, about my husband if I should go first. Third question was, ‘how have your thoughts changed about aging in the past twenty years?’. In which she answered, ‘I am more accepting of aging, because I have several illnesses such as stage 4 cancer and want to continue to enjoy organizations, socializing, and loving, my family. I utilize my time with good thoughts and activities, being happy and enjoying my pet dog. As well as enjoying my grand, great-grand, and great great- grandchildren.
The fourth question I had was, ‘How do you feel about your current health status?’, the interviewee responded with, ‘ I feel very positive and I would say currently my health is good. For my fifth and final question is,’ What strategies have you used to promote healthy aging and wellness?’, and the response was going to the doctor regularly, eating healthy as possible, taking my medication and getting all my preventative exams. Taking safety measures including Medical Alert. Being happy and love others, most of all helping those in need. As I closed out my interview and thanked the individual for their time I did reflect on my thoughts as well. I believe many people do experience ageist thinking and I can tell you that I am not one, I like to think that I understand and accept the aging process in general and there would not be a problem with my caring for the older generation. Many times, care providers are still not accepting of aging and can sometimes think that older individuals are slower or not as smart as the younger generation or can belittle them by talking to them in a slower tone of voice which is unnecessary.
There are a few ways that you could possibly help your co-worker or whoever it maybe that may have a negative effect on the aging process you can discuss their concerns, offer support, or new ideas to help them overcome their negative outlook on aging individuals. In my community we have an adult day center in which the older population can go during the day and socialize, enjoy activates, as well as obtain adequate meal. The aging journey starts when we take our first breath and ends with our last, there are numerous ways we can educate ourselves about how to become more familiar with the aging process and what to expect from our patients as well as ourselves once we reach that point in our lifespan (WCADV 2013).
We want to be aware of the physical changes of the body such as developing illness or changes that need to be reported to the care provider, as well as making sure we understand that psychological changes that are caused by aging. Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is also two of the most common disorders that occur with aging (Basic Geriatric Nursing 6th edition). Knowing more about something that can be intimidating such as aging can sometime be beneficial in helping individuals understand and find a way of coping with the situation such as aging.
Many people believe that once a certain age is reached you enter an aspect of life where you are stigmatized for the age that you are and are treated differently. As times evolve we as a generation can take it into our own hands to be advocates for the older generation and educate society about the aging experience and how better to handle their thoughts and actions. There is currently research being conducted to better understand the behavioral, lifestyle, genetic and social aspects and their influence on the entire process of and experience of aging.