Great take on getting older

As  I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and  less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with  aging.

Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM,  or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 & 70’s,  and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a  lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach,  in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the  important things.

Sure, over the years,  my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a  child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and  compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of  being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray,  and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched  into deep grooves on my face. So many have never  laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it  is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself  anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be  wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the  person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like  it).

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Cranky old man

This story is doing the rounds on the internet and whether true or not I think it opens our eyes to how we might be treating people we see.

Next time you meet an older person, wait for them to climb slowly into the lift, count out change slowly at the checkout in front of you or simply ask you to pass something they have dropped.

They were young and vibrant like you…

Cranky Old Man…..
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

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You know what always makes me sad?

That we need a tragic event to make us appreciate and realize how much someone meant to us. Why do we need to be jolted out of our seats to get us to look at all that we should appreciate? Are we that lost in our lives, our thoughts, ourselves?

Share the love today

It’s in your hands!

Lets make a conscious decision today to let people know how much they mean to us. Don’t wait for their eulogy to tell them about the positive impact that they had on your life – it’s no good then, they are gone. Reach out and let them know that they are special, I am sure you will make a difference in their lives and perhaps start a ripple of positivity!

“Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of thine awareness, each its true and due fulfillment.”

Spectator or participant, either way the parade of life is moving down the boulevard

Life is a paradeI know we all have a million ‘if’s and buts’ BUT either way it is a conscious decision.

Get involved in the ‘parade’ which may mean getting wet in the rain, breaking a nail, having a wardrobe malfunction or you could stand on the pavement and watch it all go right past you. Sadly, you will be in the same place watching the used balloons bop aimlessly pass you.

Of course, by joining in, the risk of something going wrong is much higher, but is it not worth it? So weigh it up.

Do you want to be safe sitting in your foldable chair on the pavement never having a story to tell, or do you want to get involved and have some fun, perhaps you will fall down, but then you will learn how to get back up again.

Of course there is nothing wrong with your choice should you want to sit on the pavement, but how about you give it a go? Grab your bag and head out on an adventure, at least then you will have a story to tell, perhaps a new friend or two or maybe you will have learnt something new!

7 Top reasons to keep fit – important at every age

1. Increasing bone density and limiting osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is the disease that makes your bones weak and brittle. Exercise will increase your bone strength. The best kinds of exercise to make bones stronger are weight-bearing exercises like walking and resistance exercises such as lifting weights. But you don’t need to become a competitive walker or body builder. Just living an active lifestyle will help your bones stay strong. Remember you also need Vitamin D and calcium for good bone health.

2. Helps you stay independent.

The point of being active is to maintain your ability to function. Studies show that people who exercise over their lifetimes can avoid being disabled at the end of their lives. Those who don’t exercise are sure to experience more difficulty in movement later in life.

3. It increases metabolism.

Metabolism measures how your body handles and uses nutrients. Strength training increases muscle mass, which in turn raises metabolism. One benefit is that your body uses more of the calories you take in because your resting metabolic rate increases. That leads to less body fat and makes it easier to control your weight.

4. It reduces your risk for falls.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly is that exercise lets you practice keeping your balance and reacting to things around you. The second is that exercise can help arrest a natural decline in muscle fitness. Exercise will keep your muscles fit and alert.

5. Flexible.

Putting your body through the full range of movement helps keep it flexible. These activities do not need to be structured; any kind of activity is going to produce results. Some examples include: walking instead of driving, or raking leaves instead of using a blower.

6. It is a reason to be sociable.

Exercise groups are a great way to meet people. Because one of the best strategies for increasing your activity is to do it in a group, exercise can lead to new friends. Check at the local community center or local health club for special exercise groups for seniors. Why not also ask your friends to join you.

7. It improves your mood.

Exercise is good for your mind. Studies show it reduces depression. It can also lift your self-esteem!

Always remember to consult your doctor before undertaking any new exercise.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission Report and the UK Homecare Association

I am sure you have all heard recently in the news about the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report “ Close to home: older people and human rights in home care”. The EHRC’s report highlights a number of frightening examples of homecare in practice. They are frightening because it could be me in that position tomorrow should I have a sudden turn for the worse.

None of us like to think about it but it is a factor that, as we get older, we cannot brush under the proverbial rug. How will we handle it? Who will we turn to?

In this day and age our children are probably not living in the same suburb never mind the same city so we will be relying on a government organization or a Home Care company to look after us. Being at the mercy of strangers does make me nervous especially if I am unable to let anyone know what is wrong.

The UKHCA stands for the United Kingdom Homecare Association and is the national professional association and representative association for organisations who provide care, including nursing care, to people in their own homes. This organization is set to give guidance to independent organisations who could be looking after us. It was set up in 1989 to respond to the many issues arising from the changes in health and social care legislation, which were shaping the future of the sector.

In response to the EHRC’s report they have set up 20 action points to help home care workers promote human rights.  These seem to be quite inclusive referring to the main categories of :

–       Communication and respect

–       Dignity, choice and control

–       Safety and well- being

–       Social inclusion

–       Eating and drinking

It does scare me that these basic points have to be set out in a document to remind a Care worker what human rights are, but I suppose it is better to keep each of these points top of mind.

There are so many wonderful Care workers out there who genuinely want to make an improvement in the lives of their clients. We need to make sure that they are recognized and rewarded for their efforts because the people that it truly impacts are not always able to say ‘Thank you’.

Depression – What is it and how does it work

Admittedly everyone feels down sometimes, but depression is more than feeling unhappy.

Sometimes all we need to do when we are feeling down is get ourselves up and go for a walk ( exercise raises the endorphin levels) or call a friend to meet for coffee. But if these simple actions do not make you feel any better and you are feeling irritable, tired unable to sleep, unable to eat and unable to make decisions, you may be depressed.

You may also feel dissatisfied, hopeless, helpless and you may want to cry all the time. And as much as you try, you can’t make yourself feel better.

Although everyone can have these feelings from time to time, if you have depression, they accumulate and do not go away. They can last for weeks or months. Some people with depression have symptoms that are not typical. You may be anxious or irritable possibly suddenly finding your memory or concentration is not what it was.

Understandably you can have depression at the same time as other illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer a heart attack or a stroke.

Unfortunately many people with depression don’t ask for help and about half of all depression is not properly treated.

Depression is not simply a state of mind or something you can will away with some effort. With depression, the most important thing is to recognise that you may have it and to see someone qualified to give you the right diagnosis and treatment. It is also important to remember that the hopelessness you may feel is a symptom of your depression, and it doesn’t mean that there really is no hope. It may help to confide in someone you trust, and to keep busy and meet up with people rather than stay at home on your own. Do not isolate yourself as this will only compound the overwhelming feelings.

So what happens in our bodies? No one knows for certain what causes depression. Doctors and researchers think that triggers can often play a role in the development of depression. For example, it can be set off by the death of a friend or partner even a beloved pet.

Depression has also been linked to changes in how the brain works. Thinking about this, it does makes sense, given that our emotions, thoughts, sleep, appetite and behaviour are regulated by our brain.

We know that the brain sends signals from nerve to nerve using neurotransmitters. But the levels of certain neurotransmitters in your brain called noradrenaline and serotonin are abnormal if you have depression, and they do not work properly

Some studies have found that family history can to play a part in depression., suggesting that it can be caused by genes.  But likewise there are studies proving that there is no correlation between family history of depression and its occurrence.

If you are in any way concerned that you may be depressed It is best to make an appointment with your local GP and have a good talk about how you are feeling as well as how your life is being affected.  Your GP will be able to direct you to the right resources to help you, sometimes you will need some medication to help you through this as well as dealing with any lifestyle pressures you are experiencing. The most important decision is to ask for help, you are not alone!

Please note: This is in no way medical advice. Always consult a medical professional.

Are we safe when we are most at risk?

I was waiting for a bus the other day when an elderly woman approached me and asked when the next bus was due – when I asked her which one she wanted and where she wanted to go she merely repeated the question as if I had not spoken.  Clearly she was confused and unaware of her surroundings – although on appearance she seemed a perfectly normal well-dressed person – eventually she wandered off to another bus stop where presumably she repeated her bus query.

What can be done about this sort of situation? Probably nothing – sad to say – there are just too many “seniors” of both sexes around with no immediate family to look after them or give them a home.  So they get through their days as best they can – relying in many cases on strangers to help them if they can.  So from that point of view there is no ready solution.  But one aspect – I believe – is possible to address and that is the disorientation as experienced by the elderly lady I encountered.

What about a bracelet or a necklace which contains an audio – similar to that of a car GPS system.  Giving the person at the touch of button relevant information such as the correct bus number to get them home and also their address.  So if they get confused they just press the button and get their details.  I realise that there could be a risk of this being used by people with bad intentions – I think the gain outweighs the risk.

End of Life Care Strategy – new report

Many of us are reportedly not having our end –of-life-wishes met. This is according to the new report done, three years after the previous governments End of Life Care Strategy. Seven out of ten people who were polled said that they would like to die at home instead of hospital, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and the Dying Matters Coalition stated that a major shake-up of end-of-life care is needed. This coalition is calling for the government to enter into discussions about dying and death as the figures from the report state that 59% of people are scared of dying in hospital.

Does this not beg the bigger question of why we are scared to go to hospital? None of us ‘like’ going to the doctors never mind the hospital, but should we not be relieved that a medical professional is taking care of us? Should we not be comforted by the nurses and excellent medical care, we know the food will not be wonderful but that is easily the least of our worries. The need to feel reassured when needing medical assistance regardless of the level is essential. Life is about living and not being scared to go to hospital or that because of our age we will not be listened to or even respected.

Eve Richardson, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition, said: ‘A new deal for people who are dying is needed.’ I vote that a new deal is needed for all older people while they are living.

Assisted suicide for the elderly

Did anyone else read that article in one of the Sunday papers recently suggesting that it would be an enormous help to the NHS – financially speaking – if people aged 70 or over who had an illness which wasn’t going to improve did a financial favour to the NHS and opted for assisted suicide? The rationale being that that way the NHS would be saved a considerable amount of money and the sick old person would have a speedy and dignified death.

Yes money would be saved but in this case I think money is a red herring – have we totally lost our humanity? There are cases where it would be a merciful release either because the person is in tremendous pain or in a vegetative state being kept alive by machines. I feel that it does not make a society more or less civilised to hasten the end of an old persons life – it is not an unusual concept in other societies – based always on the practical mindset – one must think of the cost to young people etc. although I do not think this is a valid comparison.

Also is it not necessary to assure old people that they are valued and loved and not wished away because they cost too much. Basically it comes down to the individual – if they are determined to end their life they will – society, science etc all the arguments are just that – talk – let people decide for themselves – in the end it is a personal decision.