A Guide to Getting Old

Getting Old Is Not For Sissies

“If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself” That’s an easy, throwaway line, good for a quick chuckle, but there’s an element of truth in those words. But, when you were young, or if you’re young now, has anyone told you what to expect? Do you know what to do now so you can have a productive and enjoyable old age?

Buzzfeed has a simulator outfit so young people can enjoy the many treats and benefits of old age. Are you young and scoffing at the infirmities of old age? Yeah, I was like that not so very long ago, but somehow the decades slipped by all too fast. My generation, the “Baby Boomer Generation,” has enjoyed better health, a better standard of living and greater longevity than any before. Now, our politicians are trying to dismantle the social safety nets. Baby Boomers generation may be the first generation to see a decline in the standard of living, health and even lifespan of their children. This might be something to consider when you cast a vote; do you want a big insurance company to make health choices for you based on profitability? On the other hand, how about the people you vote for or against in government? When was the last time you heard about someone being denied treatment by Medicare? Now, when was the last time you heard about someone being denied coverage by an insurance company? Could you convince an insurance company to change their mind when you’ve been denied coverage? Death can be very profitable for business when medical care costs a lot. These are the political issues we face every day and I welcome anyone to give us examples of why we should abandon Medicare for private, for profit insurance.

80 Years in 40 Seconds

Cataract

Source

What do you have to look forward to in old age? EYESIGHT

1. Eyesight, Buzzfeed places a pair of goggles on a young lady to simulate poor vision. You can look forward to becoming farsighted, as the lens in your eyes loses flexibility. You start out by holding the book farther away, but it won’t be long until your arms are too short. Time to see the eye doctor and find out that “Presbyopia” (The loss of the ability to focus the eyes) is only one of the conditions that loom on the horizon. Now you have problems with glare but you still need more light to see as well as you used to. Floaters are annoying, (floaters are the harmless cellular debris floating in your eyes that may obstruct vision) but if you see flashes or sparks of light, get to an Ophthalmologist right away, this is a sign on retina damage. Many of us, especially women after menopause, may find that the ability to produce tears has reduced resulting in dry scratchy eyes, eye drops will help. If you live long enough you will develop cataracts, this is when the clear lenses in your eyes start to discolor, resulting first in a loss of color perception; eventually the lenses will become completely opaque leaving you blind. This is correctable with a fairly simple surgery, a surgery covered by Medicare until it is turned over to private insurers. If you’re otherwise in good health, these may be the only eyesight problems you have to deal with. On the other hand, there are complication from high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, any family history of disease and plenty of others which can show up as problems in eyesight such as age related macular degeneration. If you’re pumping up and using steroids to get bigger cataracts are in your future along with lots of other problems.

Tom Rush on getting old

Ear Trumpet For You?

If you can't afford a hearing aid there's always an ear trumpet
If you can't afford a hearing aid there's always an ear trumpet | Source

Hearing,

Hearing loss, or “presbycusis”, is the slow loss of hearing that occurs as people get older. The good news is that we don’t all lose our hearing with age. Smokers, people with a family history of hearing loss, some medicines and repeated exposure to loud noises all contribute to hearing loss and or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Tiny hairs inside your ear pick up sound waves and send signals that the brain interprets as sound. Hearing loss occurs when the tiny hairs inside the ear are damaged or die. There are treatments which provide some help, but the hair cells do not regrow most hearing loss is permanent. The best treatment for hearing loss is prevention; simple foam ear plugs can cut damaging volumes down to acceptable levels. If you like concerts with damaging volumes of sound start saving now for your first hearing aid. Once the damage is done hearing aids may help but these cost thousands and some people may be helped by cochlear implants. Start saving while you’re young; private insurance and Medicare are both unlikely to help with the cost of hearing aids or implants.

Many older people survive on crackers and tea because they can't taste food like this paellas
Many older people survive on crackers and tea because they can't taste food like this paellas

Taste

1. , Buzzfeed didn’t touch on this but the sense of taste tends to decline with age as the taste buds degenerate. All of us have heard our older relatives or friends complain about how food doesn’t taste as well as it used to, years ago; some of this is true but some of this is about the loss of taste. Many times the loss of taste is actually a loss in the sense of smell. Anything which interferes with the lining of the nose can affect the sense of smell. The loss of taste and smell can then make someone less interested in eating. This can lead to a poor diet with any of many nutritional problems; older people tend to have a poor appetite to begin with and so quickly lose weight. Certain illnesses can also cause a change in taste.

Source

Shoulders.

1. Shoulders are the most mobile joint in the body and the problems with shoulders can come on at any age, mostly from overuse. There is of course an increased amount of shoulder surgery with age; the rotator cuff is especially prone to problems which accumulate due to age. There is little that can be done in youth to prevent shoulder problems but an education helps. If you’re doing heavy manual labor you are doing damage that will show up later in life, so the way to avoid that is by getting an education.

Source

Back Problems

Buzzfeed has their young lady in a kind of corset, forcing her into a stooped position; unfortunately this is all too common in the older population. Back pain is among the most commonly reported symptoms in the elderly and osteoarthritis, disc degeneration, osteoporosis and lumbar spinal stenosis, all increase with age. If you start while you’re young you can actually avoid the worst symptoms of osteoarthritis; the less strain you put on your joints now the less likely they are to wear out later. Controlling your weight takes the stress off of many of your joints. Learn to use good posture, and if a joint starts to bother you, rest it immediately. Avoid doing the same activity repeatedly, that’s not easy advice for a worker but when you switch activities you relieve some of the stress on joints which have time to heal. Degenerative or osteoarthritis is caused by excessive wear. Spinal stenosis is a painful compression of the nerves in the spine, usually caused by degenerative arthritis. Osteoporosis can be controlled with diet and supplements while you’re young, wait until you’re old and it’s much more difficult to reverse. Observe good practices while you’re young and you may avoid problems when you’re old.

A Glowing Healthy Tan?

You can look like this lovely lady, if you spend enough working on your tan
You can look like this lovely lady, if you spend enough working on your tan

Skin, Wrinkles and Melanomas.

Every day your skin rejuvenates itself, shedding old cells and growing new ones. I n youth your skin cells regenerate quickly, but that slows down as you age, beginning as early as your twenties. A healthy glowing tan now, whether from the sun or a tanning bed will give you a nice wrinkled, leathery appearance in old age with age spots thrown in as an added bonus. And, there’s always the boosted chance of skin cancer, caught early enough skin cancer just leaves scars on your wrinkles, ignored and skin cancer will kill. Avoid the sun now and use a sunscreen and you can avoid looking like the Tibetan Lady in the photo.

George Carlin on old age (CRUDE)

Conclusion

The time to prepare for old age is while you are young and oblivious to what awaits you in later years. Healthy habits in youth will lead to healthy aging. Following a balanced diet, avoiding sun exposure, proper excersise and avoiding loud noises will pay off eventually. If the conservatives get their way in the political arena, there will be no Medicare or Medicaid for the younger generation so the time to act is now.

Technology to the rescue; MIT has been doing research for years to find ways to alleviate the worst aspects of old age. As with everything else in this world, having money is key, and if you do have enough cash, there will be new technologies that will help you remain active well into your dotage. Or, you could change your life style now, and preserve your abilities for many years.

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Comments 18 comments

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

Oh, peeshaw! 25 year olds think they will be 25 forever!!! Good hub!


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

O-MY

L-OOKS

D-IED

But,I'm still alive and kicking !


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida Author

Yep, I was gonna be 25 forever too, or die young and avoid all these aches and pains. Oops!

Thanx for commenting Bobbi and Someone


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Well, I didn't think I would be twenty-five forever, I just thought I would always look and feel that way. Oh well.

up/useful and funny


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx faye

Yeah, as they say; "The best laid plans of mice and men"


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

Dear Chef Lee,

I thoroughly enjoyed this! I may not look so young to others, but when I look in the mirror, I see the 25 year old. Anyone that disagrees must have presbyopia!

And although my doctor may disagree and believe it is an issue, I have no problem tasting food! It's all still good!

And while gravity may be a problem, at least I know that gravity is still one thing that has not been affected by man's interference!

You always offer such keen insight. Thank you!


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx Jillian, Yes gravity is the great equalizer. It's funny when I see old friends from high school on Facebook, who are all these old gray haired people?


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

I just hope I continue to feel good, control my bowel and bladder and remain mobile with age. They gray hair and crows feet aren't the worst thing in the world.


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx Mimi

Yes, I'm not ready for Depends yet myself but someone should have told me what not to do while I was still young. I would have ignored them tho', old age happens to someone else


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

You are funny.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 12 months ago from Long Island, NY

What a great hub! You are so right that people need to be educated about aging. This is something that's lacking in our school years.

People don't realize that the things they do to enjoy life and suit their ego, will eventually cause trouble later in life. Such as using steroids, as you mentioned, will cause cataracts later on. Also, eating enjoyable foods may not necessarily be heathy foods. And that shows up later too, such as with cardiac issues.

I try to educate myself so I can live a long and heathy life, but I see a lot of my friends are in denial. They make themselves sicker and sicker. I see the progression. They could do something about it if they wanted to. They could start by reading your hub.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 12 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

You are so right that we need to prepare to get old. All those beautiful narrow high heels have ruined my feet. I tell my family to wear comfortable shoes, and the young ones look at you like you are crazy. Those who are vain about glasses are ruining their eyes. What fools we can be when we are young. Eating all the wrong foods can mess up your health. Tell that to a young person. However, keep telling them. Thanks for bringing these issues to our attention. It is never too late. Sharing, Blessings, Audrey


chefsref profile image

chefsref 12 months ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx Glenn

Yep, my years of denial caught up with me, first with diabetes and now with prostate cancer.

Diabetes was predictable due to family history ans bad eating habits but prostate cancer was a surprise. There is some evidence that high fat dairy consumption promotes prostate cancer, and I found this out AFTER I was diagnosed. Oops (again)


chefsref profile image

chefsref 12 months ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx Audrey

Yeah, I was invincible until I hit 60.

Lung cancer was supposed to be my Waterloo for 30+ years of smoking but instead I got metastatic prostate cancer and there were no warnings about that!


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 12 months ago from Long Island, NY

chefsref - In reference to your reply Lee, I'm sorry to hear about your prostate cancer. I've heard that too about fat promoting it. saturated fat in particular. And saturated fat causes cardiac problems as well. What we really need is a book of all these facts that people can read early in life so they can prepare for older age, at least those who are willing to make the changes for a healthier future.

I also made a mistake. I didn't know that as we get older the rotator cuff can easily be torn by lifting heavy objects. I guess we all have done something that we wish we could reverse.

As for you, I hope you'll be getting surgery for your prostate. I know two people who had successful outcomes after having their prostate removed. Best of luck to you.


chefsref profile image

chefsref 12 months ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx Glenn

My cancer is too far advanced for surgery but with the right therapies I still have years to live.

As far as saturated fats, I've always had low cholesterol levels is spite of diet so I thought I was safe.

You're right we need an easy source for all this info so we can know how we are messing up our bodies.

(Although we would probably ignore it)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 12 months ago from Long Island, NY

In reference to your last reply Lee, I wish you all the best and hope that the therapies you're on continue to keep your cancer under control.


chefsref profile image

chefsref 12 months ago from Citra Florida Author

Thanx Glenn

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