10 tips to remain alert and happy in old age
Everyone has to become old one day and old age is definitely a period of concern as there is a gradual loss of physical and mental capabilities of an individual and options to live a happy and healthy life start diminishing day by day. Undoubtedly, old age is a very big challenge. The question automatically arises as how to face and cope up with these challenges just by sitting idlly or doing some constructive work as allowed by ones physical conditions. I believe the latter option is a better way to lead any life in general and the old age in particular.
We will discuss and ponder over some ways and methods by which one can try to make oneself more alert, happier and have a more fruitful life during this challenging phase.
Old age dwelling
If you are an elder where do you live?
1. Health is a primary concern
This is definitely the top priority as good health is the source of all enjoyments in our life. The interesting thing in this respect is that to attain good health we might have to refrain from some of the indulgences that we were regulary having during our young age and were never bothering to stop them. The reason we survived all through that was simply the good resistance and immune system that we had possessed during those times. Yes, that time we could afford that extra indulgence and luxury. Now, we are older and any such indulgence can adversely affect our health. It is now time that we have to bring that elenent of discipline in our life which we always yearned for but missed miserably when we were young. Today we have to inculcate some elements of discipline and regularity in our life if we really want to have a good time in our old age.
The life in old age ideally starts with an early morning walk outside the house and ends with a post dinner stroll of 10- 15 minutes. In old age rigourous gym schedule and other exersions are not required. Short walks would suffice only thing is continuity is to be maintained. In old age the day is too long and sometimes night is also a long journey of past recollections and memories. To minimise complexities on that fronts some element of tiredness has to come in the body and it would only come through a number of actions taken inside the house itself. Going from one room to kitchen and having a glass of water is itself is an exercise in the old age but sometimes we skip it thinking that when we go to collect the newspaper then we will take a glass of water also. Why we are skipping the opportunity of a short walk by merging the two in one and later complaining that we do not have opportunity to walk and are locked in the house the whole day. We have to change our mindset. In old age we can not sometimes even hold the umbrella in the rains so how can we go for a walk outside. Remember many small walks can add to make it equal to a good long walk.
Personal discipline, when it becomes a way of life in our personal, family, and career lives, will enable us to do some incredible things.
- Zig Ziglar
2. Food and drinks in old age
One of the most troubling things that one has to adopt in old age is the restrictions on food and drinks. If one can learn that one can definitely learn to live contendedly in old age. Why these restrictions? Simply because our digestive and absorption systems have gone old and willl reject the junk and spicy food immediately. So choices are now limited but if one can adhere to them they will bring the desired benefits very fast.
It is not only the quality of food which matters but the quantity also becomes a matter of concern as even a little overeating can create an immediate visit to the doctor. The rule of thumb is eat only till you still feel to take more. That is the point where one has to stop. If one can not do that drink a glass full of water before the meals. Believe me it helps.
Drinks in moderate quantities are always welcome and even advised by the doctors. But boozing more for fun and for long periods will be an adverse thing for the mental health as well as for the body. Too much drinking makes the cognitive faculties of a person weak and his self control and discipline are severely affected. One must be cautious on this account.
3. Chase your hobbies or inculcate new ones now
This is something which many elders are already doing and reaping the benefits. Those who are not, can still inculcate them in themselves. Remember, pursuing hobbies is the easiest and most pleasurable thing. We have to give it prime importance in our life especially in old age. One has to choose hobbies as per ones temperament as every one has a different set of hobbies. It can be even in the nature of acquiring knowledge but hobby is hobby. It gives immense happiness and satisfaction to its owner.
4. Think of doing some voluntary work
Have you ever worked voluntarily to help others rather to work for a remuneration? If yes, you are a lucky guy as you might be knowing the happiness and contentment one derives out of it. In fact there are many ways a person can enjoy voluntary work in his or her old age. Like some community work in the neighbourhood, giving food and shelter to people during disasters, helping each other in an old home or surroundings where many seniors live, working in public parks like maintaining flowers and plants etc. Those who have never done that should give it a try. It changes our whole attitude towards life. Try it. It is worth going for.
5. Play some indoor mind games
Do you solve crosswords? Do you attempt Sudoku puzzles? If not try them now. They are not only a good passtime but shrpen our minds even in old age. Only care to be taken is that one has to stay in these activities for a short time. Sometimes these are addictive and remaining in them for a long time is a unhealthy practice. There are many online games which sharpen the brains. Monopoly, word games, scrabble erc are some of these worth trying.
6. Find friends, find company
In old age there is nothing like good friends and good company. You can have them easily because there are many good elders who are also in search of same.
I am a retired person in my sixties and in the morning I go to a nearby park where we socialise with other people coming there and for about an hour we enjoy the company there much to our pleasure and satisfaction. In fact we have a WhatsApp group where people interact with each other also and plan for get to gethers or things like that.
Being introvert is not a good attribute and especially in old age it makes the things worst. One must come out of ones enclosure and mix with people and that is essential for distracting the mind from depressive sentiments and tendencies.
7. Revisit your passion
What was your passion when you were young? Singing, photography, reading, writing? Revisit it now when you have time to focus for it. If you are afraid that you alone can not do it, join a group. In old age joining a group makes sense. It gives an identity to the individual. You will feel homely in a group.
You had an ambition to write and become a writer one day. But you feel that your work might be rejected because of the quality issues. Do not worry. Go to some discussion channels or forums in internet. Share your views, read others views. It is a very good technique to sharpen ones writing skills. Try it. It is worth the time spending in it. This is what many budding writers attempt.
8. Join an evening club
Evening is the time of the day when old people living aloof or even in a family start to get those errie feelings of loneliness and isolation. A call from the friends regarding what time one is reaching the club is very assuring, rejuvenating, and soothing in such situations. It is suggested to join a nearby club where one can just walk and pass some time with the friends. Clubs are the great places for information exchange. You will definitely gain something there.
9. Naturopathy does miracles even in old age
Many people have benefited by the Naturopathy and it is very applicable in old age also. Some common tips are -
(A) Do not take water immediately after food. Wait at least 15 to 30 minutes. Of course, little sips of water can very well be taken during meals.
(B) You are old now. Do not jump or rush unnecessarily. Move slowly and steadily. You have enough time in hand. What is the hurry?
(C) Adopt anti-inflammatory and immune increasing items in your food consumption. Green tea, ginger, black pepper, basil, turmeric, lemon etc are some examples. There are many more.
(D) Eat your food slowly taking time. Let us help our digestive system in this way.
(E) Eat fruits before meals so that they are digested well before the main meals.
(F) Include and adopt Yoga and breathing exercises in your life style.
(G) Do you take bed tea in the morning? Take 2-3 glasses of lukewarm water before enjoying your bed tea or coffee. It is amazing. You will feel the difference soon.
(H) There are many such things in Naturopathic doctrine. Try them. They are simply miraculous.
(I) Do not remain in same posture while reading, playing indoor games or viewing a program in TV or mobile. In old age it is more than necessary to change posture often. It helps in reducing the stiffness in muscles and ligaments. Change posture as frequently as possible.
Do you believe in Naturopathy?
10. Develop a stress less environment
Stress is a thing which affects a large percentage of people on Earth. This is a silent killer. By keeping oneself occupied in constructive things and by remaining in positive territories, one can reduce the stress levels considerably. Yoga and good life style help in reducing stress levels. Self control and calmness in life are also very instrumental in containing stress levels. These are some ways to reduce the stress and these remedial measures are very essential in old age when tolerance and endurance diminishes.
Many people use prayers and reciting of religious poems for stress reduction. It is in fact, akin to meditation. Atheists might mock it but believe me, whatever be the reason it works. It brings that solace which all the luxuries of the world can not.
Light exercises in the old age
It is not possible to do rigorous exercises during the old age but light exercises can be taken up easily. One thing which I can share from my own experience is that we have to do a number of light exercises each for 3-4 minutes and if we undertake about 15-20 of them it will totally take an hour in completing them and as we change the exercises one after other every 3-4 minutes, we do not get bored with the monotony.
Let me give a set of such exercises for the benefit of all the seniors and at the same time there is no binding to do them only because one can customise them by replacing some of them by own exercises being undertaken by the individual. So my set starts with lying down on a tough mattress on a flat surface or a thick carpet if one is doing them on the floor, and the the sequence starts like -
- Lie down, facing up, move the fingers outward and bring back, repeat 5/10/15 times as per the convenience. Now move the fingers inward and repeat in same way.
- Keep both feet together and keeping the heals together and fixed in their place rotate the feet clockwise and then anticlockwise 5/10/15 times as much as possible.
- Keep both feet together, raise one leg above and bring it back, then raise other leg and bring it back. Repeat 10/15 times.
- Keep both feet together, rotate one leg clockwise for 5/10 times and then anticlockwise for 5/10 times. Repeat this for 2-3 times.
- Now bend the knees and embrace left leg in both the hands and pull towards chest and release back. Repeat the same with right leg. Do for 10/15 times.
- Now take both the hands below the waist and keep them flat in the curved part on the back and take breath and press downwards. Do it 5/10 times. This one is very good for back strengthening.
- Now turn over and rest on the belly and keep everything in touch with the flat surface and raise the chest and head slowly up and stop if you feel strain on your back because of the bending. Repeat for 5/10 times. Fat persons may have discomfort and consult a physiotherapist before attempting this one.
- Now stand up and move and rotate the left hand clockwise and anticlockwise 5/10 times. Repeat with right hand.
- Stretch both the hands up and stretch and bring back. Do it 10/15 times.
- Raise left leg up by bending at knees and then keep it back and then raise right leg up and keep it back. Move the hands back and forth while doing this and if you cannot go out when it is raining or hot outside, this is a good substitute of walking. Do it 200/300 times.
As per my speed all that finishes up in an hour and is a good workout in old age.
Discipline and good habits are the gateway to a happy life. The quality of life can be greatly enhanced with simple living but occupying oneself in positive territories. Old age is very challenging but becomes easier to maneovre if we follow some good patterns of living.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Umesh Chandra Bhatt