Ask anyone when they reach a certain age if they are more fearful or less adventurous? My guess is that the older one gets the more apprehensive and fearful with each passing year we seem to be. When we were young there seemed to be no boundaries of the things we were able to do. As kids, we climbed trees, built tree houses, and essentially were impervious to injuries or low-level pain. But, now as we have matured and finally entered the golf cart reality of retirement, we realize we are not as young and spry as we once were.
Time has taken its toll on life and limb. In the Autumn of one's years, one realizes the importance that aging gracefully is essential for our well being. But, I have seen in too many instances that aging gracefully depends on factors that have paid out throughout one's life. One of the most important factors is health. Debilitating health concerns have hampered too many from experiencing life to the fullest. And when time marches on, our bodies don't respond as well as they did when we were younger. And, when we age we are more fearful. The fear of falling is a major concern as our bodies don't bounce as well anymore. Then there is our diet and vitamin deficiencies that play an all-important role of our weakening bones and immune system.
It has been proven that once our bones lack enough certain minerals and vitamins they weaken to the point that they break. There has been a lot of confusion about aging when a person falls and breaks a hip let's say. The misconception is that the hip was broken before the fall due to the lack of enough minerals and vitamins to maintain healthy bone structure. Aging gracefully requires our ability to be able to secure the proper nutrition, exercise, and mobility, both mentally and physically.
Too many of us today lack the means whether financially or otherwise to be able to secure the proper balance of life today. Too much work or not enough symbolizes a disproportion in our economy. As for seniors today that disproportion has manifested into a growing concern that directly affects us being able to age gracefully. We have seen it all across the country where retirement homes, assisted living facilities, senior day care centers, and nursing homes are only as good as the financial support they get. The multitudes that have been financially hampered are mainly those of us living on Social Security many of whom are not as fortunate to be able to afford the luxuries of a good retirement home or assisted living facility. They are literally trapped by the limited financial means they have. With the high cost of pharmaceuticals, food, and in general the cost of living today, too many can't afford even the basic necessities to be able to age with some sort of dignity.
When time marches on we all would like to have a serene and calm existence. When we were young should have been the period in our lives that taught us how to age and what we would need as the years go by. I think all of us learned mostly by watching our parents handle the years. In each era, there are cycles of events that mirror events that have already happened. Thinking back to my grandfather who went through World War I and then my father who weathered World War II all have had that period in their lives affect how they aged. I weathered a similar cycle in that the Vietnam conflict-affected my generation.
With each passing year, my ability to age with grace has diminished. That is probably true of a good number of seniors today. Though fortunate to have a body that is so far able to handle the stress of existence and the mental capacity to communicate with family and friends, I ponder, though, how long my good fortune will last. Will I be able to make with some sort of dignity to my dying day? Or will some unfortunate event cripple my endeavors to do just that?
It's thought-provoking to question how does one handle when time marches on. To age with grace with dignity intact is something we all would like to achieve. To live our remaining years in peace and harmony with the ability and capability to have an existence free from want, need, and fear would be as good as it gets. Is it possible that one day that reality will be available for everyone? The way things are being played out today, many of us who have experience when time marches on seriously doubt that mankind could ever bring that reality into existence. Then again, who knows?