“I’m going to tell you a secret that I’m afraid to tell my kids,” 83-year old Kate confided during one of my routine visits to check on her health. As her care manager for the past two years, I had been with Kate through a couple of health scares, and had helped her move into an assisted living facility before the pandemic struck.
“I have a gentleman friend and just as soon as it’s safe, we’re going to go out to dinner. Isn’t that great?” Kate’s eyes were twinkling and I smiled back at her.
“Sure! How did you meet him?” I asked, assuming he was a resident at the facility.
“Oh, on Facebook,” Kate said casually. “We dated in college years and years ago. I looked him up one night, and it turns out he’s also been widowed for a long time. He lives about an hour from here, and we’ve been doing video calls every day for a month now. I think my kids will be shocked!”
“Shocked that you reconnected after all these years?” I asked.
“Well, yes. But also I think they just assume I’m too old to be interested in dating again. They would also be surprised I can make my way around a computer pretty good. Sometimes they think I don’t keep up with the times, but I do.”
That got me to thinking about the myths many people have about aging, and the elderly in general. Many of these perceptions are negative: old people can’t learn new things; they’re frail; they get senile; they’re a burden. These stereotypes are not only untrue, but they make us fear and dread aging. While it’s true that our physical and mental capabilities may change, it doesn’t mean we’re doomed to be weak, lonely, and unhappy with life. In fact, just recently one of my 90-year old clients decided it was time to quit smoking. Her friends told her she was “too old” to quit, but quit she did, and her health began to improve.
No matter your age, it isn’t too late to make choices that improve your emotional and physical health. For some seniors, it’s taking up a new hobby, a class, or other activity to stay mentally sharp. For others, it’s improving or maintaining physical fitness through regular exercise and activities such as yoga or dancing. Strong social connections boost mental health and can even strengthen the immune system. As a care manager, I help aging adults have the best quality of life possible, and that means tossing negative myths about aging to the wayside.
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 850-894-6720 or email us at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to assist!
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