Getting older brings a variety of frustrations. In the mornings it takes longer to get yourself ready for the day. Clothes once slipped on in a moment have to be engineered onto your body, laces on your shoes take longer to get tied, its not so easy to find the gap in your jacket to put your arm through. It can involve a lot of hopping about before the process is completed. And then you go from one room to another in search of something you need, and then forget what it is, retrace your steps and then hopefully remember. You walk more slowly than you used to, foot carefully following foot, doing with care what once you never gave a thought to. Looking ahead these days it becomes more difficult to focus your eyes, and as a bus approaches you can be the last to recognise that it’s the one you want as you join the queue to board it.
You meet people who may know you more readily than you recognise them, and a long conversation can take place as you decode it and recognition slowly dawns and you perhaps even remember names as well as connections.
I had such an experience recently as two very friendly people who clearly knew quite a lot about me started a three way dialogue in which I was a very stumbling third party. Only when it was over and with help from my wife, did I fully know who I had been socialising with. Names are so important and whilst often one is aware of the person, unless you can trace their label they are likely to doubt that you know them. It can involve a whole lot of recollection – places, moments, events, before you get there. All part of the memory game.
And then there are aches, pains and general physical deterioration! This can be a problem – is my hearing getting worse or is it that I am finding it difficult to concentrate on what people are saying? Is my persistent tiredness at the end of the day the inevitability of age or should such things as these mean yet another visit to the doctor?
We should have an open forum on ‘age management’, although at the moment the term seems restricted to issues raised when people work beyond retirement age .
I am amazed at how many very elderly people do manage. I see some of them slowly and with great carefulness, moving around our city, still getting to the shops but with great difficulty and – as I now realise – often in great pain. Others maintain a lively life style, determined to resist the limitations of age. But go to bed earlier than they used to!
So it may be frustrating, even alarming, this ageing business ….but all the time we need to be kind to ourselves.