Ageing doesn’t discriminate; it’s part of life. I’m a baby boomer and life goes on. We all aim to age gracefully and healthily. However, it’s easier said than done. Most of us never thought of getting old when we were teenagers. During our adulthood, we were probably busy working and raising a family. We can only try and hope for the best because some disorders or ailments are mind-boggling. Why and how is it that some people develop Alzheimer’s disease, cancer or a debilitating disease? Conversely, others who lead an unhealthy lifestyle live to a ripe old age. We all undergo gains as well as losses during our adult years. In my opinion, unfortunately, the gains aren’t much. I have mellowed and become less judgemental. My responsibilities have diminished and I have more time to listen to jazz.
One of the first signs of ageing is our physical appearance. The common expression “Age is only a number” is widely used. Presumably, it is to lift the spirit of those old folks who lack hope. Ageing goes beyond that. I have been looking around at ageing celebrities and famous people. It’s depressing and sad. All their good looks have gone. Sure, they think they are able to overcome that by going for cosmetic surgery but frankly, it doesn’t really work especially if it’s surgery that has gone wrong. More importantly, their job requires them to look good. Hair loss caused by slow growth as we age, hereditary or other stressors is another drawback. We may not realize when we were young that dental hygiene is essential during our youth. Problems will surface as we advance with age.
To most of us, losing our youthful looks is not as important as losing our memory. Signs of dementia as we age are extremely distressful. I’m in my 60s and getting more forgetful which interferes with my daily life. Several years ago, my visits to a convalescent home were a humbling experience. Most of the elderly were staring into space, oblivious and incapacitated.
Musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are common among ageing adults. These disorders affect our mobility and physical independence which is devastating. From time to time, I experience excruciating pain in my right knee in the morning but it subsides before mid-day. Some of my baby boomer friends are afflicted with gout which is difficult to control. There are some remarkable cases in which old people are physically active. Ida Keeling who is 104 from New York is a sprinter. She was 67 when she started running (The Guardian, April 7th 2019). There are many old, strong, and healthy people enjoying life. Members of The Rolling Stones, a British rock band are septuagenarians except for Charlie Watts. They are still “rocking”.
Malaysia is expected to experience population ageing in 2020, when the percentage of the population aged 65 years and over reaches 7.2 percent (Department of Statistics Malaysia, July 2021). Our objectives and priorities change as we age. It looks like health takes precedence over all else. Sadly, most of the time we never know where we’re headed even if we are cautious with our lifestyle. For now, it’s better just to live life the best way we can.
“I’ve been out walking. I don’t do much talking these days. These days I seem to think a lot. About the things that I forgot to do. And all the times I had a chance to”- excerpt from the song; These Days, by Jackson Browne.
Chuck is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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