How To Age Gracefully !
In the good old days when Joint families were the norm, there was shelter and place for all the members and the elder members of the family were given a lot of respect.
In the good old days when Joint families were the norm, there was shelter and place for all the members and the elder members of the family were given a lot of respect. The eldest member normally a male took the entire responsibility of the family matters in his hands ( occasionally there was also an elderly female member who was looked up although it was rare ) and saw to it that the financial and other household functions were carried out without any hitch.
But with education, job facilities and financial independence available to the younger members things began to change gradually and now we see people living in nuclear families in cities away from their ancestral homes and the older generation either is forced to live with them ( when they have no shelter or money or too old to care for themselves or when the youngsters need someone to care for their children) or they live in their old homes by themselves.
We hear of many cases where the old parents wait to spend time with their children and grand children and if they are lucky they may get to meet them once or twice a year during vacations unless they all live in the same city. Even when that is the case, busy lives and lifestyle keeps these interactions and meetings to the minimum.
Ten useful Tips
I am listing down a few tips which would help the older generation to live a contented life of their own with some prior planning and changing their mind-set and attitude.
1, Most old people tend to depend far too much on their children and when they are unable to attend to them feel depressed. Instead make sure that you live independently and keep good relationships with your children, helping them out in their hour of need instead of making yourself unhappy and them guilty by staying with them.
2, Don't make your children responsible if they are unable to care for you since life and circumstances may be against them to do so. With experience we learn how difficult and challenging life is and instead of being a gauntlet , be a supportive force who can be depended upon by being patient and pleasant with your children.
3, During your productive life make sure that you save enough for your old age .It is imperative that you save right from the early ages so that you don't need to depend on anyone for your personal expenses. This also includes buying a house in your name or your spouse's name and looking after it well.
4, Have many friends of all age groups and be social. Since you and your spouse are free go out to the park, cinema ,temple, parks and also for holidays and tours to get the best out of life.
5, Don't compare your lifestyle with others and feel that life has treated unfairly. There is nothing more distressing for yourself and others around you than be in the company of a person who is perpetually complaining and grudging others. It is best not to have any expectations from anyone including your children and take life as it comes.
6, Another golden rule is Never meddle in your children's lives , let them live their own lives without any interference and so called well- meaning advise. Unless asked for do not give any advice. If they have trust and regard for you ( again depends on how well you have handled your children during their growing years) they will automatically share all their sorrows, joys and doubts with you.
7, Do not ever use old age as a shield and demand respect, care or attention from others . The golden rule of life still is 'Give respect and take respect '. You need to command and not demand respect and attention from others especially your children. Don't force them to do anything against their wishes since such feelings don't last and over a period of time when you keep on doing this , their feelings toward you may turn into hatred .
8, Listen to other people - friends and relatives who are good at advising and coaxing others to do something that may or may not be in their best interest . Listening is fine but any decision you take should be based on your own evaluation of the situation and after being fair in your evaluations.
9, We see many people spending hours and days together in temples or in prayer rooms begging god to take care of them. If , instead if they spend their free time amidst nature, they would probably be in a much happier state of mind.
10, Last but not least remain healthy by keeping fit and eating a balanced diet. Health is the greatest wealth an individual can have , so never give up on life, stay inspired, active and interested in everything around you instead of being morose and unhappy.
We all have to go through the life cycle , so when you are young, you have to plan for your later years since it is not possible to do much at that stage because of physical incapability. However, I would like to point out that most of the very rich industrialists are well above 75 years of age, leading active lives and contributing positively. It is the individuals' attitude that counts and once you develop the right spirit and frame of mind, sky is the limit.