All too often, I hear stories about how the sweet older lady down the street broke her hip and wrist during a fall. Not long after, her husband becomes ill and struggles to take care of her and their home. Ultimately, their children help them move into an assisted living facility and sell their home. There is much sorrow in situations like this, when the health of a loved one seems to rapidly deteriorate. Their independence, quality of life, and happiness sharply decrease after they can no longer maintain the life they once vibrantly lived. This sounds like the natural order of aging, but it doesn't have to be.
Many people submit to the ideas that they are getting old, loss of abilities is inevitable and they are susceptible to genetic predispositions. The problem with these ideas is many people give up being young way too early. This idea is a slippery slope towards allowing oneself to no longer challenge their body to be young and agile, leading to premature aging and fragility.
I've worked with many clients who have learned to live with aches and pains for years. During those years they stopped performing activities that pained their body. They formed strategies to avoid pain, including lowering a shelf to waist height rather than feel shoulder pain to reach higher. When I asked them to do a simple activity, such as taking a towel off a high shelf, they no longer had the ability to raise their arm that high. In examples like this, gradually, the ability to do activities of daily living is lost. Some seniors lived like this for decades, forgetting they used to be able to perform various activities until I helped them regain their ability.
Additionally, I've watched active middle-aged people stop being active when their career became too busy or upon retirement. When this happens, a variety of health problems and inabilities can materialize, leading to a decreased quality of life now and in the future. As some of my middle-aged clients watch their parents age, they are also beginning to recognize the importance of being able to maintain their own abilities and that their health is within their hands.
Multiple times a week I hear people in their twenties through eighty years of age saying phrases like, "I'm just getting old"; "Yeah, but no one can do that anymore"; "I have arthritis and other health problems that keep me from being active".
Age is just a number, it is not a determining factor of what your life should be like. A health problem is just an obstacle, it's not a permanent barrier. The key to improving the quality of your life is to improve your health, whether your age is forty or eighty. You can change the future of your health, independence, and happiness; starting now, you and I can work on it together.
Live each day like you are ageless,