I seem to find myself surrounded by people who are getting older & have health issues, to some extent, it’s inevitable as most of my friends are over 15 years older than me, however, it’s at a stage now where I feel that all our conversations, wherever we go are centred around health and if I’m honest I can feel it pulling my energy down
I love my friends & family so I certainly don’t want to not see them, but whilst I know ageing is a fact of life, I’ve found it challenging emotionally, it can affect us in many ways, so are you in the same boat? If so maybe you’re experiencing some of these things:
- You may find yourself avoiding contact with people in poor health so you don’t have to keep listening to it.
- You may dread calls from friends when all they want to talk about is Dr’s appointments, medication, medical procedures etc.
- You feel like you’re in a hospital ward whenever you visit them.
- Your world feels like it has shrunk & that you should have your own parking space or chair at the surgery or hospital!
- Your loved ones don’t seem to have the energy or desire to do the things they used to love anymore.
- Your loved ones can’t physically do the things they used to, whether this is temporary or permanent.
- They either take the Dr’s words as gospel without taking ownership of their health or they simply disregard it completely because they refuse to make lifestyle changes such as diet/exercise/giving up smoking or drinking or they act like they’re the Dr & refuse to take the meds!
- Some days you simply can’t find the energy to argue back or reason with them even though you want the best for them.
- You ask how they are and they tell you chapter & verse, EVERY time! My dad used to do this, he’d even forget he’d told you it all so it got repetitive!
- They are depressed or weepy & plain fed up with being prodded, poked, and generally being in the system.
In many ways there’s no solution to this situation, especially if you’re the one helping a loved one deal with poor health, here’s the solutions I am using with my loved ones, maybe they’ll work for you;
Remain positive & upbeat, find humour in the situation rather than getting angry, impatient, bored etc, this actually will make it more bearable, the more stressed/cross you get the harder it becomes.
Have fun with any health care professionals you interact with, it’s hard for them too and they are doing this most days!
If you’re meeting up with friends with health issues, find ways to get the conversation onto other subjects, find them things to look forward to rather than simply being focused on their health issues.
Find ways to empower your loved ones so they don’t feel powerless, this can happen when dealing with health professionals who seem to forget we are humans and not just another name on their list or a set of symptoms!
Discuss alternatives to treatment, medication etc rather than force it on them, they may need a few gentle prods to change something such as drinking more water or moving more, try to make it fun & positive & use social power to help you ‘Georgie’s dad had the same issue as you dad and he did XYZ & was really pleased’. People like to know real-life stories of people who’ve taken action or been through something similar with positive results. Inform & educate, don’t preach or brow-beat.
Small doses of your loved ones may be less stressful than a long visit, so find ways to make your contact with them less stressful for you like more visits or calls but shorter in duration.
Talk about old times, this will light them up and invigorate them too, if you have photos get them out and go through them or put them on a digital photo frame so they can view them there.
Sometimes we need to vent so give them the space to do this, they’ll feel better for it, they don’t necessarily need anything from you, they just want to be heard.
Find new things for them to try, encourage them to be social, it may just need to be different to how they used to socialise such as a church social club, card nights, being the teacher at a club instead of the doer, our seniors have a lot of knowledge to bring to the other generations whether that’s cooking, sewing, carpentry etc.
Don’t get hung up on the fact things are changing & how this upsets you, this just makes it harder to deal with so accept it whilst making the best you can of it. Focus on positives not negatives.
Create new memories that you will be able to look back on with joy not pain.
I’ve found that for me, shifting my mindset away from feeling sad about the impact of health & ageing really helps, instead I have chosen to focus on the positives & do what I can to help those around me in whatever way I can, even if it’s only in little ways. With my positive head on I can make more of our time together.
Let me know if this has helped you.
#ageing #health #mindset #senior #seniorliving