Aging Gracefully and More
Carmela Gobern delivered a speech on aging gracefully at the Riande Continental Hotel in Panama City on Father’s Day, June 17, 2007.
Aging is an accumulation of our life’s experience and changes. It is another stage of our development and one which is inevitable. We must therefore, learn ways of dealing with the changes that occur during the aging process
We have come to believe that we will all:
1. GET OLD
4. FRAIL AND
But the good news is: that is not necessarily so. Aging is not synonymous with slowing down, sickness, ill health and physical negatives. Our older years can be the time of our richest experiences, our deepest insights, our most complete individuality. We will die, of course, but today we can each take charge of our lives and live a long, healthy, exciting and productive life. Who decides that? We make that decision for ourselves. In other words: “How well we live and how well we age are in many ways up to us.” And we are going to be looking at this in more detail a few minutes.
I am taking this opportunity to share a prayer which supports the concept of aging gracefully.
THE SERENITY PRAYER.
God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change; COURAGE to change the things I can; and WISDOM to know the difference.
SERENITY REFERS TO PEACE, ACCEPTANCE, of those things that we cannot change: AGE – GENETICS – AGING PROCESS – ACCEPTING VARIOUS ROLES IN LIFE (change from a parent to a grandparent, – DEATH (accepting the loss of a loved one, coming to terms with our own mortality..It’s not if I die…it’s when I die…)
COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS THAT I CAN:
If you need a little encouragement to wear certain styles, cover up those gray hairs, lose weight, wear braces at an adult age, then ask God to give you that courage to change the things that we can.
CAN WE KNOW IF WE ARE AGING GRACEFULLY?
The answer is yes, we can definitely know if we are aging gracefully. How? There are physical, mental and spiritual requirements for aging gracefully. I am going to mention some of these requirements, and if you can identify yourself as following most of these requirements, you can (with all confidence) declare that you are aging gracefully.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR AGING GRACEFULLY:
1. We must remain active. (Challenge your brain, learn a new language, do crossword puzzles.) Staying active keeps the body strong and improves our energy level, mood, balance, flexibility, immunity and odds against chronic illnesses.
2. Exercising regularly is a must. It has been proven that the bodies of those individuals who do vigorous workouts are greatly stimulated to produce new brain cells. If you have not been exercising and you would like to begin a routine, remember you must consult your doctor first so that you can be confident that you are doing the correct exercise that your body requires.
3. Nurture social contacts (friendships) throughout life and seek out role models.
4. Eat healthy foods. Good nutrition plays an important role in the aging process…eat fresh fruits and vegetables; maintain a diet low in salt and low in fat. We need protein to maintain and rebuild muscles….calcium to strengthen our bones – fiber to accelerate waste exiting the body.
5. Drink lots of water. Why is drinking water so important? Our bodies are losing water constantly each through perspiration, urine and respiration. In addition to needing to replace that water so that we do not become dehydrated, water is essential for flushing out waste materials and replacing those needed for bodily process. Drink clean pure water.
6. Do some financial planning and as the saying goes: “save for a rainy day.”
7. Learn to relax. When we are relaxed we are open to different ways of looking at things. Relaxation gives us more ability to reflect on things and prevents us from acting impulsively.
8. Accept our limitations.
9. Love to be around children.
10. Reduce alcohol intake. We should all know by now that the constant consumption of alcoholic beverages reduces our immune system and depletes our bodies of vitamins and minerals.
11. Stop smoking creates a premature breakdown of your overall state of health, internally and externally. Cigarettes contain ingredients such as, acetone, ammonia, arsenic, formaldehyde, and nicotine, which are chemical compounds that are considered to be quite harmful to the human body. Smoking can also slow the healing and regeneration process of the body, which could be harmful if you ever needed surgery. There is nothing positive about smoking
12. Visit your doctor at least twice a year. Men, you must take a prostate exam once a year, women you must take a mammography every other year; male and female bone density test should be taken once a year to test for osteoporosis. Colonoscopy should be taken every four to five years.
MENTAL REQUIREMENTS FOR AGING GRACEFULLY:
Eliminate myths from our minds – Getting old does not mean you will be miserable, ineffective, useless, senile, unattractive, sickly and stubborn. Life can become better as we age.
Read books, magazines and other periodicals relate to the process of aging.
Focus on what you still can do and what you still have.
Be content with life.
Learn to flow with change.
Keep learning…anyone who keeps learning stays young.
Eliminate or control the toxic chemicals in our bodies. Our minds have a powerful effect on our bodies. See a problem and work on a solution. Don’t lose your cool, by yelling, shouting, getting upset, or worse yet…going into a depression.
SPIRITUAL REQUIREMENTS FOR AGING GRACEFULLY:
Develop an attitude of gratitude…thanking God in prayer for blessings, reading our Bible daily. There are some of us that are so busy adding up our problems, that we forget to count our blessings. The Bible tells us that in all things, we should give thanks. “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20
Learn to always express love: love animals, children, older persons, family members and most important ourselves.
Tears will happen. Endure, grieve and move on.
Have confidence and faith, they are necessary to accomplish goals.
The process of aging will involve not just one, but several factors: good nutrition, exercising, mental stimulation, good health care and learning to live well in spite of our illnesses.
Can a person who is ill age gracefully? Of course.
Billy Graham: “One of the joys of growing older is the opportunity for us to spend more time together. Sometimes we’ll just sit for hours, holding hands and talking or watching a video, or even just enjoying each other’s company in silence. After a lifetime of travel and being apart so much, we treasure this stage of our lives.”
To conclude…I trust that if we recognize the need to make a change in our lifestyle, that we will take the steps immediately. It is never too late to make a change. To be successful at aging gracefully, we must start to prepare at an early age. The earlier the better. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly not impossible to accomplish.