The Acceptance of Ageing
“it’s not how old you are, it’s how you are old”
Due to our inherited genes, our environment, circumstances, lifestyle and much more, each of us handles ageing differently. However, the first step towards ageing is the acceptance of ageing, but acceptance can only stem when denial and anxiety about ageing stop permeating all aspects of life.
Society’s Perception Of Ageing
Society has always perceived ageing as an incurable disease and old age as a problem. Such perceptions have fostered a billion dollar industry which provides plastic solutions to delay ageing and its related symptoms.
The above approach to deal with ageing, isolating those handicapped with ageing issues, to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, instead of the comfort of home and family, Is how we belittle ageing. Hence, we find no role models for growing old gracefully, only for postponing it.
The Beginning Middle And End Of Life
Based on longer litespans, healthy living and the baby boomer revolution, we are learning to acknowledge the fact that lite has a beginning, middle and an end. Thus, we are learning to anticipate, plan and look forward to productive lives in our ‘silver season.’
Changing The Way The World Looks At Ageing
Gerontologists, geriatricians, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, social and cultural event reporters, nutritionists, dieticians, physicians, fitness specialists and spiritual leaders are spearheading a movement to change the way the world looks at ageing and deal with the various aspects around this issue. Hence, as a society, they are moving towards a new concept of ageing called ‘conscious ageing.’
Healthy Respect For Ageing
The Omega Institute is the driving force in the concept of spreading awareness about ‘Conscious Ageing.’ It is a new and unique means to look at and experience ageing in a manner that goes beyond the obsessiveness with youth and is demarcated by a healthy respect for the wisdom that comes with age. This thought has been interpreted in a dual light:
- Recognition and acceptance of the fact that the ageing process happens to all, It is real and a natural phase of the lifecycle.
- A reversal of society’s interpretation of ageing as an affliction will help channelize energy and funds towards improving the elderlies’ quality of life, in lieu of spending billions on processes that wall oft natural ageing.
Ageing gracefully is not easy. The difficulties arise from the unfamiliar sense of incompleteness from living and dying psychologically and spiritually, in a manner that isn’t satisfying or fulfilling.
Highlighting The Negative Aspects Of Ageing
Gerontologists say curiosity about ageing and death is increasing among the boomers and fear of losing one’s independence or getting a serious illness, looms large as one advances in years.
We find no role models for growing old gracefully, only for postponing it
Society is also obsessed with highlighting the negative aspects of ageing, whether it is the media, folklore or societal norms and expectations of behaviour from the elders. This leads to a negative stereotype imprinted in the mind, which elderlies strive to live up to.
The fear of ageing is powerful in creating just what is feared. The clock cannot be turned back, but the stigma attached to ageing can be removed, changes can be accepted and preparations can be made to look forward to a productive future ahead. Longevity without good health s meaningless, so it’s up to individuals to adopt lifestyles which help them age gracefully.
Keeping Fears Away
The fear of an inevitable memory loss is what leads to the decline in memory. Similarly, the dread of ageing takes a toll on the body and its associated systems. The present view of ageing is persistently negative, so much so that the aged and social institutions are blind to the tacts which state that individuals living today have aged better than their parents.
Until now, the conventional wisdom with regard to ageing or those approaching its border, need to be worried about consequences like rejection, isolation, loneliness, and mandated obsolescence.
However, now whole societies are geared towards the acceptance of ageing, the effects of getting old and giving a purpose to this final stage of life, is seen with a drastic shift in the demographics.
Ageing Is Always Harder For Women
On another note, ageing is harder for a woman than for a man as the physical ravages of age on a man are more easily accepted than on a woman.
Magazines are rite with what is to be avoided to age gracefully, the usual diet, exercise, sleep, focus, giving up addictive habits, dressing for comfort, being proud to show off the silver in your hair, reducing stress and so on. However, the most important aspect of ageing gracefully is self-acceptance and loving oneself.
In the words of Françoise Sagan – at a certain age, a woman has to be beautiful to be loved and after that, comes forth a time where she must be loved, to be beautiful. Women these days In their advancing years appear to be much loved by their friends, tightknit families and last but not the least, by themselves.