Q: We are in our early 80s. We use excuses and often procrastinate when we are invited to participate in community activities. We used to be quite involved but have lost our motivation.
We are relatively healthy and financially comfortable, but we realize we are isolating ourselves. We do not have family or children to deal with. I don't know what I would do without my wife. What changes should we make?
A: You may be doing well, but there are some considerations you should think and talk about now. We all eventually face mortality, and life becomes a different reality after losing a partner. We stay involved with society because we need help navigating our loss.
We are not born to be alone. We need companions to talk and share our feelings with and know that others care for us. Your challenge now is to reset and make a commitment to regain your social connections.
A retirement community is ideal because you can connect with neighbors and friends more easily. In many cases, when we are left alone we find it difficult to care for ourselves. Friends can help by assisting you with your responsibilities and supporting your needs.
Share these thoughts with your spouse, and anticipate the future. Now is the time to rejoin the community and stay engaged and connected. You will appreciate the effort later. — Doug
BEING ACTIVE WITH AGE
Q: I've always been very active and loved the outdoors. For me, the hardest thing about aging is that I find it harder and harder to exert myself physically. I have all the usual aches and pains, and it feels like they're preventing me from fully living my life.
I'm wary of losing my ability to enjoy and experience the world. What should I do to prevent this?
A: You've already done the most important thing for keeping fit with age, which is having maintained your health consistently throughout your life. This puts you at a major advantage over many others your age and will allow you to remain active.
However, you must comply with your body's changing needs, and that means an adjustment in your habits and routines. Pay attention to your aches and pains, and be kind to yourself. You may want to find an exercise companion, whose company you enjoy and who can help you stay healthy.
Be especially careful of the pitfalls of overexertion. If you don't account for the way in which your physical needs and capabilities have changed, you will be extremely prone to injury. Injuries affect us more with age, as our body heals more slowly and doesn't always heal completely.
Additionally, it's difficult to maintain your physique with injuries that prevent you from staying active. If you exert yourself while injured, you may aggravate your initial injuries and find yourself incapacitated.
For specific concerns, you might consider discussing your needs with a doctor. Vitamins and supplements can help with physical maintenance. And you could research and learn about beneficial exercise methods for your age. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.