Getting physical and mental exercise, as well as discovering other similar activities, are some ways to experience old age stress-free.
Medical Advisor Luz Amparo Salazar – Psychologist
We all age throughout life and reach a certain degree of physical maturity. The challenge, however, is to work on finding mental and spiritual satisfaction.
The stage of late adulthood occurs at the same time as retirement. It is when time begins to slow, and more gaps open up: there are no longer any work obligations, and in most cases, there is no longer a commitment to provide for the family. It is therefore best to prepare for it and seek out options that help fill these gaps: beginning a business, starting a small company, embarking on that book that you always wanted to write, painting, doing exercise or traveling.
“Becoming a senior citizen or entering old age is part of the evolutionary cycle of a human being. It is a stage that almost all of us must go through, and includes many changes at a physiological, emotional and social level. The important thing is for each of these changes to not come as a surprise. You need to be prepared and you have to learn to break down the myths surrounding old age, as there are many: elderly people are considered uncapable of doing anything, not having friends, or their health is expected to worsen. Many of these ideas lead people to experience old age in a painful way that is not very assertive or fitting,” says psychologist Luz Amparo Salazar.
Dealing with grief
Something that is not often spoken about is that the aging process involves different types of grief. Some of this grief is related to health problems, as while there is not a sudden deterioration of health, there is a decrease in physical capacity. There is also emotional grief, as close friends and siblings begin to die. In addition to this, is the condescending way that some families treat their elderly. The psychologist describes this as the “endearment of the elderly,” even though being endearing is not the only role they can play.
From a biological point of view, one of the first things to keep in mind is to approach the implications of this stage of life naturally and with ease, “It is important to conceive of aging as a normal process and to change the beliefs we have about it. We must take care of our health, exercise and seek out social support by meeting with friends and groups we have things in common with, and where you feel like you belong to a community.”
In addition to physical exercise, to prevent the decay of our main functions or memory loss, it is important to make the brain work through neuropsychological and mental exercises, as it is no secret that the chances of developing a neurodegenerative disease as we age are higher.
“Family plays a very important role because it must initiate a process of support and acceptance. Make the elderly person continue to feel part of the family. Avoid stereotypes. It is important to make them feel useful. Giving them responsibilities they are able to do such as tasks in the kitchen, fixing clothes, and doing other activities where they feel useful and are comfortable with doing.” A person’s attitude in dealing with these changes, shapes their own perception of this stage of life.
While physical maturity is part of our natural development, to stay in good shape we must change our perceptions and stay physically and mentally active.