Vail Daily column: How we grow old
With an increased awareness of eating better, physical activity and medical technology, there is little disputing that the average human lifespan has improved. Nonetheless, how we grow old is far more important than how old we grow.
Before Baby Boomers can embrace the possibilities of life after 65, I believe that they must rid themselves of the cultural stereotypes of aging. Those who are, or soon to be, 65 years of age or older are a very different group of people than those people who were 65 and older a generation ago.
A FOCUS ON FITNESS
Today’s retiring generation (Boomers) have interests, goals and preferences that are very different from those of previous generations. Many of today’s Boomers are quite physically fit and are more aware of their diets than those of past generations. For the many Boomers who have chosen Colorado as their retirement home, they often make fitness into a personal goal and statement. They proudly ride their road and mountain bikes, hike trails, play golf and ski with great enjoyment. The Boomer generation has transformed exercise from the mundane and made it part of pop culture.
For those Boomers who do not place quite that much importance on exercise and who are less interested in being so physically fit, many are still living longer than previous generations. Further, many are living a much better quality of life and choosing to live in place as opposed to senior homes.
SETTING GOALS, BEING REALISTIC
Setting one’s goal and expectations for their physical abilities is not a defined path. Rather, it is one as unique as each individual.
This was affirmed recently while sitting with a client in the exam room of a local cardiologist office. My client had expressed a desire to run a rather long race and wanted their cardiologist to confirm with them that they were physically capable of doing so. The doctor did not provide the answer my client had been looking for. Rather, the doctor turned the question back on the client, asking whether he should tell them that it was not advisable. Would this dissuade them from running? My client sat there staring at the doctor like a deer in headlights.
This question spurred a great conversation for the ride home from the doctor’s office.
Ultimately, what I derived from our conversation is that the competitive nature of an athlete and/or person with great amounts of drive does not diminish as one ages. Rather, it remains intact and often is the cause of great conflict and heartache.
Consider this comment from Annarose Ingarra-Milch, author and motivational speaker: “We do not look — and we will never look again — like we used to. … From my perspective, that’s a good thing. I earned the right to look this way, and I’m very proud of it.”
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, visit http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.
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