|Guest-blogger Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst N.Y. and has worked in the ophthalmology field of medicine for over 30 years... Today she talks about the dilemma of aging...Enjoy! ;D)|
What a difference 10 years can make
As we age each decade of life brings many many changes in ones’ life; each ten years can
be the difference between independence, school, graduation, marriage, starting a family and the list goes on and on.
In retrospect, I think the biggest difference comes between the 80’s and the 90’s. Once again we regress to the same goals we once had as a child; the need for independence.
Some adults reach their 80’s and are still able to manage on their own, own their own homes and still drive; others are not so lucky.
One of the more upsetting milestones at that age is having to give up the car and driving. It is directly associated with independence and can change life in an instant from what it once was.
Many fight the idea of being without a car despite the safety factor; others give in willingly in order to put the safety of others first.
Some decide to give up their unsafe homes and opt for a senior apartment or assisted living situation. For some the decision is made for them; unforeseen health issues usually influence the family.
This week I have two family members reaching some milestones; one is turning 90 and the other, my dad is going to be 94. They both shake their heads in disbelief; how could they have reached this ripe older age. Through medical advances and health maintenance people are living well into their 90’s today.
This can be a mixed blessing for many, especially those that are not independent at all any longer and are used to that very independent life they once led. It begs the question I ask myself time and time again; are people happy once they reach their 90’s if they are not living the lifestyle they once enjoyed.
With many new medications on the market available to our seniors we have the capability to give them longevity weather they want it or not. My dad is a perfect example of a drastic change in his lifestyle; he has good health and longevity on his side of the family but at this point in his life is unable to live alone and unassisted. He is destined to live in a confined room with little possessions for the duration.
It only brings me great sadness to visit with him often and I know in his heart his destiny cannot bring him happiness. The difference between 80 and 90 was monumental for him as I am sure it is for many. He went from total independence to senior living to assisted living in those short 10 years.
A great determining factor is the ability to walk; if a senior is unable to walk the decision is pretty much made for them. They will need assistance around the clock which then brings up another challenge. We have many facilities for
our seniors to move into; the one and only deciding factor in our country is money. Those with affordable means live in more luxury and have choices; those without funds have their decision made for them. Working in the health field for many years have given me an eye opening experience of what is available out there and its not so pretty.
There is something to be said for socialized medicine and its equality for our elderly.
When it comes to senior living in our country we are divided between the haves and have nots. We are very fortunate that our family members have made choices that enable them to be in pleasant surroundings; it breaks my heart to see how some of our seniors are living out their remaining days.
I don’t know what the answer is or if there is an answer but I hope down the line something can be done to equalize this predicament that our seniors are in.
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