We all hopefully will be given the gift to age and be blessed to be with our families. Aging is not to be feared. In being a RN for 31+ years here are a few things I have seen a varying degrees:
1. We all will eventually have a dribbling bladder that we will need to address.
2. We all will have to address bowel issues ~ some too loose and some too constipated and yes some with both.
3. Our appetites will change because the number of taste buds decrease and they become much smaller. So we taste sweet, salty, sour and bitterness less. Leading the way is the loss of salty & sweet tastes first.
4. We all will have visual changes. It will be harder to see in both darker and bright light. So when people visit us and sit in front of that big window, we will not be able to see them because of the glare. We may lose peripheral vision which will make our field of vision feel like we are looking through a cardboard toilet paper tube. So now we will bend more forward so that we can see where we are walking thus throwing of our center of gravity and making us more likely to fall. All the while our physical therapists, nurses and family are telling us to stand more upright when we walk and all we were trying to do is see where we are going.
5. We will have hospitalizations that will take us out of the environment where we feel safe. The noise, surroundings and change in routine will overwhelm us and confusion will be more noticeable for perhaps the first time. This will increase our anxiety as it will our family’s.
6. Music is important. It stirs long ago, possibly locked away, memories. It reconnects us to others, if only for a few moments. It also helps us with our pain and helping us be more restful.
7. If we have more humor and are able to laugh, we will feel that those around us do enjoy their time with us. Plus it stimulates our circulation and relaxes our muscles, along with actually release chemicals that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
8. We all will grieve at varying degrees at the loss of what we used to be able to do.
9. We will decrease our social interactions because of not being able to hear or see as well or our bowel/bladder issues have grown to be unpredictable, increasing a sense of isolation if we are not connected to others.
10. We will become more apt to listen and less apt to share our story. And we all have a story, and when we do share it with others or others share it for us, it tends to open all of us up to a new lesson.
It is important to never stop learning whether we remember it or not. It’s all about the moment for it’s really all each of us have.