Breaking retirement and ageist stereotypes

Feb 22, 2023
Source: Getty

When we reach our retirement years, many of us are fed with ageist retirement stereotypes. Often, these stereotypes focus on our attitude towards things like fitness and our health. My wise advice is that it’s time to tell ourselves, it is never too late!

If you wish to take up an exercise activity for leisure, now is the time. Moderation is the key concept. It is never too late to explore gym memberships, golf, cycling, aqua aerobics, senior yoga, walking clubs, or pilates. 

Personally, I adopted a seated weight lifting program, to build up upper body strength, and improve muscle tone in my senior tuckshop arms. It is working! I use wrist weights and lift cans of soup. Too easy, but I have to stay motivated to complete my routine. 

It is never too late to seek the latest medical remedies to recover or manage health conditions. For instance, dementia is not inevitable. For some, it is a factor in ageing. A diagnosis can alter the golden years of planning. Engaging in daily healthy exercise, and practising brainy pursuits can improve any mental deterioration.

Alzheimer’s and dementia can have a cruel prognosis. So we all need to be realistic if these conditions affect us or our significant others. State-of-the-art treatments can assist in managing such conditions.

Another retirement red herring is that older people are all going to become depressed. This is attributed to isolation or frail physical health as folk age. But depression can occur at any age. This condition can be treated, by appropriate health professionals and well-being strategies. Taking one day at a time is good advice, while also planning some simple pleasures.

It is good to live in the present, it is a good gift. One tip is to write or journal your blessings at the end of t day. We woke up! Great. The sun shall rise daily, and bless us with waking up to another day on Earth. We must make the most of it. 

What is another retirement red herring? One might be that we fear ageing. Generally, none of us can control our fears about our natural signs of ageing.

We might have silver-grey hair, but we like it that way! Older ladies (and males) can develop chicken necks or double chins. What the heck, we made it! We got old. Most retired friends I know have accepted and embraced their senior years. 

It is good to have a positive mindset. We can become wise and enlightened as we grow older, but none of us knows everything. Nothing wrong with our brains, we hope. Or indeed, there is nothing wrong with millennial brains, over to them soon enough.

One real big herring about our ageing concerns arthritis. This is an accepted fact, that anyone over fifty years old, especially women, can develop arthritis. Once long ago, an ape stood up, that is the theory. This caused generations of bad backs, hips, and knees. 

Arthritis is regarded as normal degeneration of our joints. Sensible flat shoes are the new normal for most of us. Moderation in weight-bearing exercises, such as jogging, is better for our musculoskeletal systems. 

We should all aim to pace ourselves. We can use it or lose it! Or overuse it and then lose it! Complementary medicine would recommend some retirement remedies for this ageing state of arthritis. These can include the use of wheat bags, massage, perhaps acupuncture, hydrotherapy, or TENS, which is electrotherapy.

Some days rest can be best. Or we can consult a physiotherapist, an osteopath, or a chiropractor. I regularly see a lovely lad, who restores and maintains my back and aching knee and provides great advice on suitable exercises. I practise these at home.

Overall, to counter retirement red herrings, now we are all “older”, we can all choose to adopt a balanced lifestyle. It is never too late! 

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