Men and Aging: What You Need to Know
When it comes to getting older, there are certain things we all wonder and worry about. If you are a man who is thinking about aging, or have a loved one who is, there are some things you should know. Here are some of the things that may be on your mind (or the mind of someone close to you), and how to deal.
I’ll lose my marbles. Nobody wants to face the idea that someday they may lose the ability to think clearly, especially after the tenth time you’ve misplaced your keys or glasses. Although there are varying degrees of memory decline and mental stability, from occasional forgetfulness to full-blown Alzheimer’s, the fear of no longer having control of your mind is a scary one. Taking care of your heart could give you a better brain as you age, plus the knowledge that only about 15% of mild mental impairment every year lead to full blown dementia.
My wife will lose hers. Harder than stumbling into your own mental decline? Watching the person you love most begin the slow decline into theirs. Those golden years you’ve looked forward to for so long take on a completely different feel when the person you wanted to spend them with doesn’t know her name or your face. There’s no easy solution for this one, just know that there are many people and resources to turn to.
I won’t know what to do when I retire. Retirement sounds great, after a whole career spent at the daily grind. Until those doubts begin to creep in. What will my time be worth when I don’t have a job? How will I value myself? How will others value me? The way to fight these fears is to find ways that will help you stay relevant in your own eyes. That may mean volunteering, learning new skills, keeping up with people in your life, or even continuing to work.
I won’t be able to drive. We’ve all heard the story of the person who was stubbornly driving long after doctors, law enforcement, and loved ones told him to quit. We don’t want to be that person, but we also don’t want to give up driving, either. The loss of driving privileges can feel like giving up our sense of independence, even more so to men. Many people in their 70’s and 80’s drive well. Just keep sight of the fact that if your driving ever becomes hazardous to you or others, sadly, it’s time to park that part of your life in the garage.
I won’t be strong anymore. Losing the ability to show off how strong he is can have a big impact on a man. Many men have a strong fear that aging equals weakness, and this can be very depressing. Resistance training as part of a regular workout routine is the best way to combat this fear.
I’ll have problems with my “equipment.” It’s a well-known fact that a man’s ability to go to the bathroom or get the job done in the bedroom is a given, if you watch the commercials that are on television at every commercial break. It can seem as if man can’t make it past a certain age without the help of medication for certain sensitive issues! However, the fear of plumbing problems or losing the ability to take care of business aren’t completely scare tactics dreamed up by pharmaceutical companies. Research has shown that problems downstairs can actually be linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol issues. The best thing to do, even though you may not want to, is get regular checkups. Better to prevent than prescribe!