Old Age, the Nightmare of the Middle Aged

Pradeep Kumar BStarred Page By Pradeep Kumar B, 1st May 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/r_7ubh6p/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

When you reach middle age, the thought of getting into old age turns into a nightmare, why? It is because we see the sufferings and the pathetic life of many of the old people around us. On reaching the point called old age, many, though not all, people tend to think that they have reached the end of their lives.

What Scares Those Getting Old

What a helpless and hapless thing this human being is! When a child is born, he(or it) is quite helpless and he depends on others for all his needs. He cannot even get up on his own. This dependency continues for many years, though it decreases gradually. When he is a young man he becomes self dependent and he makes a kingdom for himself. Old age renders him helpless and dependent again. He loses his kingdom. The younger generation considers him ‘unproductive’ and hence a burden. Then, dumps him into some old age homes. What a cruelty?

It is the negative effects of old age that frightens those getting older. Nobody wants to face such a situation. Your face gets transformed and becomes less attractive, or is ugly the right word? Eye bags and wrinkles will begin to surface. Aging lines will emerge. Your body will start to ache and pain here and there. It will be followed by forgetfulness creeping in. All your youthfulness starts waning. Your eyesight begins to fade. You will face the modern world’s contempt and carelessness for the old. All these are more than enough to scare many of us as we get old.

Retirement Woe

Many people dread the day of retirement from regular employment. For some, it is the end of their active life. The reduction in the pace of life after retirement worries them. There is no haste or hurry in life. They need to go nowhere. The drastic reduction in income is a heavy blow for them. They think that they won’t get the same amount of respect as they were getting before. As one is no more an earning member of the family, he gets neglected by the other family members, or at least he begins to think so. He begins to consider himself as a worthless fellow. Self contempt sets in.

But remember one thing. Retirement cannot be avoided. One should accept the reality. Make it an occasion for enjoyment and merrymaking. There is no boss to make orders. There are no working hours. There is no target to achieve. You are your own master. You are completely free and can decide on what to do next. So, there is reason enough to rejoice, isn’t it?

The Plight of Mr. Kurup at Old age

This is about an old man named Kurup, who is known to me. Mr. Kurup was once a businessman and he led a very active life in those days. He retired from business after having passed on all those things to his two sons. It was some five or six years back. Now, he is only an old man and nothing more. He had started his business form a big zero and made a fortune out of it through hard work. He suffered a great lot in the initial stages. He had known poverty. His business prospered and he never had to look back. He became a respected man in the society.

When he became old, he passed on his business to his two sons and lived a retired life. By that time they had become very rich. Mr. Kurup was having some health problems common with old age. One day, not very long before, I saw him sitting on the steps in front of a hospital in our town. I went near him, wished him and asked,

“Kurup cheta, you… here?” (cheta is a word used to address elders with respect. In our language, that is Malayalam, the mother tongue of Keralites, cheta means elder brother.)

“I have come for my monthly check up. It is over and I am waiting here for the car, to go back home,” Mr. Kurup replied.

“You are alone? Nobody accompanied you here?”

“My son dropped me here and left. He had some urgent matters to attend. The car will be sent back to take me.”

I could not believe that. Nobody to attend on this old man! He was weak, physically. I felt pity for him and disgust towards his sons. He did not deserve this neglect. What ingratitude! His sons got this wealth and life’s comforts only due to this old man, their father and he was sitting on the steps of a hospital like an orphan. I felt very sorry for the old man. I thought I should give him company and I sat down on the steps beside him and we entered into a conversation.

After sometime a vehicle arrived to take Mr. Kurup home. To my dismay, I found that it was not a Benz or a BMW or an Audi. It was not even a car, but an old rickety jeep, capable of breaking the backbone of this poor old man, if he is to travel in it. The sons always traveled in Benzes or BMWs or Audis. They were not ready to spare any of those to their father who had made a fortune for them! This is the kind of treatment many get from their family members when they reach old age. We don’t know what is in store for each of us.

Health Problems at Old Age

Old age is inevitable and each of us should be ready to face it. Many health problems arise during old age. According to the World Health Organization, 75% of deaths in people above 65 years are due to heart disease, cancer and cerebrovascular diseases like stroke. Another major problem is osteoporosis and fracture of bone due to that disease. Owing to the advanced medical care, the life expectancy has considerably increased. But the number of years of perfect health has actually decreased.

The main health problems at old age are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, prostate problems, cataract and other eye diseases, hearing loss, kidney diseases, cancer etc. Diseases due to brain degeneration like Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss diseases are also becoming common. Mental problems like depression, mainly due to neglect of family members are also there.

Some Tips for Remaining Healthy at Old Age

Check your blood pressure, blood and urine sugar levels and cholesterol level regularly and keep them under control.

Make walking a daily habit. It should be for at least half an hour.

Avoid smoking and drinking.

Adopting vegetarianism will be good. Anyhow make vegetables and fruits a major portion of your food.

The flexibility and strength of muscles should be maintained through exercises.

Engage in recreational activities and make yourself happy.

Eyes and ears shall be subjected to regular checkup.

Sufficient exercise should be given to the brain. Reading, writing, playing chess etc. can help.

Body weight should be controlled.

Sleep well. Six to eight hour sleep is good.

Old Age Cannot be Avoided. So Make It a Happy Time

Old age is a reality. You can’t avoid it. So accept and welcome it. And make yourself happy. An estimate of the UN is that the world population of those above 65 years will be 1200 million by the year 2005. Japan is the country having the highest percentage of elderly people. It has an average life span of 82 years. About twenty five percent of its population is above sixty five years. In other countries also life expectancy is increasing and so are the number and percentage of people in old age. So it is very important to keep people healthy and happy in old age. It is the duty of the whole family to make the life of the aged ones happy and comfortable.

The younger generation should not consider their aged parents ‘unproductive’ and dump them into some old age home. They yearn for your proximity, love and care. No old age home can give them that happiness. Just understand that you are what you are only because of them. Old people are wise and knowledgeable. The younger generation can learn a lot from them. So love them, care them and make their life happy. Also remember that one day you will also be like them, old and helpless.

Videos on Old Age

The following are some videos on old age matters.

Useful Links on Old Age

The following links provide useful reading about old age:
How to live happily during old age
Age and happiness U bend
Agewell foundation
Quality of Life in Old age
Old Age Across Cultures and Time
A Healthy Old Age
The Secrets to a Healthy Old Age Life
American Geriatric Organization
Geriatric Society of India

Image Credits

Old man broods: Wikimedia Commons
Alone, at old age: Wikimedia Commons
Walking toward the end, slowly: Wikimedia Commons
Woman in old age home: Wikimedia Commons

Tags

Health Problems, Middle Age, Neglect From Family, Nightmare, Old Age, Old Age Health Tips, Old Age Home, Pradeep, Pradeep Kumar, Pradeep Kumar B, Retirement

Meet the author

author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
I live in Tiruvalla, a small town in the state of Kerala, in India. I am an electrical engineer and I love to write.

expertscolumn.com

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
1st May 2012 (#)

Thank you, Steve. You are lightning-fast as a moderator.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
1st May 2012 (#)

A very relevant topic for everyone, everywhere Pradeep, thanks. I feel the greatest fear and enemy of old age is the loneliness, especially when one partner departs. And of course, the increasing neglect. The old were respected for their wisdom, but now ridiculed for their lack of ability with modern contraptions. Many keep to themselves lost in thoughts. I know, because I am not young anymore and already having more than a peep at this dreaded old age! My take is - be independent as long as possible: once we become dependent on others, age does not matter - we are treated a burden. Sad to see this state of affairs in places like Kerala where the old were always revered. They simply don't deserve such ill treatment - period! And many having to live alone when their children reside in other countries makes the matter worse. Add to it, now the fewer children! We are regressing in basics - siva

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
1st May 2012 (#)

What you said is very true, Siva. But old people will have to depend on others when their mobility is affected. Not all can remain independent to the end of their lives.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
1st May 2012 (#)

So very true, great videos and page, thank you Pradeep...

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
1st May 2012 (#)

Thank you Delicia, for commenting.

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author avatar shallimarRose
1st May 2012 (#)

This is a remarkable page . I always figure its either a choice between growing old or dying young. I feared both. So far the years have been kind to me. Most of your tips are my way of life.. Well except for the sleep thing.. I get little sleep. I call it poetic insomnia. when i try to sleep my mind whats to write... I am going to read this all through again.. thank you my friend.. shallimarRose

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
1st May 2012 (#)

Thank you Shallimar. I think there is no need to choose between growing old or dying young. One can always hope for the best.

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author avatar Val Mills
1st May 2012 (#)

In my country aging is a positive thing and people enjoy a high level of activity once retired.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
1st May 2012 (#)

Thank you Val. There is no wide spread neglect towards old people in our country. But the condition worsening.

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author avatar Judy Ellen
1st May 2012 (#)

I feel the same as Val Mills! Retiring is truly an adventure for me!! An adventure into my many untapped talents and skills! I am busier now than I have ever been before and happier too because I finally have time for me! Oh and like shallimarRose I too have poetic insomnia!! Your article is fantastic!! You are a great writer!!! Congratulations on your well deserved Star!!

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
1st May 2012 (#)

Thank you Judy. Your mentality is right. Every one getting old must think like that.

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author avatar shallimarRose
2nd May 2012 (#)

I am happier at sixty then I have ever been in my life.... I feel calm and blessed to have such a wonderful family. What I meant was when we are young we sometimes fear growing old.but there is no avoidance except to die before that happens.. nice article...

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
2nd May 2012 (#)

Thank you Shallimar.

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author avatar shallimarRose
2nd May 2012 (#)

Im glad they gave you the star.. I thought this morning when i read it should have been a star page.. congratulations.. sR

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
2nd May 2012 (#)

Thank you Shallimar.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
2nd May 2012 (#)

Growing old yes timewise but eternally young in heart and awareness you be...take good care of yourself...

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
2nd May 2012 (#)

Thank you for your kind words.

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author avatar Buzz
2nd May 2012 (#)

What an engaging article, my friend! Sigh, growing old is inevitable and every day our intimation of mortality looms on the horizon. Yet I welcome old age but not the time when I get so old as to be wobbling on a stick. Thanks for sharing this star article, Pradeep.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
2nd May 2012 (#)

Thank you for commenting, Buzz. I am a middle aged man. I don't like to get old. But I know it is inevitable.

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author avatar chrysolite
2nd May 2012 (#)

Thank you for sharing this great article with us!

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
3rd May 2012 (#)

Thank you, for commenting.

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author avatar Retired
3rd May 2012 (#)

So true... "Being old is the only way we can live long"
I'm also a big fan of vegetarianism . Thanks - a great article!

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
4th May 2012 (#)

Thank you Andriy, for commenting.

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author avatar Carol
4th May 2012 (#)

What a very sensible article, and so true

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
5th May 2012 (#)

Thank you carol.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
5th May 2012 (#)

My dear Pradeep,
As karl Marx said, "All problems in the world are economic." Your friend Kurup is suffering because he had trusted his sons and gave away his wealth. He should have kept control of his hard earned money and remained economically independent.
I am 73, and I have two daughters both of them are US citizens. But I made sure I am economically independent. I don't ask my children for money nor do they ask me. I live happily and move around in a chaffeur driven car. I go to my club and play bridge every evening. I return home, have a peg or two of the finest whiskey and go to bed happily. I support my wife and she looks after me. I maintain few servants who look after my creature comforts. Age is not a problem unless one makes it so. You have taken a solitary case and generalized the issue. Age is just a number. One is as young as he feels. I like to read and write humor at this age and try and maintain a smile on my face always.
Unborn is tomorrow
dead is yesterday
Why do fret
If today be sweet?
This is my credo.
Of course, you're entitled to your opinion.

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author avatar chrysolite
7th May 2012 (#)

I congratulate you, GV Rama Rao, and I admire your spirit. Yes, you have thought about your old age and arranged for it wisely, just the way you wanted it! We can all do that in whatever style we want to live in old age as long as we prepare for it. Humor is the greatest companion and a smile adorns the face at any age! Thank you for telling us your story!

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
5th May 2012 (#)

I value your opinion very much. Thank you for commenting.

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author avatar hussainanchal
5th May 2012 (#)

Thanks Pradeep., you have done a good job. congrats. People should prepare themselves knowing that old age is not a bar for anything. it is another form of your in thoughts and actions, as long as the health - both mental and physical- are maintained.
and death has no age. it can come anytime in one's life. always be prepared for that also while in the prime of youth itself

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
6th May 2012 (#)

Thank you hussain, for commenting

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
6th May 2012 (#)

this is beautiful piece Pradeep..so many are frightened of growing old...perhaps if they think of it as a journey into greater wisdom ...it might change from a half empty to a half full glass...
a wonderful star page...

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
6th May 2012 (#)

Thank you for stopping and commenting.

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author avatar Don Rothra
6th May 2012 (#)

Nice work. Take the word of an old man.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
6th May 2012 (#)

Thank you, Don.

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author avatar richardpeeej
7th May 2012 (#)

A great article Pradeep, I enjoyed reading it. It was a shame that Mr Kurup's sons could have treated their father better after they had his fortune...

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
8th May 2012 (#)

Thank you.

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author avatar D in The Darling
8th May 2012 (#)

Beautiful. I guess that's all I can say.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
8th May 2012 (#)

Thank you.

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author avatar mistyleaf
10th May 2012 (#)

This is a very good article, Pradeep. Old age cannot be avoided so we have to face it in a positive way. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
10th May 2012 (#)

Thank you misty, for commenting.

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author avatar NancyG in TN
10th May 2012 (#)

very good, thank you!

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
11th May 2012 (#)

Thank you for stopping and commenting.

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author avatar Spicy
16th May 2012 (#)

Hi Pradeep Ji, this is very nice writing on actual facts. We should respect the elders always. As regards to me I give utmost priority to take care of our elders and I feel very sorry whenever others neglecting the this respectable persons. Great share, thank you.

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author avatar Rosaline
16th May 2012 (#)

Pradeep, you have written this very well. it is so sad for the old man in your story after all the work he put in to take care of his sons.

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author avatar vpaulose
17th May 2012 (#)

Kurup chetanmar ellayidathum undu. Innathe fashion adhanu. Excellent.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
17th May 2012 (#)

Thank you vp for commenting.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
19th May 2012 (#)

Pradeep you touched the very humanly issue with nice writing. I do like the topic and your presentation- a very fact of life. Good observation. Thank you for sharing.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
19th May 2012 (#)

Thank you, Karim.

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author avatar Dydy
19th May 2012 (#)

I 've never think about that, but this is great topicc and truly great article, informative. Yes, loneliness can kill a man...

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
19th May 2012 (#)

Thank you Dydi for your comments.

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author avatar Maurice G
19th May 2012 (#)

Very good article, I am retired abd find the best thing that I have is having a young heart, still independent at moment but block all other thoughts of old age etc., out of my mind. M

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
20th May 2012 (#)

Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate your confidence. Such confidence can take you a long way through old age.

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author avatar Maurice G
19th May 2012 (#)

abd should be `and` .. sorry

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author avatar franie
22nd May 2012 (#)

Very true. Great article. Thanks.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
22nd May 2012 (#)

Thank you franie, for reading my article and commenting.

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author avatar Denise O
20th Jun 2012 (#)

What a well thought out and executed page. The star is a given, well done. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Ramalingam
27th Jun 2012 (#)

Most of the middle aged men are not worried over their future.It is the hard reality.If you get support in your old age, you are the blessed one.Instead of blaming the younger ones about their apathy or neglect, you must shower love and affection to your younger generation so as to reap them later when you get old.Above all facing the life on its go with a what may come attitude, will make you mentally strong and healthy.Then you will be alright.You need not worry about your old age at all.

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
1st Sep 2012 (#)

When we see an old man weakened in his body, we will think that this here is an old man whose mind also will be old and grey. The truth is in the opposite. The mind stops ageing when one is 23, male and female. So, it would be a horror for us all to imagine what green thoughts would be passing through that young mind of his housed in an old body. Because mind never becomes old, we conceive it as a universal mind. Even then we most often loath old men which is because of their habits and conduct. Character of a person can never change with age; habits and conduct alone can change. When we want to spit, we will go outside the house but they will forget to do it and spit where one sits. At times, the same thing would be applicable to urinating also. But these things are equally applicable to toddlers also whom we do not hate for these reasons. Once an old man changes his habits and character, he becomes lovely to anyone, a pleasure to be with. Old age is an exact return to invalid infancy when the whole circle is closed.

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author avatar Pradeep Kumar B
2nd Sep 2012 (#)

What you said is quite true Remesh. We should treat old people with the care we give small children. Old age is often termed second childhood. Thank you for the visit and the valuable comment.

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