Age Is Not the Issue

As we age, many things can occur with our bodies. Whether these changes affect our senses or mobility, it is important to realize that disabilities are not age-specific. You see, many of the disabilities that are stereotypical to someone who is getting older are far from the status quo.

It’s important to understand that debilitating physical issues affect all age groups. How the individual handles the arrival of these conditions plays a big role in their physical and mental wellbeing. Studies show that older individuals tend to handle the onset of disabilities better than those who are younger. The reasoning behind this is that an aging adult looks at these issues as part of getting older. It’s expected. Though it seems like a good thing, this same mindset tends to prevent older individuals from the positive growth that accompanies working through your disabilities.

There’s no doubt that mindset plays a huge role on physical wellbeing. This can be as simple as viewing things as “stressful”, which creates a stress response physiologically. It may then take a person longer to recover and heal properly because the body is negatively affected by stress hormones. Similarly, accepting that one is “doomed” may lead to avoiding healthy habits like nutrition or rehabilitative exercises.

Though the onset of disabilities can lead to mental health issues in younger individuals, there is another phenomenon that occurs. When dealing with an unwanted condition, the younger person may be more apt to “fight” it, and subsequently win. An older individual may simply accept it and surrender to the condition as a consequence of age.

Interestingly, both approaches have drawbacks. The stress-free approach of the older person may lend itself toward improved mental health, yet poorer physical recovery. The inverse is often true for the younger person. So how can we learn from this and harness the positive power of both mindsets?

Interestingly, both approaches have drawbacks. The stress-free approach of the older person may lend itself toward improved mental health, yet poorer physical recovery. The inverse is often true for the younger person. So how can we learn from this and harness the positive power of both mindsets?

Denial is never healthy so perhaps we can take a lesson from children. When faced with debilitating circumstances, children have an amazing way of showing the kind of unmatched hope and bravery that we can all aspire to. They aren’t yet mired by the social structures, stereotypes, and fixed mindsets of the adult world. They readily and often appropriately grieve over losses and frustrations rather than stifle these things or lie to save face. They may be sad, but they’re hopeful and rather than rage against something, they work to get better.

Our hearts break when we see a young child struggling with cancer or severe injuries. But we can all admire the way they handle such things with poise and a pure heart. If they can do it, why can’t we? Well, we can. It’s as simple and as difficult as deciding to. First, understand and accept the reality of what you’re faced with. However, you feel about this is appropriate.

Communicate with others about how you feel. Then, get on with life and living. True living always includes a hope for a better tomorrow.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme

Marcel Gemme

Author

on January 25, 2021

More Information