The greatest concerns about aging

Published 3:31 pm Friday, September 17, 2010

Do you remember the big-eared grinning character that used to be on the front of Mad Magazine no not Barack Obama it was Alfred E. Neumann, the original What Me Worry kid.

With 78-million baby boomers rapidly approaching early senior-hood, it seems that Alfred E. Neumanns mantra has become popular with too many boomers who also think that problems of aging will happen to others, so they too adopt the philosophy of What Me Worry?

That may seem like a great, even positive attitude toward aging, but it ignores the realities of some of the many challenges and problems that aging can bring about.&bsp; Like the 7-deadly sins, so too are there 7-common concerns regarding aging, that if not addressed prior to advanced aging, may become personal disasters for too many boomers. So if you had to guess, what do you think the most common concern is for our current and future aging population?&bsp; Well, this should come as no surprise to you; its having no money.

Think about how important money is to you today, even under the assumption that you have a job in todays faltering economy.&bsp; For most of us, budgets are tighter than they used to be.&bsp; So imagine having overhead and expenses similar to what you have today, but being 15 to 20-years older and having no income or worse, no money saved. That would truly be a disaster.&bsp; But what could possibly cause such condition?&bsp; Thats easily answered.&bsp; Just look around at your lifestyle of the past 10 to 30 years.&bsp; Was there anything that you wanted not needed, just wanted that you denied yourself?&bsp; Probably not, and with easy credit and growing personal debt based on a never ending rise in housing values and the stock market, you put together the deadly combination of spending too much and not saving anything or certainly not enough when we you were younger.

Having no money when youre older translates to also having more difficulty getting credit.&bsp; So this, the most common fear of aging can mean no longer being able to own a car, having to take public transportation if it exists, rely on friends or family, or heaven forbid, walk.&bsp; Having no money also means that you may have to opt for a low rent apartment, or a relocation to a less desirable area to live, perhaps in a less safe part of town.&bsp; The idea of vacations is over, and even taking part in celebrating some holidays may no longer be feasible.

The second most common fear of aging has to do with fear of how our grown children may treat us.&bsp; Remember the joke, be kind to your children, theyre the ones who will be choosing your nursing home well its true.&bsp; Its also true that too many adult children dont visit their parents, and youd be amazed how many adult children cheat their own parents out of their money and leave them destitute.&bsp; Some adult children abuse their parents emotionally through verbal assaults, while others actually do bodily harm through physical beatings.&bsp; Both forms of abuse steal a seniors will to live.

Third among the concerns of aging is fear of poor health.&bsp; Some diseases are inherent due to family history and genetics, others tend to be more prevalent as we age loss of hearing and sight for instance.&bsp; But the biggest underlying cause for many of these illnesses has to do with a lifetime of poor nutritional habits, an unhealthy diet and the failure to exercise.&bsp; A lot of our aging population has a great deal to fear about growing older just from those two lifestyle choices.

Loss of spouses and friends is the number four concern of aging, while having too much free time on our hands and nothing to do, combined with a low self image and not feeling wanted or needed is the fifth concern about aging.&bsp; Having too much time on our hands leads to the sixth most common fear of aging loneliness.&bsp; If we dont find ways to fill the vacuum of loneliness, the spiral of depression is more likely, and our ability to deal with our emotions can be overwhelmed leading to breakdowns in our mental and physical health.

The last of the major concerns has to do with losing yourself due to cognitive illness such as dementia, and loss of our mental functions and memories caused by Alzheimers disease. Loss of self punishes both the aging person and his or her family, as they become fading memories and strangers in a shadowy life of confusion.

While every one of these 7 common disasters is due to aging – having no money, treatment your adult children, failing health, loss of family and friends, having too much time, feeling lonely and losing yourself is possible, the good news is that most of them can be overcome with good communications, planning, and of course, some common sense. In particular pay attention to money, savings, diet, exercise and a lifestyle that provides you with a support system that you can count upon in the future.

Ron Kauffman is a Certified Senior Advisor, radio talk show host and an expert on issues of aging and care giving. He is the author of Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimers Disease, which is available at www.seniorlifestyles.net. He can be reached at 561-626-4481 or by email at drron407@bellsouth.net.