These suggestions could help your attitude about aging

Qing Yang and Kevin Parker

“I’m getting old.” We hear this frequently from patients, family members, and even friends our age. “Getting old” has become a catch-all excuse for the physical and mental changes we experience in our lives. When we use aging as an explanation, we tend to minimize otherwise alarming symptoms – an enlarging blemish on the forehead that turns out to be invasive basal-cell carcinoma, an achy hip that turns out to be severe degenerative arthritis, the huffing and puffing when you climb a flight of stairs that turns out to be heart failure, and the use of electrical scooters at the grocery store that turns out to be nerve compression from spinal stenosis. People dismiss these signs as a normal process of aging and miss opportunities for early medical intervention.

We also use aging as a reason to accept limitations that may restrict our physical activities, social engagements and intellectual pursuits. Not going outside, gathering with friends, meeting new people, or learning new skills are a few examples. We stay in our shrinking comfort zones. The COVID-19 pandemic has further diminished our ability to interact, and many haven’t picked up where they left off two years ago.

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