Sunday, 11 July 2021

A helping hand

It's terrible getting old, people say. You've got aches and pains every-where, people don't respect you any more, you're baffled by all the new ways of doing things, you know death's just round the corner.

Well, actually life can be terrible at any age. As a child, you're always told what to do by other people, there are so many things you don't understand, you want things you can't buy, you're put in clothes you loathe, you're forced to spend time with distant uncles and aunts who mean nothing to you.

When you're middle-aged, you're loaded with ongoing responsibilities like bringing up children, looking after elderly parents, paying off a mortgage, building up a retirement fund, scrambling up the career ladder, coping with tyrannical bosses, maybe saddled with a huge overdraft.

Any age can be ghastly. But the real difference between one age and another is how much help and support you get.

Children have the support of their parents and relatives and siblings and teachers. They're surrounded by other people who want them to have happy and fulfilling lives.

The middle-aged are usually supported by a family network that helps with child-minding, ferrying children to school, giving parenting advice, providing loans and dealing with emergencies.

If they're lucky, older people will also have a family and friends to keep an eye on them, but they may not be so fortunate. Deaths may have wiped out their family and many of their friends and they may end up quite isolated and unable to get the support they need. They may struggle to keep their spirits up and get through their daily lives.

It's not old age that's the problem. It's whether you have a helping hand when you need it. Or preferably a whole bunch of helping hands.

18 comments:

  1. Great post Nick. Of course it's the helping hand that can make all the difference. Joared had an interesting post today on robots for elder care and John Grey talked of making future plans to combat loneliness. I was in a dreadful slump but managing to climb out and more importantly, reach out.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. www: I was thinking of you when I wrote the post, as I know you've encountered all sorts of distressing problems. Luckily you have grandgirl and others to help you out. Glad you're managing to climb out of the slump.

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  2. Loneliness seems to be an ever-growing issue with the elderly.

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    1. Bijoux: It does. Families nowadays are so scattered around, and parents so heavily committed to their children, elderly relatives can easily be sidelined or forgotten. So yes, loneliness is a big problem.

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  3. That's true. Not having someone to lean on or help you can be hard.

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    1. Mary: It can be very hard. My mother felt increasingly lonely as she got older and her friends either died or drifted away.

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  4. True life is better with a support system. Isolation is a tough way to live. Although I look forward to some time by myself everyday; I'm glad I did not face the pandemic by myself.

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    1. Ann: Being on my own during the pandemic would have been miserable. I'm thankful I had Jenny with me.

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  5. Agreed. Comparing myself with some others of my age that I know of, I am fortunate in living with my son and daughter in love. That makes me far more adventurous than the others who have to be more careful with their lives because even small problems can blow up into big ones. A friend recently fell down in the bathroom and it took six hours for him to crawl out, raise himself to a telephone and still faced the massive problem of having to open the door to the people who came to help.

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    1. Ramana: What happened to your friend is awful. As you say, you're very fortunate to be living with your son and DIL. Many people die while they're desperately trying to call for help.

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  6. Mother luckily had a big network of friends and their families...we do not have the same so whichever one of us survives will face problems.

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    1. Fly: Same here. If one of us dies, the other will be very much left to their own devices. Neither of us have any other close friends.

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    2. No other close friends cause in some way you live in your bubble exposing your thousands ideas in blogland but not in your real life.
      Lou

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    3. Lou: True. But it's hard to make friends offline when you're as unconventional as I am. And as introverted. Blogging is one of the things that keeps me sane.

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  7. I am worried about getting older and being isolated. Things are fine now, but I can envisage a time when they're not. I take each day as it comes, and try to be optimistic about it.
    Sx

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    1. Ms Scarlet: That's all you can do really, just take each day as it comes. After all, it may be that all our fevered worries and speculations will come to nothing.

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  8. I have one guy I rarely see but I know he will be here in a minute if I need him. I also have woman like that. And, of course, my Dave. And our daughter. Those four seem to be enough for me.

    Add we live in senior housing will emergency pull cords in the bathroom and bedroom so we don't even have to reach up to a phone and we are safer than many elders. That and the fact that there's a care center at the other end of this complex but under the same roof are the reasons we moved here. Whatever help we need is always at hand.

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    1. Linda: You seem to have planned things carefully so you're well looked-after. Knowing help is always at hand must be very reassuring.

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