Joyful Twilight Years
Author: Helen Man
Translator: Kim Ng
Based on years of clinical experience, a group of “geriatrics experts” in China has concluded the greatest fear of the elderly is as follows:
Fear of Being Sick & Losing Self-Care Ability
Old people used to be able to read fast, think fast, act fast, and rarely got sick. However, aging could open the door to sickness, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and eventually the loss of self-care ability.
Fear of Falling
Falling has ranked the top 4th cause of death in America and has become the primary cause of death among our population over 65 years old. The incidence of falls among people over 65 years of age is about 30% while people over 80 years of age reach 50%. Falls-related injuries on the head or cervical spine can be life-threatening. Once bedridden, other diseases such as lung infections, urinary diseases, and pressure sores can surge. Even later recovery still leads to severe depression and a decline in the quality of life.
Fear of Loneliness
After retirement, the elderly are easily isolated as their children move out, their health deteriorates, their social life goes downhill, and many elderly friends and relatives pass away. Elderly people who have lost their spouses earlier have a death rate that is seven times higher than their peers.
Fear of Financial Crisis
Without a stable and decent income as before, old people are worried about exhausting their savings as they grow older. So they might become frugal about replacing their worn out clothes and buying fresh food.
Fear of Scams
From the news and past experiences, the elderly could panic about scams even from their own dishonest children, friends, relatives, or scammers.
Fear of Dying
When most of their peers are passing away, old people feel that they are barely surviving as death is inevitable. Not only do they see their loved ones dying, but also they might be scared of where they will be when they die. Sadness overrides them as the Chinese saying describes: It’s a pity that the dusk is fast approaching though the sunset is charming.
So far aging sounds very depressing and hopeless. Is the source of joy nowhere to be found? Hope is near. Here are some tips for joyful twilight years:
To live a joyful life, one must live in light of eternity. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). Without God’s salvation, our ending is eternal destruction. Yet by God’s Grace, the only true God the Creator loves us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to the world died for our sins, and then resurrected on the third day. Therefore, “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Knowing that death is only the door to heaven and eternally being with our Savior, we have no more fear but joy and blessings ahead. Remember that all other religious leaders have died and have no victory over death except Jesus Christ who can save us from eternal death.
Be lighthearted by laying our burdens on the Lord. Get close to God daily by reading the Bible, praying, and giving thanks. Have no fear about any unknowns because we know who holds the future. Be kind and forgiving to family members.
Maintain a life of good quality. Build up healthy habits of sleeping early, appropriate exercises, balanced diet, and regular physical checkups.
Develop various amusing hobbies. Learning some technology enables us to enjoy surfing online, chatting with children and grandchildren, and friends. Other fun hobbies could be painting, photography, potted plants, flower arrangement, and stamp collection. Actively get involved with church and senior center. Twilight years can be a lot of fun.
Be smart about our savings. Beware of scammers who may tempt us to invest our savings into their scams. Do not let our children hold all our savings for us to apply for welfare. Some old people have been cheated by their children and ended up in despair. We can prepare a living trust and keep a record of our legal documents and passwords and safe deposit number so our children can have access to them when something happens to us.
Where do elderly spend their latest life? Ideally, it’s better to let old people stay home with family as they happily get along with everyone in the house. In some cases, if the elderly would like to live alone or has become too hard for the younger people to take care of, the elderly might ask them to look for a good nursing home nearby.
Children provide the assurance of happiness to their elderly parents by cherishing them. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).