Signposts for Seniors

Sylvia Stewart

"Age is not important--unless you are a cheese!" This bumper sticker brightened my day.

Aging is not easy when our society focuses so firmly on the beauty and lifestyle of the young. Balding or thinning hair forces a change of hairstyle. Bunions keep us housebound. Arthritis may confine one to a wheelchair. Becoming a senior is only for the stouthearted--never mind that we may own stout bodies, too.

childjumpingAs aging approaches, loneliness can be a serious problem. In some cultures, relatives take the elderly into their homes where there is a lot of activity and conversation. However, in modern American society, the children of oldsters may not even live in the same state as their parents.

Senior citizens may rarely see their children and grandchildren.

Managing household chores and shopping on their own are major undertakings for some.

Coping with aging calls for a new mind-set and great skill for adapting to new ways of doing things.

There are three important signposts for seniors as they face the glory and challenges of the sunset years.

Laugh often.

One joy-filled octogenarian says she no longer buys green bananas. An elderly friend once said, "You know you are getting old when you bend over to tie your shoes, and you wonder what else you can do while you're down there!"

When we lose our glasses or our false teeth play tricks on us, we can approach the situation with a sour spirit or with humor.

A sour spirit has depression for a companion. Laughter keeps us bright-eyed and looking outward.

Enjoy aging.

Mother Nature plays her meanest tricks on the elderly. Knees and backs give pain; disease strikes; memory begins to waver. As someone once said, "Your back goes out more often than you do." However, a happy attitude is a matter of the mind, not of the body. A cheerful attitude makes even difficult tasks easier and helps us to keep as active as our bodies will allow. A 92-year-old aunt of a friend purposely rented a second-floor apartment. When someone commiserated with her about the stairs, she just smiled and said it was good for her heart!A sour spirit has depression for a companion

Make spiritual life (rather than physical failure) your focus.

Asaph, a song leader of the Israelites, said, "When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful" (Psalm 73:26, The Message). The apostle Paul says we may be "wasting away" physically, "yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day"; we need to "fix our eyes" on eternal values rather than physical ones (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV). King David reminds us that we will never lack those things we need when we trust the Lord (Psalm 37:25, NIV).

God does not forget the aged. He knows the very number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:29-31). (No doubt the count is going down!) His faithfulness is the same as when we were young and vigorous; His promises are for the aged as well as for youth.

Our praises give Him as much joy as when we were younger, and our testimony of Christ's goodness grows more valuable with every year.

Let's make the most of our later years and leave signposts for seniors for the next generation to find along the way.

 

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