Health Tips for Seniors

Mentality – The Sixty Year Old Personality

Benjamin Franklin once said, “All would live long, but none would be old.” What should we actually expect of ourselves after sixty years? Must we eventually become senile and mentally old, or can we have a long life and still remain alert and bright with opinions others respect? The answer is simple. Age itself creates very few mental problems; it simply makes us more transparent and reveals the way we have actually been all of our lives. Thus, cranky and forgetful older people have usually been cranky and forgetful younger people, and bright young people usually develop into bright older people. Most of our world leaders, nearly all over sixty, are only carrying on the bright and alert way of life customary for them all of their years.

Only about 10 percent of the mental difficulties in later years can be blamed on age alone, and these troubles arise usually from arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This effects a reduced amount of blood circulating in the brain, with resulting easier fatigue, and loss of fine coordination. This of course, makes much more difficult the physical activity necessary in efforts like playing a violin, maintaining heavy concentration, or making public speeches. However, we do not consider these difficulties to be diseases, but merely a decrease in the ability of our skills and talents.

Actual mental diseases in later life are much the same in each person as they were in more youthful years. We are inclined to overlook the mental quirks of younger, physically able people who can work hard each day, but we are not so tolerant with older people after their physical abilities are gone and they become dependent on others. Many older people are therefore urged to seek medical help for mental diseases they have probably had since their youth. Because mental diseases are so poorly tolerated by surrounding family and friends, a startling fact has arisen-nearly half of the hospital beds in the United States are occupied by the mentally ill.

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