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Posted: February 10, 2006

Spousal Caregiving

Don't Let Getting Older 'Throw You for a Loop'

Bill Andrew

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Age happens!" Well, that is not exactly what Forrest Gump said in the movie, but you get the picture. I recently received an email on aging and I wanted to share it with you. The views expressed therein were those of George Carlin, the comedian -- however, don't worry, this is squeaky clean stuff (if you know what I mean).
 
I hope that you enjoy his views on aging, as much as I did. How much of what he says have you personally experienced? Would you "turn back the clock," if you could? Share this column with your spouse, family, and friends. We all need a good laugh once in a while -- especially we spousal caregivers who are under continuous stress.
 
George Carlin's Views on Aging
 
Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids?  If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?"  "I'm 4 ½!"  You're never 36 ½. You're 4 ½, going on 5! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?"  "I'm gonn’ be 16!"  You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!  And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony...YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30.  Oooohh, what happened there?  Makes you sound like bad milk!  He TURNED; we had to throw him out.  There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong?  What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40.  Whoa!  Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away.  Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!!!! You MAKE it to 60.  You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!  After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.  And it doesn't end there.  Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens.  If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again.  "I'm 100 and a half!"  May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!
_____

How to stay young, according to George Carlin:
 
  1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.  Let the doctors worry about them.  That is why you pay them.
  2. Keep only cheerful friends.  The grouches pull you down.
  3. Keep learning.  Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever.  Never let the brain idle.  "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."  And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
  4. Enjoy the simple things.
  5. Laugh often, long and loud.  Laugh until you gasp for breath.
  6. The tears happen.  Endure, grieve, and move on.  The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves.  Be ALIVE while you are alive.
  7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.  Your home is your refuge.
  8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it.  If it is unstable, improve it.  If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
  9. Don't take guilt trips.  Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
  10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity!
 
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away!
_____

 
While the first part of the above is humorous -- and God knows that we spousal caregivers need a lot of humor in our lives in order to survive -- the second part contains many valuable tips that you may want to consider VERY seriously! I know -- I thought about it and everything that he says is true. LIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST -- you will be a much better spousal caregiver. 
 
I know that I will. WILL YOU?
 
WORDS TO CARE BY…
 
"I was always taught to respect my elders;
I've now reached the age when I don't have anybody to respect."
 
George Burns (1896-1996)


Bill Andrew identifies himself as a former “nutritionally-empowered Alzheimer’s caregiver” who attributes the slow-down in progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his wife, Carol – and the growth of his own personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual capability and strength to provide quality 24/7 care for her in their own home – to the targeted nutritional supplements they both took on a daily basis. Carol went to her Heavenly reward on June 9, 2008 – Bill continues on to advocate for family caregivers. Contact Bill with your caregiving questions and comments via email at ASKBill@caregivershome.com.

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© 2006 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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