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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 10 December, 2018

8 things no one tells you about getting older

How much do you know about getting older?

ALL THROUGH OUR lives, we’re told to respect our elders.

And there’s a good reason for that – they’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. We all have a lot to learn from older people about life and how it should be lived.

But what are some of the things that no one tells you about growing older? Let’s take a look…

1. Hard decisions come easier

Source: Shutterstock/Cartoonresource

Research has shown that some aspects of cognitive function actually peak in the years up to age 68. Through the years, our brains learn to recognise patterns and build connections, meaning we can problem solve quicker. (It probably also has a lot to do with learning what’s important – and what isn’t.)

2.  You won’t care what people think as much

Source: Shutterstock/PathDoc

One definite bonus to growing older is that you’ll care less what people think, and think of you.

You’ve lived through enough to know that what people think of you has no effect on you, and also that no matter what you do someone is likely to have a problem with it, so… doing what you want is the way to go, it seems.

3. You’ll be more likely to live on your own

Source: ALONEIreland/YouTube

According to the CSO, the largest demographic of those living on their own are those over 65 years of age.

This can be for many reasons – divorce, being widowed, children leaving, or even from just having the financial stability to afford to do so, but chances are the older you get the more likely you’ll live alone.

Source: CSO

4. A supportive community is important

Source: Alone

As you grow older, you’ll find that your need for a strong community gets greater.

From having someone to help bring you to doctors appointments or to get the groceries, to even having someone just pop in and have a cup of tea once a week, a strong community will be, along with family, something you’ll rely on and appreciate.

5. You’ll be in the majority

shutterstock_125689406 Source: Shutterstock/Kristo-Gothard Hunor

Ageing trends in Ireland have revealed that Ireland’s older population is set to increase over the coming decades – with the older eventually out-weighing the young. This has to do with increased life expectancy and lower birth rates.

In fact, according to the CSO, in 2011 there were 100 more centenarians than there were in 2006.

In order to deal with our aging population, a sustainable infrastructure will need to be established, helping older people to stay in their own homes rather than going to a nursing home, if possible.

Source: CSO

6. You’ll have less money than you thought

shutterstock_261716156 Source: Shutterstock/Tashatuvango

Unfortunately, older people often end up with less money than they’d originally planned for.

From rising living costs and inflation to the recession putting a dent in pensions there is a strong chance that there’s just not as much money available as previously envisioned.

This can obviously be an unexpected hardship that is difficult to predict in advance and can mean straitened circumstances in older age.

7. Growing older – and apart

Source: Shutterstock/Joshua Minso

One thing that isn’t often talked about is how loneliness affects older Irish people. It’s a little-known fact that loneliness can be as detrimental to the health as a serious illness. Older people are at great risk of severe loneliness as their support networks dwindle – and they don’t want to burden others by asking for help.

8. You don’t know what old age will bring

Source: schalkandreas via Flickr/CC

While you can put all sorts of plans in place for your retirement, sometimes things don’t go exactly as anticipated. Isolation, loneliness and disability can happen to anyone but particularly to older people. Is there an older person in your community who might be alone this Christmas? Dropping by to say hello could mean the world.

What’s one thing you’ve learnt about ageing from an older person? Share any gems in the comments below.

Alone is a national organisation that provides support to older people to age at home.  We work with those who have difficulties with loneliness, ill health, poverty, poor housing or homelessness.  Alone is independent and receives no government funding for the day to day running of our services.  We have 250 active volunteers that are trained and supported by professional staff.  All our services are quality approved ensuring we are high value and low cost.  100% of all donations goes directly to providing services to older people in need.  If you would like to find out more about who we support or make a donation please visit www.alone.ie/donate

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