The Emotional Side of Growing Old

I finally got to my Sunday New York Times (okay, it’s been a busy week), and I came across an interesting article about Dr. Marc E. Agronin, who cares for seniors at the Miami Jewish Health Systems. His focus isn’t on the physical, it’s on the mental health of his patients.

As people age, they deal with different issues … like losing a spouse, their best friend, their independence. Their body doesn’t work the same, there’s the aches and pains, and for many a move to a new place, where it be a child’s home, a nursing home or an assisted living facility. No wonder seniors suffer from depression, grief and anxiety.

One of his patients describes him as a “lifesaver,” saying, “He helps you walk down the mountain.” That mountain, of course, is growing old and all that is associated with the aging process.

One of the reasons why I insisted my mom come live with us is I felt she was depressed after the death of my dad. In fact, I think she was depressed before that. Once a social butterfly, she lived a very isolated life. She wasn’t eating right (frozen dinners) and she wasn’t getting any exercise. You could hear the sadness in her voice.

If this sounds like your mom and dad, step in. You don’t have to move them in with you, but can get them an exercise bike. Take them a home-cooked meal. Or get them to a group therapy session like the one that Dr. Agronin holds. It will improve the quality of their lives. And ultimately, yours.

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