Finding the Gold in the Golden Years

Finding the Gold in the Golden Years

“To all of us on the wrong side of 50 years old,” as Michael Fitzjohn, disabled Vietnam veteran and published writer says…

It’s no fun being old.

Although everyone ages at their own pace, our age catches up to all of us at some point. And when it does, almost everything changes.

quotesI feel young at heart. I love learning… I love movies, animals and heroic people; I love parties and setting goals and dreaming. I call this feeling young.

My body says it’s tired… I’m not flexible and have poor mobility. I’m forced to wear briefs (okay, diapers) and I use a CPAP machine when I sleep. I can’t smell, taste or sweat. It’s hard to see sometimes.

Yes, at some point, almost everything can become a big deal…

Moving becomes a big deal.

Mobility and flexibility disappear. Who would think that one day, you’d have problems getting out of your chair? And yet, as Michael says, “I can’t get out of a chair without rocking back and forth or holding on to something. If I stand up too fast, I get dizzy.”

quotesI wish I could live a normal life without every movement being difficult.

Mobility Aids


Taking a shower becomes a big deal.

As mobility and flexibility become limited, showering becomes an art, with moves and techniques that must be mastered.

Fitzjohn uses grab bars, sticky shower mats, and a bath chair, as well as a long cord attached to the shower head, to make his shower accessible and safe.

Bathroom Aids


Remembering things becomes a big deal.

What’s today…? And what’s that thing I wanted? Oh yeah, a chair, that’s what it’s called.

It’s annoying and frustrating to forget things – and sometimes, when it comes to pots on the flames or morning medication, it can be dangerous to forget.

Medication Aids


Bathroom time becomes a big deal.

Not all older people are incontinent, and not all people with incontinence are old. However, studies show that over 50% of America’s seniors have some kind of incontinence.

Why is this true?

“Age-related changes in the urinary system, decreased mobility, and some medicine side effects can all lead to urinary incontinence,” explains WebMD.

Here’s how to deal with it, in Michael’s words: Briefs, plastic gloves, pads, patience and a sense of humor.

Incontinence Aids


Getting enough sleep becomes a big deal.

quotesI miss sleeping 6–8 hours a night. I miss being able to lay my head down on my pillow and not waking up until morning.

I take one or two naps a day and sleep an hour – maybe two – between bathroom breaks during the night.

As WebMD observes, “Changes in sleep and circadian rhythm occur as you age. You will probably sleep less at night, and you may not sleep as deeply as you did when you were younger. And it’s more likely that you’ll wake up during the night and/or wake up earlier in the morning.”

Bedroom Aids


Getting dressed becomes a big deal.

The morning routine isn’t easy for everyone, and as a person ages, it becomes increasingly difficult to get dressed independently.

Dressing Aids


…But you can still find the gold.


Seniors needn’t feel sorry for themselves, as there is still much life has to offer.

Find beauty in the world around you.

quotesI enjoy being alive. I love sunrises, sunsets, rain. I love smiling, laughing and my cat. I love every moment of my life. I know I may not have another moment.

You and I are alive. We can see the sky, feel the rain, laugh and help others who need us. There is someone in your world that needs your help. Walk outside and smile at your neighbors. Smile when you feel like crying. Carry a lady’s bags; hold open the door for her.

Go find joy and magic, it’s waiting for you.

Surround yourself with friends.

One thing that Fitzjohn has found to help him find beauty and happiness in every day of his life is his friends.

quotesMy senior friends and I know we’re living the last chapter of life. We want to live every moment, see every sunrise and sunset. We want to smile, laugh… and be there for each other.

I will die with no money, yet I will die a rich man because I have friends who care about me.


To hear more from Michael Fitzjohn, visit his active Quora page.

By | 2019-03-04T13:47:01+00:00 September 27th, 2016|Senior Living|Comments Off on Finding the Gold in the Golden Years