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Ask Dr. Gott 9/22

Aging with class

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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have intended to write you for a long time. I'm a retired nurse and read your column in my local newspaper. You and I think exactly alike. I agree with everything you say, we appear very compatible, it looks like we are about the same age, and you are very nice-looking besides.
    Now for my question. How do I learn to live with the aging process? I can't tell whether I have a problem I need to visit my doctor about or whether my symptoms are just part of the aging process. I feel you know the answer.
    DEAR READER: How do any of us deal with the aging process? Some people make ridiculous attempts to fight off aging. Others simply learn to live with it. This is called "class," and I wish more people had it.
    As we age, attitude is critical. There is plenty of help available — at least in the early stages — to counteract the effects of aging (wrinkled skin, white hair, forgetfulness and more), but all of us are in the same boat. This is a fact we need to accept without the Botox, hair coloring and plastic surgery.
    I recommend you remain active to the fullest extent possible. Read the newspaper, listen to the evening news on television, and volunteer at your local hospital, library or senior center. Does your local school have a volunteer day when seniors — the only people who appear to have enough time — read to young children? Join a community center and participate in day trips. Join, or better yet, start a monthly book group. Ask four or five friends, neighbors or interested people to join you. Take turns meeting at each member's house on a rotating basis to discuss the recommended reading.         Consider a monthly luncheon with a handful of friends. You can meet at a favorite restaurant, or this might be done on a rotating basis at each member's home. If you are lucky enough to have a family, ask for their suggestions and include them in your plans whenever possible. Be sensible enough to ask them for help in situations you feel you cannot deal with. Compromise is extremely important.
    Are you stopping the aging process? Not a chance. But by staying active and involved, you will have a reason to put your best foot forward on a daily basis. You'll be keeping up on current events, meeting friends and sharing the woes of aging with style and grace. This creates the "class" that makes our golden years more tolerable. Remain optimistic, facing each new day with a positive attitude.
    It goes without saying that you should visit your doctor on a regular basis and follow the recommendations for treatment of high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and all those less than wonderful road blocks we encounter as we age.
    We've all heard the Serenity Prayer at least once during our lives: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
    Remember that you had a wonderful career, learned a lot and probably have a very supportive family. Don't fight aging. Stay with it, and, above all else, remain strong.


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