Why is old age associated with stillness? Why are they confined to the stubborn siesta and the squares full of pigeons? Living longer is not the same as living better.
A gentle breeze runs through the halls, the loving spring climbs in the gazebo of the patio, giving away some beautiful red roses. In an hour and a half mother and her classmates meet to put together the exhibition. A sweet and restless uncertainty reigns in the living room. Nerves heat up the afternoon. Can those who look at these paintings understand that at sixty-something life begins with more force than ever? From the hands of my mother and those of her companions, doves in flight, still lifes, cobbled streets, children flying kites, illuminated autumns. The color explodes in the fabrics, the ocher dance with force and at times the most unusual mixtures create an effect of soft light intensity. A peacock struts in the distance, on a green background that I love: it is the painting that Mom decided to give me as a gift to accompany my psychologist chair, the day she receives me.
In full activity
“So much passion hanging on the wall”, I think, paraphrasing Ricardo Montaner and I feel proud that my mother and her long-lived companions are able to make sense of that age that the government insists on calling them “passive.” At sixty my mother decided to start dedicating herself to it and discover talents and gifts hidden or interrupted by motherhood and life. And she died at 73 of an intestinal heart attack, telling myself “I’m going to go home and fix the garden.” After the funeral I found some half-finished canvas paintings, the sewing machine full of interrupted crafts, and the project of opening a painting course for psychotic children and adults half-thinking. I’m sure she meant to me in some way that old age was just a word to her.
Is old age bad?
There is an approach of resignation anchored in society, seeing grandparents as people who no longer have anything to give. Why is old age associated with inactivity? Why are they confined to the stubborn siesta and the squares full of pigeons?
Our Western and Christian culture is ignorant of the possibilities of old age. «We all have childcare, that is, knowledge of the baby’s world. So we could take care of a baby without major problems, since we know their needs and expectations […] However, who can, knows or wants to take care of an elderly person? […] Ignorance is followed by indifference or it precedes it, it’s the same thing », says Dr. García Pintos in Psychology.
I wonder when we will learn to stimulate the search for happiness more than to deal with the aches and pains of old age when we approach an elderly person. Living longer is not the same as living better, that is why I share some activities that I saw my parents carry out:
Cultural and educational activities
Find cultural and educational centers in your area where you can participate in formal educational programs (universities for the elderly, crafts and arts workshops or training programs for older adults), and in that way you will help your health, maintaining your mind and spirit assets. They say that reading, writing letters, playing chess or checkers, going to the theater and visiting libraries are five essential activities to maintain good brain activity in adulthood.
Intergenerational transfer and new family responsibilities
From now on let your children know that you are not only capable of “taking good care of the grandchild”, but that you are the right person to transmit values, beliefs and life experiences that will give them tools to live. Show your “capital” of wisdom and experiences by recounting your memories and knowledge. For example, surely you are an expert in making cakes with a single egg, removing those stale stains that no modern detergent has been able to remove, and I don’t think that to this day any doctor knows how to lower that persistent fever, with that tizana (remedy ) that you always prepare.
Do not let them insist with that image of a passive retiree, or of the woman who becomes a burden, show them that life still makes you vibrate and feel.