Author Topic: Snarky assumptions about aging  (Read 4276 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21418
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2012, 08:53:24 AM »
U think a lot of people hope that the perfect combination of food, behavior, etc. will prevent all physical and medical problems, for good. When they see somebody with one of these problems they tell themselves  tje person must have done something wrong because the possibility that you can do the "right" things and still get sick is too scary.

Tea Drinker

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1358
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2012, 09:17:01 AM »
Maybe all those snarky younger people can hand their time machines to elderly people with medical problems, so they can go back in time and choose ancestors who aren't susceptible to arthritis, high blood pressure, or any of a huge number of other problems.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

Tabby Uprising

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 451
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2012, 09:34:53 AM »
I think another reason you object inside when people say this is that the unspoken subtext often seems to be, "I shouldn't have to be inconvenienced or pay money for them because they didn't."

Which carries the message, "I don't want to be bothered with you--I don't want to help you." And that's really a harsh stance.

So even though these people aren't saying this explicitly, that sentiment floats along the edge of the conversation.

I agree. I think it is absolutely true that some things can be avoided, but why say that to a 90-yr-old?? They don't have a time machine. They can't change the past. And someone who was poor as dirt and had little health care for most of their young years couldn't do much even with a time machine. Were they supposed to steal that organic produce and the gym membership so they would be healthier in the future??

It kind of smacks of elitism - the idea that Little Miss Healthy is 'better' than those sick people simply because they made different choices in life.

It does give that impression and I hate that! 

And I'm certainly not trying to disparage exercise when I say this, but let's not forget that sometimes exercise can lead to injuries as well.  Knees are fragile creatures and I've known several soccer players and runners who have done long-term damage to them in the course of their activity.  These injuries impact how they are able to exercise in their youth and may impact their mobility when they're older.  I'd never say you shouldn't exercise due to the potential for injury.  I'd never be smug about someone else's injury and say, "Well, if they just hadn't run that marathon or played that game this never would have happened.  They should have been more careful."

Injuries happen. Illness happens. Aging happens.  Such is life.  Compassion is good for the soul, right?  :)

Eden

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 605
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2012, 09:45:39 AM »
I do think there's validity and scientific backup that eating healthy and staying active makes you more likely to maintain health and mobility for longer. However, that's no guarantee and, as someone else said, eventually we will all face limitations in those areas. I suspect the commenters are indeed speaking out of fear or just hopping on the topic and saying how they hope to avoid it. But it is dismissive and doesn't address the very real issue that there are, and always will be, people for whom these things are a problem.

Sterling

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2993
    • Oh Stupid Me- Blogs about Things That Drive Me Crazy
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2012, 10:01:51 AM »
Eating well and getting exercise can help but it isn't a 100% preventative.  How many very healthy people end up needing joint replacements?  My grandmother was never overweight a day in her life but at 80 because an insulin dependent diabetic.  My other grandmother is physically healthy.  Of course she suffers from such bad dementia that she thinks it is 1952 and her nursing home is a plush hotel she is vacationing in.  This woman grew all her own food her entire life and at 5 feet tall never weighted more than 100 lbs.

My sister at 40 was diagnosed with osteoporosis.  No clue why and she is really healthy other wise.

I was a dancer and while I am overweight my biggest medical problem is arthritis in my back and feet.  My back was broken when a man ran a red light and hit my car.  My feet are damaged from years of dance.

I have no advice on how to handle people who say such things but I agree with you that it riles me up.
93 93/93

LadyClaire

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9890
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2012, 10:06:08 AM »
I took really good care of myself through my teens and early 20s. No soda, no junk food, and took martial arts classes 3 or 4 days out of the week. I was in outstanding shape.

Then, my shoulder started aching. I shrugged it off as a sports injury. Then the other shoulder started. Then both got worse. Then my knees started hurting. When I was 28, I was diagnosed with a degenerative joint syndrome. I'm 31 now, and I have a lot of pain and some days I do have mobility issues. They figured out that it was caused by a gene that is carried by my father's side of the family.

My Mom also took great care of herself. She has had breast cancer, and has an autoimmune illness paired with a heart and lung disease that is slowly taking away her mobility and will eventually cause her to have congestive heart failure through other complications. Nothing she has is hereditary..it just happened, for no reason doctors can find.

Sometimes illness hits you regardless of what you do.

Redneck Gravy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2679
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2012, 10:14:57 AM »
A trend I've encountered recently when discussing things like city planning, the aging population, transportation, hospitals and such, is for some people (who are still young and healthy) to pipe up with something along the lines of "well if people would only eat healthier and exercise, they wouldn't have these problems into their old age."

I personally take offense at this attitude! 

One of my dear friends was recently diagnosed with cancer.  She has always taken good care of herself, eating smart, exercising regularly, never smoked or drugged, rarely drank any alcohol, annual physicals, etc.  If some doofus said that or anything similar out loud to her they would probably be met with "that's an interesting assumption" and the coldest look ever in eHell history and on a bad day the business end of my cowboy boot. (Sorry her first week in chemo, I am very sensitive to this issue today)

I have always watched my health and worked out, cardio and non cardio exercise and light weight lifting, I have bone spurs in several joints and arthritis.  My physician says it's just bad luck sometimes. 

Both of my biological parents died young (not from illnesses) so I don't know if any of it is hereditary or not. But now I wonder why I bothered?  To be in constant pain (although mostly mild right now) would I have been happier, long term, running wild and lounging in front of the television.   Or would I just have gotten to this point sooner? 

Oh to be young and KNOW IT ALL with such outrageous opinions again!

CakeBeret

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4253
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2012, 10:16:45 AM »
I think they're missing the point that, even if they take ultimate care of their body, there will come a point at which they can't take care of themselves anymore. Most elderly people don't go from the epitome of health to dying; there's an in-between where they decline, no matter how excellently they have cared for themselves.

Case in point is my great-great-uncle. Truly the epitome of good health. Exercise seven days a week, drink nothing but water, eat healthy, and has always been in superior health. He is currently 106 years old. For his 100th birthday, a TV station did a special on him and his healthy lifestyle, and videotaped him swimming laps at 5am, as he had done every day for the past several decades. He still lives alone. Up until he was about 104, he could do everything himself. But now his eyesight is failing and he's not a competent driver anymore, so he does need help. It's sure as heck not because he didn't take care of himself! It's because the aging process is natural. You can delay it with healthy living, but you can't avoid it entirely.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5880
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2012, 10:19:02 AM »
Case in point is my great-great-uncle. Truly the epitome of good health. Exercise seven days a week, drink nothing but water, eat healthy, and has always been in superior health. He is currently 106 years old. For his 100th birthday, a TV station did a special on him and his healthy lifestyle, and videotaped him swimming laps at 5am, as he had done every day for the past several decades. He still lives alone. Up until he was about 104, he could do everything himself. But now his eyesight is failing and he's not a competent driver anymore, so he does need help. It's sure as heck not because he didn't take care of himself! It's because the aging process is natural. You can delay it with healthy living, but you can't avoid it entirely.

I love this!

Hijinks

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5203
    • Maitri Bath & Body
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2012, 10:22:39 AM »
Quote
It kind of smacks of elitism - the idea that Little Miss Healthy is 'better' than those sick people simply because they made different choices in life.

I agree.  And not everyone gets to make the choice to exercise and eat right.  I have a medical condition that keeps me from exercising as much as I'd like.  And some folks who do not have a lot of money have a hard time spending more for fresh fruits and vegetables when chips and Velveeta are so cheap. 

It's my personal opinion that many people just like to feel superior to others.  I've seen snark in Dear Abby and Dear Amy columns as well, when someone's all "hmph I eat right and exercise and my daughter is all fat and what can I do to make her seeeeee."

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5880
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2012, 10:26:19 AM »
Quote
It kind of smacks of elitism - the idea that Little Miss Healthy is 'better' than those sick people simply because they made different choices in life.

I see this most often when people make choices involving drugs, alcohol or nicotine.  I think there are quite a few people who think they are "better" than these people simply because they made different choices in life.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1189
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2012, 10:27:16 AM »
I think another reason you object inside when people say this is that the unspoken subtext often seems to be, "I shouldn't have to be inconvenienced or pay money for them because they didn't."

Which carries the message, "I don't want to be bothered with you--I don't want to help you." And that's really a harsh stance.

So even though these people aren't saying this explicitly, that sentiment floats along the edge of the conversation.

I agree. I think it is absolutely true that some things can be avoided, but why say that to a 90-yr-old?? They don't have a time machine. They can't change the past. And someone who was poor as dirt and had little health care for most of their young years couldn't do much even with a time machine. Were they supposed to steal that organic produce and the gym membership so they would be healthier in the future??

It kind of smacks of elitism - the idea that Little Miss Healthy is 'better' than those sick people simply because they made different choices in life.

All of this. If you want to find a topic to get my hackles up, it is blaming older adults for their present circumstances. It is far too easy to judge people's pasts from the lens of the present. It's perfect 20/20 hindsight into someone else's life. What we know now about diet, exercise, and access to health care cannot be fairly imposed on people who did not have access to that information or to those services 50, 60, or 70 years ago. In my view, blaming older adults in this way simply says, "It's not my problem."

My father was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in his 60s, as were his mother, my aunt, and my uncle. There's a good chance that I might have it in another 15 years. When I've told people that my dad had diabetes, I have heard many times the "interesting assumption" that he must have had diabetes because he was overweight. My response to that assumption has been: "So, you're assuming his diabetes was weight-related. In fact, he was 6 feet tall and weighed less than 150 pounds. It's hereditary."

My response to those who judge older adults for their present circumstances would probably be along the same lines. "What an interesting assumption." They're making an assumption based on stereotypes, but more than that, they're using faulty logic when they apply the knowledge of today to the past. To me, it would be like asking an 85-year-old accountant why he or she didn't use Excel 50 years ago.

Jones

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2569
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2012, 10:31:14 AM »
To be honest, this is the first I have heard this. I don't know if it's because people I know understand that my husband was raised a healthy and strong farmboy, yet still got arthritis in his hands before the age of 20 and now, at 30 has to use a cane some days because his once-injured knee hurts so badly; or the sheer fact that in my area this is not uncommon.

If someone were to say something along those lines to me, I would be truly shocked and probably ask them how eating more plants would have fixed leukemia in a certain young boy I know, or how another child with whom I'm acquainted ended up needing a heart transplant as a toddler. Degenerative diseases don't "just" hit the elderly or those who don't care for themselves, the human body is an imperfect machine that sometimes has faulty parts. As we age, it becomes more likely that those parts will start to wear out.

I should go practice what I would say, actually, because even though I haven't met this attitude before I probably will one day.

ilrag

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 748
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2012, 10:43:17 AM »
CakeBeret, I love your story but I can be the counter point to that argument. My dad's family tends to live well into their 90's. Most of them smoke like chimneys, drink like fish and couldn't find their way around a gym with a map. Basically they live the opposite life of what any dr would recommend. Which isn't to say at the last year or so of their life they didn't need help but for the most part they were independent and self sufficient.

My dad is by far the healthiest of his generation (super active, quit smoking, eats mostly fresh fruits and veggies) and it didn't save him from open heart surgery (genetic defect with a heart valve) and a hip replacement (wore the thing out).

Is eating healthy/living a healthy lifestyle in general a good idea? Of course. Will it save you from eventual physical decline before you die? Not a chance. People who think it will are just kidding themselves.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21418
Re: Snarky assumptions about aging
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2012, 10:55:56 AM »
FWIW, I am pretty certain that during the Korean War (not sure about Vietnam) soldiers were given cigarettes as part of their supplies/rations. They and the soldiers in WW II smoked to stay warm, to stifle appetites when food was limited, etc. - and the govervnment encouraged them to do so. In many cases they had no habit until the armed services got them hooked.