To be quite awed by the dignity and stoicism of my elderly relatives

(12 Posts)
Silverweed Mon 08-Jun-15 19:55:30

..and wonder how on earth I'll match up?

I have relatives with various chronic conditions eg painful arthritis, recurring lung problems, hearing/sight prolems, onerous caring responsibilities and just, well, old age.

They complain, sure, but they don't give up. I'm only in my 50s and pretty healthy according to the Ubble thingy, but already odd bits malfunctioning are getting me down. Yet these relatives contend with 10 times more, sometimes just to get up and dressed.

So pretty sure I am not BU but really just wanting to share my respect, and hope I can manage the same - from current position, I can't quite see how I wouldn't throw in the towel if my hips/heart/ eyes etc got that bad!

How do you do it, elders ??

rembrandtsrockchick Mon 08-Jun-15 20:04:01

My mother in law was a difficult woman but her strength of character in the face of terrible problems in old age was truly impressive. There was never any moaning or self pity and the only time she aknowledged her difficulties was when she said "Old age is not for softies".

My mother, on the other hand, is a different story!

Yarp Mon 08-Jun-15 20:05:38

Yup - I know what you mean. I used to work with elderly people (mental health) and what is striking is how stoic so many are - I'm also thinking of husbands and wives caring for spouses with those conditions, or with dementia.

The only time I have had to live with a degree of 'disability' was when I was pregnant - and what a grouch I was.

But people , in general don't 'give up' do they? Most people struggle on until they can't but do something to let people know they need help

morage Mon 08-Jun-15 20:11:07

If you have an ongoing serious health condition that you will have till you die you either learn to get on with it, or you become that person everyone avoids as they get fed up of you talking about it.

Euphemia Mon 08-Jun-15 20:11:20

My MIL gave up aged 60 - she's now 73 and goes nowhere, does nothing, eats badly and does nothing for her health.

I see much older women struggling about with walking sticks, smartly dressed, hair done, doing their best to get on with life. That's how I want to be. smile

morage Mon 08-Jun-15 20:13:22

Euphemia - I don't know your mum, but depression tends to under diagnosed amongst older people.

Aermingers Mon 08-Jun-15 20:13:29

Well yeah, but they might just be putting on a brave face. And so might you, you say it's getting you down, but I wonder if you actually moan to people about it?

My Dad has very bad health problems, he would never complain about it to anybody, but I know from my Mum that in private it does get him down a lot more than he lets on.

Silverweed Mon 08-Jun-15 20:22:42

I think some of it must be about mental health (and mine is a bit inconsistent, which is a worry) and some is cultural and I fear our generation and those following us might not be so patient - judging by the way people rush along to A&E with trivial stuff etc. Are we all to cosseted (Yarp, I relate to you there) to cope with the unfixable discomforts headed our way?? I hope not, but I do wonder.

DaysAreWhereWeLive Mon 08-Jun-15 20:27:50

I wonder about stoicism too, and whether it comes with age or its generational.

Have been at two funeral recently; the oldies all managed quiet dignity. All of us in our 30s practically had to be carried out of the place.

EponasWildDaughter Mon 08-Jun-15 20:42:59

I think older generations were bought up with the 'stiff upper lip', 'seen and not heard', 'weak to show your feelings', 'made your bed now lie in it' mentality. Not always a good thing IMO. Bottling up your thoughts and feelings. Going through life thinking the way you fel is not a legitimate reason to change the status quo.

On a more superficial level; ie the complaining about your health thing:

My MIL has 101 dire medical problems and you never hear her talk about any of them. Even when pressed. She is always cheerful and just doesn't want to spend her time with the family dwelling on her health.

My mother, on the other hand, has turned into everything she hated about her MIL, ironically. Every subject is steered back to her and her various ailments, the number of times she has been to the loo that day, the aches, the pains, and the endless trips and calls to the GP 'just to be on the safe side'.

PtolemysNeedle Mon 08-Jun-15 20:52:09

I don't think this is something that's exclusive to older people, I am often awed by the mental strength and resilience shown by people much younger who deal with very difficult things in life and still somehow manage to be kind and lovely.

I think it's one of those things where people have to make a choice between giving up completely (and facing the misery that would come along with that) and just keeping on going. Not much of a choice either way, but I don't think it means that they aren't suffering, just that they are good at hiding it and are doing the best they can.

morage Tue 09-Jun-15 00:18:41

I do think older people tend to be more stoic.

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