The Health July/August 2022 | Page 23

Live life to the fullest by putting your mind to it

| Column |




Growing old is inevitable , growing up is optional !

Live life to the fullest by putting your mind to it

AS A group of 70 to 72-year-old classmates gathered on a far from the proverbial “ dirty weekend ”, we discovered that perceptions of our school-day attitudes towards our classmates could be misleading after we go through the process of ageing .

For example , Rahmat was never your model student . In fact , he was one of those who always got into trouble with fellow students , prefects , teachers , and the headmaster . He told me that he had been caned so many times in the headmaster ’ s room that every time he was summoned to the headmaster ’ s office , he will be greeted warmly and offered his choice of cane he wished to be caned with .
I was never close to Rahmat during our school days as we had different interests . Immediately after leaving school , he went on to travel the world on a shoestring budget and worked on jobs that he enjoyed doing . Ultimately , he returned and raised not one but two families , something most of us can only dream of but dared not do !
One of our school ’ s teachers in Penang looked like Hitler and taught us English , and Literature was his favourite target . He would raise his hand in a Hitler salute every time he met the teacher , who sadly passed away recently at over 80 .
Yet he was a gentle teacher well-loved by those who respected his knowledge and teaching of the subject . In some of our class reunions attended by our teachers we reminisce the fond memories of our school days .
Since we started to organise class reunions a couple of decades ago in Kuala Lumpur , Penang and Kedah , we have enhanced our friendships and engagements via social media . But nothing can substitute the physical face-to-face reunions .
This certainly endeared us to each other as we discovered many anecdotes regarding bringing up our families , the joys and tragedies that we overcame and the learnings from all these invaluable life experiences .
Challenges of an ageing population
Social media engagements can be superficial , especially by those who do not respond with their own opinions but by forwarding religious philosophies and political opinions of others and trying to look clever .
This can also be a bone of contention and controversy , often resulting in animosity within the group . In one of my other groups , I was removed due to differences in opinions with one of them who happened to be the admin . Malaysia is becoming a country with an ageing population . And with it comes new problems and challenges . Those aged 60 years and above is estimated to be more than 3.3 million or about 10 per cent of the population .
Furthermore , the aged also live longer due to better healthcare and nutritional facilities . However , most of the elderly are also less healthy than the young , which also puts pressure
Malaysia is becoming a country with an ageing population . And with it comes new problems and challenges . Those aged 60 years and above is estimated to be more than 3.3 million or about 10 per cent of the population .”
Doing the Selam-Dunk .
on the distribution of these facilities , especially in the urban areas where the aged tend to reside .
The physical and social changes associated with ageing are combined with the debilitating effects of multiple , acute , and chronic diseases . They cannot escape the accumulation of chronic pathologies as they grow older . Incontinence , Alzheimer ’ s disease and dementia will increase among the aged , putting pressure on the family and the healthcare system . More nursing homes have been set up to cater to their needs as their children can afford it . In Ipoh , one of my friends has moved into a senior citizens housing complex where the facilities are designed to cater to their needs .
ADI SATRIA , a veteran of marketing communications , continues to find a new sense of purpose in life after so-called retirement in the corporate world . Changing lifestyles to fit his physical and mental condition will only motivate him to live life to the fullest for longer , as nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it .
This includes round the clock medical emergency facilities which can be accessed literally at the touch of a button anywhere within the complex . Although Malaysia has comprehensive medical and healthcare services , special programs for the aged are simply lacking .
Prevention is better than cure
Prevention of diseases and disabilities in the elderly can be achieved through promoting a healthy lifestyle targeted at the young and different age segments as this would benefit them . A healthy young adult will normally continue to become healthy elderly citizens if their lifestyle practices are continued . Hence , we must intensify the educational and counselling campaigns for a healthy lifestyle in every age group .
However , there is a disconnect between achieving a healthy nutritional lifestyle and the availability of less than healthy food , drinks and outlets which are promoted heavily via advertising campaigns . Fast foods with their preservatives , sugar and salt content are the cause of diseases like diabetes , gout , heart , and blood pressure among the younger population .
As an ageing person who practices a healthy lifestyle I find this trend nothing alarming . I see friends and relatives suffering from these Non- Communicable Diseases ( NCD ).
And my classmates like Rahmat suffer from diabetes and glaucoma , and he takes pills not only daily but also self- administers insulin injections . Another classmate like Dr Rashid and others , including my brother-in-law are in the same situation . They used to be sportsmen during their school and adult working days but not anymore .
To me this is regrettable , and I thank God for having the realisation and courage to change my nutritional and physical lifestyle more than 20 years ago . I realised then that it is hard work growing old to maintain a healthy life . No such thing as retirement and rest , lest you want to rest in peace in no time !
Coming back to our @ Yan Reunion 2022 , we first went to Jitra to celebrate the opening of Tok Jamil Murshid ’ s new Tafiz school . Now that is a man who has found purpose in life .
The next day , we were in Yan at Tok Mat Ibnihajar ’ s small country retreat . The river surrounding the retreat and the pool filled with cool river water was perfect for a “ Selam-Dunk ” competition to determine who could stay underwater the longest . Sharifuddin defended the title he held last year with a time of one minute 4.23 seconds . Prof Zaidi was second at 47 seconds and yours truly third at 43 seconds . Not bad at all .
Of course , when in Yan , do what the Yans do – eat durians , mangosteens and rambutans . The reunion ended with a great barbeque of chicken , seafood and mutton as all diet restrictions flew out the window into the flowing stream nearby .
As classmates in our late journey of life , despite everything , there is no substitute for a positive attitude towards life and living . You can be 71 years old but have an attitude of a 17-year-old . Growing old is inevitable but growing up is optional . — The Health