What Changes Come With Ageing and What Doesn’t? As of 2016, the number of baby boomers ranged from 74.1 million to 81.3 million, depending on whether the generation begins with the birth year 1943 or 1946. Ageing is a natural process of life. Various changes come along with it. Majority of baby boomers are now entering the next stage of their lives: retirement. How can baby boomers adapt to this fast paced world? The Booms Day Prepping panelists share their insights on the different issues related to ageing ranging from physical activity to the Internet.
Wayne Bucklar: This is Booms Day Prepping, our regular look at Baby Boomers getting ready for that next stage in life. As normal, I’m joined by my co-host Drew Dwyer, my name is Wayne Bucklar. And our regular group of panelists are with us – Brian Hinselwood, Glenn Capelli, Amanda Lambros and Bron Williams – join us to share with us their wit and wisdom. Today’s topic, “What Changes with Ageing and What Doesn’t?”
Dr. Drew Dwyer: Hello everybody. Welcome panel, thank you Wayne. This is an interesting subject that I chose for this particular webinar or podcast and it’s of a particular interest to me as a gerontologist and a counselor of older people because it’s really it is a lot to do with how they live, receive and respect their life around age and change and what is changing and what is not and trying to find that balance for themselves as a person who is ageing in a timeline and who is getting older. And of course, I will say it and continue to use it but building their knowledge through emotional intelligence, understanding themselves intrapersonally, understanding others – “interpersonally” and working your communication, your lifestyle and your balance so that you’re aware of what’s going on around you, aware what’s going on around others and aware of how that you deal with your day-to-day aspects of change as we age. So to open up this little bit of conversation, I’ll lead a way with the negatives first and place it in because generally and we have been discussing in many of our podcasts, it always seems to be a negative attachment and a stigma towards ageing which really is a frustrating thing for me because I don’t have a stigma with ageing and I hear the stigma and the stereotyping of ageing always in the negative context which of course is ageist itself. And before we begin, I’d like to interject that the mission I have is to change this type of thinking and prospectively and holistically for a reason. I work as you all know predominantly in the aged care sector in a lot of see homes and community care and I work with chronic disease management. Now as a clinician in this space, it’s very important for me and the team to have a good value system around elderly people, but this also goes towards our client, and our customer and our patient. We need community people themselves to have a positive concept around ageing because the result of it is what we deal with today in the clinical domain. If we are going to remain negative and anti-ageist, “I’m not old, I’m not senior, I don’t want to be called this,” we don’t have a positive aspect. How can we expect or accept that we are to give older people, much older people the rights, and the privilege, and the dignity and the respect that they deserve as they frail, become vulnerable and are in need of the dignity and respect as older more respectable people in society. So in a layman’s term, we need to start respecting the fact we age, we get older, it has positives, not only the negatives and we should be complacent and we should take that context and be positive because once we get further down the line, how can we expect anything positive to be given to the elderly person if we ourselves are not positive about ageing? So I’ll open up with the negative first and hopefully, we’ll move this conversation into some positives and I know, I’ll focus in my favorite person that’s Brian and tell me Brian what’s the worst thing about ageing.
Brian Hinselwood: “Change”, I mean I guess the worst thing with the change are health related. I mean things start to fall to pieces, things don’t work as well as they used to and they try to do things because in your head, you’re still 24 or 35 or whatever you happen to think at the time. And so I think, “I should do some exercise. I’ll just try some press ups.” And you can’t get off the floor and you think, “Oh no, this is not good.” So I think it’s meant for me, it’s mainly bodily things that start to disappear and and I find that really frustrating because you think “I should be able to do” whatever it is you do. And suddenly you can’t, so I find that really frustrating actually.
Bron Williams: Well I was just thinking out, one of the words that you said a few times in which I think it needs to be removed from the English language is the word “Should.” Because it all comes back to expectations. So Glenn, what are your expectations as you have aged? Are you like Brian thinking that you should be able to do stuff or are you more taking life as it comes? Like you’ve already had to cope with the loss of your hair?
Dr. Drew: And there are expectations on change and ageing. So Glenn I ask you, where you think those expectations on ageing are?
Glenn Capelli: Yes, indeed. Pondering on what Brian was saying, the jukebox that came to me was Peters and Gordon, “I go to pieces.” But I’d be rather more with David Bowie, choo-choo-choo-choo changes, there’s choo-choo-choo-choo changes all throughout life and I think we recognize that. But I’m going to go with Jimmy Buffett, changes in latitude and changes in attitude. And I guess attitudinally, I believe anyway, I’ve got more flexible with age mentally and I think one of the great challenges that Bron was pointing out is to keep that flexibility physically as well as still actually to work on the physical body as being as flexible as they can. But mentally, I think I haven’t been as judgmental as what I was early on. I am now listening more, I think if we at our best, we can learn greater empathy as we age and yet some people seem to go the opposite way and close down from that. So their “changes and latitude” and “changes and attitude” might not be the same as mine. But that would be for starters, the attitudinal change I think has improved for me but I don’t know if that’s so for all of us and all in the Baby Boomer generation.
Bron: Yes, that’s true. When you said the word “Latitude”, my reign went to time and gravity does to a woman’s body. So what do you reckon Amanda? Time and gravity, doing stuff?
Amanda Lambros: Time and gravity. And well, you just get really much more supportive bras, that’s the first thing you have to do. You can no longer just buy the cheapos, you do actually have to go and spend a little extra money. And I think one of the things that a lot of people kind of avoid talking about is all the sexuality changes that occur as well. So your actual vagina, it actually changes shape. So it’ll actually become shorter and it narrows. So if you’ve been with the same partner for a long time and all of a sudden you’re like “Oh, that seems that feels a little bit different,” there’s reasons for it. So typically your vagina will shorten, it’ll narrow, the walls become a little bit thinner, so this may or may not lead to discomfort during sex. Some people it does, some people it doesn’t. And then with what Brian was talking about was all these health related issues, you might experience impotence because heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, all of those actually link to your sex drive and your sex life and your vaginal lubrication. So usually if a guy is never had a problem getting an erection and then all of a sudden he has a problem, your first indicator is to go and see a doctor to see if you have any like blood clots or high blood pressure or anything like that.
Bron: My goodness, isn’t it interesting how all the different parts of our body are connected? Because we do tend to think, I think, especially when we’re younger that our sex drive, our sexual organs always sort of somehow have a life of their own?
Amanda: Yes, they work independently of each other.
Bron: They do. That actually makes us realize well, “Hello, no. We’re a whole human being”.
Glenn: I’ve always known that my brain and my penis were connected.
Bron: Yes, we certainly do get that.
Brian: I think that’s called “Short-Circuiting” Glenn.
Dr. Drew: And if we are done with accepting change, we must ask ourselves to be remindful and add our usual context around ageing because one of the biggest aspects that affects us in ageing will be the concept or the experience of sex, sexual health and sexuality. So I’m going to put it out to our panelist who is our locum sexologist, counselor and therapist in this, Amanda open for comment?
Amanda: And so if you’re a guy like I just talked about female vaginal lubrication, but if you’re a guy and it takes a little longer to get a erection, again that’s totally normal. It may not be as firm or as large as it used to be, again totally fine, the amount of ejaculate that comes out might be a smaller amount. These are all totally normal things that sometimes when it occurs, people freak out because they’re like “This is not the normal,” but it is the normal when you’re aging. And so just be aware that that’s okay, but if anything is way abnormal and completely not something that you’d be like “Oh, I can deal with this,” go and see your doctor.
Glenn: Maybe we could throw in the Guns and Roses’ ballad Patience as a jukebox for adult too that we can learn some patience along the way. And in all honesty, things used to happen a bit too quickly when I was young. So going a little bit slower could be a good thing not only for me but perhaps for others too.
Amanda: Pros and cons.
Brian: One of the saving graces here is that these things tend to happen gradually. It’s not like you’re rampant one day and the next week, it does take a considerable amount of time. As Amanda said, you have got time to kinda get used to it, “Oh, well that’s not that much different from last week or yesterday, whatever.” When I was talking earlier, I was meaning just general not sexual particularly, but just general breaking down of the body. I mean as you get older of course, all your friends are getting older as well. And if you hear people got horrible diseases or they need pacemakers, they need all sorts of things and I think that’s when it comes in to me, it’s when it comes into a tone and you think, “I does not seem too bad,” it’s kind of the what people do, the body obviously breakdown.
Glenn: And some of those that early traumas and “I did my knee” and when I was first 16 years of age playing footy and the tried to tell me not to go back and play footy on the new knee but after reconstruction and what they were trying to tell me is “Save yourself for when you’re 50s, 60, 70s and be able to walk etc.” But of course when you’re 16 you go “No, I’m going back out there.” So some of those injuries now, I mean my mates have got new knees, we can get new hearts, etc. But I think learning context sometimes, you can’t run marathons or sprints anymore but can walk that if we learn to contextualize things a little bit differently as we age, maybe that’s wisdom.
Dr. Drew: So in the aspect or the context of time, I want to ask us to talk and have a thought about time as a “concept” and time as a “clock” and how time itself changes. So time changes as we age and as we go along the timeline – time clocks, body clocks and things change. And your body reacts to these changes. This is a result of things very similar to going through puberty, or adolescence, and childhood and intermediate adulthood, we have circadian rhythms and I think Glenn has spoken about this before. But it’s an actual unique part of a science it allows us as human beings to align our body clocks to the timeline that we spend throughout our age. And as your body changes, your time clocks change and as all of this comes into a holistic part of ageing, it also affects our bodies’ human clock, our anatomy, our physiology and it has an impact on the aspect of what we know as atrophy – medical atrophy, clinical atrophy and atrophy of course, I’ve spoken before is the aspect of shrinking or dying off. So of course, what we understand here is it’s very similar in concept to how we look at we age. Time itself will have a huge impact on our body clocks and how our body reacts to time and how much time our bodies spend. So atrophy is a big aspect and I ask listeners to always go off and have a little look at this word “atrophy” and what it means and where they resonate with it. Because as we age, we get older, we don’t move as much, we don’t get up early, we sleep in. Sleep by the way is very, very important for older people and people who age as much as sleep is very important for teenagers who need to average out around 8 to 10 hours a day of sleep. It’s also very important for our much older people. Sleep is a good thing for the elderly body. But the changes that occur in atrophy in a shrinking are changes that occur and happen specifically to what is going on in our “ADME process” and I’ll talk about that later. But right now, give me your thoughts around time and time change and where time sits for you.
Bron: Also with what Amanda was saying and that contextualization applies whether it implies to your sex life, your physical ability to exercise, just about anything I think that it’s the idea. I like that idea Glenn but I think you’ve given me a word for what I’ve been trying to do for myself is to embrace the season that I’m in. I’ve always tried to do that during my life and particularly, to do it now because I find that this morning, well I did get up really early, I had an early morning call past 4 this morning. But I get to 8:30 and go, “I feel exhausted”. And I think a bit like you Brian, “Why am I feeling tired? Why is this exhausting me?” And then having to sit back and go, “Well, that’s because you’ll turned 62 in a couple of months time, you’re not 42 anymore.”
Brian: But as you pointed out, you got up at 4:30. And if you got up at 6:30, you’ll feel the same thing at 10:30.
Amanda: Yes. And I think one of the things that we kind of just accept as, “Well this is the norm” is that chances are you’re going to be on other medications, you might be on some supplements, or some additional vitamin B or other things like that or you might actually just be on medication to keep you ticking along. And I think that kind of came like a halt to me like my parents were recently visiting from Canada and my dad had to just go in to have a check-up. And so he goes “Oh I’ll just have one done in Australia because I can.” And I went “Okay, no problem.” So we went in and the doctor said, “So are you on any meds?” No. “Are you on this?” No. “Are you on that?” No. “Have you had any body part replacements?” “No.” And my dad’s nearly 80 and the guys like, “Oh you’re one of the few.”
Brian: For sure.
Glenn: They either say that or they don’t believe you . You know, “I don’t drink. I have one drink a week.” No, no, come on, let’s be honest with this. Yes, interesting. I’d like to ask you a question about that changes in latitude and attitude to everyone there. Sometimes, I think our philosophy of life is pretty ingrained pretty young. We have a certain approach to life when we’re 16, 17 and I don’t know whether it radically changes or it just gets a little bit deeper. So has there been a shift in your values, in your philosophy of life or do they remain the same and just deeper?
Brian: For what it’s worth, I agree Glenn. I think you stay pretty much the same. The thing that I found with me is I’m far less tolerant of some people. I mean I’m generally speaking a very tolerant person but if I see people doing stupid things, I just can’t cope. It’s like “What are you doing?” And I’m far more outspoken obviously than I was, maybe not obviously, but obviously than I was at 16. At 16, I tended to keep it a little bit in and since then, I’ve learned to just voice my opinion whether they liked it or not is their problem not mine.
Glenn: Would it be true Brian and I’ll put a distinction there that I find more tolerance for people but less tolerance for certain behaviors? Is this the behavior, how people are showing up slightly. If they’ve done something that’s just bad news, you actually call up these days rather than see them.
Amanda: I agree with that.
Brian: The other thing is with this wonderful thing called the “Internet” or “Interweb” as my mother-in-law called it. You can see these people doing these things 24/7. People post stuff on YouTube or on whatever and you see people doing things you’d think, “Are they really using the same ad that I’m using? How do they do that?”
Bron: I think probably, I’m agreeing with both Brian and Glenn is that yes, I think I’m still essentially the same but I think there’s that honing of what is important to us and that’s perhaps why we are less tolerant of behaviors. As you say Glenn, we are more I think generally tolerant in that we’ve lived long enough to know that we have our own share of foibles and we’ve sort of come to grips probably a bit better with their own frailties so we can tolerate people but it’s the things that are important to us and behaviors, attitudes, they’re the things that we go, “No, this is where I stand.” And you know like Brian, you speak up about it or you get tell them what you think or even as you say Brian sometimes you’d think, “Do we actually share the same planet?” and you do wonder how could that possibly be.
Brian: I worked for a chap years ago who when anything silly happened and something awful happened like somebody got killed or whatever and he would say “It’s just strengthening the gene pool.” I thought to myself that was a horrible thing you say, the more you see these stupid things, the more you get to think. He was at the time, he was quite an elderly gentleman. So it lived long enough to maybe feel the embarrassment of it.
Amanda: I think you’re kind of spot on there guys with the whole the values are the values and they’re ingrained from a really young age and that they just kind of strengthen all the way through. And it’s kind of like you hone them, just like we were saying Bron, it’s kind of like, “Okay, I’ve lived a long enough life to go this is tolerable, this isn’t or you know what, I’m not gonna wait a week before I say or do something. I’m gonna action it a lot quicker.” So I think those kind of things, the underlying fundamental doesn’t change unless there’s something super traumatic that occurs that you go “It’s fundamentally shifting me from the inside-outside so I’ve got a change.”
Glenn: Another jukebox song but the great Loudon Wainwright III and as one of the lyrics he wrote was “Work out what you stand for and what you cannot stand.” And then I guess it’s making a stand for those sorts of things. Now in the hands of the fascists, that could be a dangerous statement but in the hands of us wise elders, it could be wonderful.
Dr. Drew: If we think about our values as we age and because the values of ourselves change, time of course changes us and then the fundamentals that we sit with or base ourselves with our culture, our value and the things we are culturally and socially taught as a norm, they change as we get older and experience life and they also change as we age and step into the third part of life. But it is an area of discussion for many older people, Boomers in particular that sit around the 65 to 75 year mark or 72 year mark because we are constantly as we do age and get older and it’s more visual or visible to other people and ourselves that we’re constantly asked to retract, or to check or to not comment around our value systems because they will not be the same as other people around us and particularly younger tribes of people around us and we often get asked as older people to curb our thinking, not be judgmental, or to change our old way of thinking, or not be old-fashioned. And of course, these are important aspects for ageing because we must as you guys have stated, remain grounded in our fundamentals. Even though we changes older people, some of our fundamentals must remain in place. And what this happens as Brian is into alluded to and that is it brings challenge to people, it brings challenge to us as an older person, thinking we’re wiser and smarter and of course, it brings challenge to the people that either don’t want to engage us out of respect or do want to engage us out of the fewer fact that they want conflict and to prove an older person wrong. So we do have to be developing strong skills in emotional intelligence and Wayne I know you don’t like that word but I’ll be using that word so much. But this is the true nature of education and growth to older people particularly Baby Boomers is to start functioning in an awareness of emotional intelligence and how we use it because failure to use that emotional intelligence as we age could end you in some hot pots and it will require you to have some deeper thinking or some reflective thinking before you for say “Put your mouth into neutral before you put your mind into gear.” So “put your gear” meant “mind into gear and your mouth into neutral” so don’t put your foot on a pedal too quickly because we don’t want to be involved constantly in battles with people because our fundamentals as older people are being challenged.
Brian: In the hands of anybody, it could be dangerous. It’s up to the rest of the planet or the sensible people to counteract that. I mean it doesn’t matter what some of these views are per se, it’s whether you can make your views stand up to it and maybe counteract it or whatever. So you’re always going to have these of any description, be they a Liverpool soccer fan like myself or be they a fatuous living in somewhere, I don’t know wherever. It’s a case of just standing up for what you believe in and trying to convince the other people that they should listen to you, not necessarily agree but at least they should listen.
Dr. Drew: And again just to highlight what you’ve been talking about, standing up for what we believe in or focusing on our fundamentals as a core belief and a growth, or belief or a culture belief for older people causes conflict. And this conflict has an adaptable meaning to ageing. We have to work out what’s changing as we age? What’s important to worry about? What’s not important to worry about? What conflict will it bring me, why am I in conflict and should I toss it to the curb or should I remain stoic in my attitude as I age and not step off my fundamentals? So that’s entirely up to individuals to make their decision on and of course, we’re all challenged by it and it’ll get even more deeper as a challenge as you step into your inner circle of your onion layers we’ve discussed and you start these conflicts with people who are very close to your circle of influence.
Amanda: And I think the other thing is that there’s not really this – aging doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, there’s so many positives to it. Like once you retire, you have all this additional time up your sleeve to be able to travel, you may have a retirement fund that you can actually travel on, you have grandkids that you can actually enjoy being with them as opposed to maybe disciplining them when they were your own kids or things like that. So there’s so many positives to aging as well.
Brian: I have a number of friends who are retired and they’ve always said, “I can’t believe I had enough time to actually work. I’m just like thinking about that now I’m retired.” So it’s a little bit different for all this because you all work for yourself, you’re all keeping, working, there’s no retirement, they just stop. You retire when people stop listening to you basically.
Dr. Drew: Yes Brian and as we have discussed before, the word “retirement” needs reframing I believe as the word has a stigma attached to it, the word is probably out of date, it doesn’t match much most Baby Boomers or older people anymore and as we’ve said, most of us as we age and we change particularly in a modern world, we don’t want to retire per se, we want to engage in community in a different way and we want to find ourselves being more of an attribute and having a commitment and an input into community but probably not as such a deadline of time or too much effort and probably doing it more relaxed, finding balance with lifestyle and work and being able to still feel confident, engaged and connected with our community. And at the same time, knowing that retirement still has that stigma.
Amanda: Yes, it’s called “Death.”
Glenn: I’ve got a wonderful mate who as we progress through life, there’s always challenges and hurdles and we can get knocked around a bit and they were certainly knocked around a bit. And later in life, he found his way to bird-watching. So he got bought the binoculars and he spends hours, and hours and hours cataloging birds and being out with nature and it was something he never would have had the time or inclination for when he was younger. But I really think he’s found a new field, that ongoing learner and it’s probably saved his life. I think there are these things that we can tap into that we realized at the age of 60 or 70 as we’re tapping into them, “Boy, this is going to take another hundred years to learn all this stuff, how exciting this is?”
Bron: I think too like when you’re younger, you’re setting out to change the world, you’ve got all this drive and passion. I just think that morphs as you get older, we talked about the things that are important to us and our values. I think that passion stays but it’s more like those white-hot coals at the bottom of the fire, still really, really hot and please don’t touch it or you’ll get burned. But it’s not that sort of like fiery passion but I still think there’s that, it’s a beautiful quiet drive up that I can really only sort of say that for myself because I’ve seen that happen in my own life. But is that a common experience for anybody else?
Brian: I don’t know if I’m getting any more mellow which is I think what you were hinting out there Bron or saying, I’m fairly sure I haven’t got any more mellow. As I said I’ve always been a little bit laid-back but now I just speak my mind each time and I’m quite happy with it. Most of my friends, they’re quite happy with it, notwithstanding the fact that I often see them raising their eyebrows to the ceiling and going, “There he goes again?” Yes, I don’t know, I think as you get older, well you hope you’ve become more intelligent because you’ve learnt more both from your mistakes and from your successes. And I think we just kind of go along with that, we just sort of accept that that’s what’s happening to this right to kind of say what we feel.
Dr. Drew: Yes Brian, becoming complacent or perhaps mellow in our ways is a matter of opinion to people and it’s something that all individuals need to explore. I of course know myself in my 50s, I don’t think I’ll mellow for a little bit longer. I’ve mellowed in much ways, having children’s helped me mellow and of course, working in clinical domains and a lot around palliation, death and conflict has helped me mellow in certain ways. But I know myself as an individual and I will not probably mellow too quickly when it comes to the values and the integrity that I hold as an individual for particular reasons to me. But as we age, we always need to be aware that we do become wise and as we become older, we become wiser. And as wisdom allows us better knowledge and better placement of things, we get to see things with our third eye so to speak. So being able to choose and pick your battles is very important and it’s very a common saying amongst older people and they won’t say much or don’t say anything and they’ll sit there and observe and become complacent with what’s going on around them but in reality, very wise old person sitting there with a button on the lip thinking, “I’m not going to comment because I’m just going to mellow and watch” or probably thinking to themselves, “I have been there, done that. I know what the result of this conversational action is going to be, so I’ll sit here and I’ll be silent.” My grandmother used to say “Silence is Gold.” And I never understood that as a younger man but I did understand it as I got older and now I understand it very well.
Glenn: A mate of mine describe it that you’d speak and you’d see a Mexican wave of eyebrows because, and if we can provoke that, that’s a nifty thing, that’s a good thing. Bron, you said certain about humor before, that maybe that even improves.
Bron: I think so. I think we’ve lived long enough to have probably so much more material to work with in our lives and I like the fact that we don’t take ourselves quite so seriously I think because we’ve come to accept as I said before some of our foibles and our frailties and we can poke fun at ourselves. Yes, I think there’s a richness to humor that comes with age.
Glenn: And along with that, to know the difference between self deprecation and self defecation.
Bron: Yes that’s one of the problems with age, well as we get quite a bit older.
Glenn: What’s this thing when they talk about and Brain, they talk about daddy humor. I’ve had that daddy humor since I was five. I don’t know it’s just type of humor to me, it’ not an age.
Brian: Yes, that’s right. It’s not. I think it’s something I don’t know that happens in the brain maybe. I’m always amazed at people and I meet quite a lot of people who don’t seem to have a sense of humor. I mean my sense of humor is a little bit out there. When you meet people that just can’t laugh at themselves or laugh at the world or laugh at what’s happening, and I find that really very, very sad. I just think you can’t take everything notwithstanding the fact those horrible things happening all over the world, you can’t take it all on board. You have to kind of not make fun of it but you have to kind of lighten it by just sort of saying, “Well luckily, it happened there and not here and just get on with your lives.”
Bron: I think that happens when we can make fun of our aging process. I worked as a chaplain for six months in an aged care place in Goulburn and that was wonderful. And there was a guy there who just continued like he was in his 80s and he was flirting with all the ladies because I’m sure he did that when he was 20. So he’s still doing that and I’d said to him as I was leaving, you just throw a line over the shoulder. I said, “Now just make sure you don’t get up to too much mischief.” He says, “I can’t get up to anymore.” I don’t think that’s how you do it with your age, you recognize your limitations but it still doesn’t mean you can’t sort of have general poke fun at that process that’s happened to you.
Amanda: And I think that’s where flexibility comes in as well obviously, not flexibility with your joints but flexibility in your mindset of being able to say, “Okay, I’ll take this a little bit easier.” Or “You know what, this is like this problem or a thing that, but there’s a solution, so don’t worry about it.” Whereas I think in younger years, a problem arises and you’re like, “Oh my God, this is a problem and it’s insurmountable” and all this other kind of stuff. But as you age, you kind of go “You know, there’s more ways than one of looking at something and being able to overcome this hurdle.”
Glenn: I know with my mom when people would say, “She’s losing it, oh she’s losing it.” And all I watch for is was she’s still being funny? Purposefully funny? And was she getting it when you would say something? So she knew when I was being funny or try to be funny, she was still getting it how we using the same humor and I think it’s one of the other things you might have slipped but the humor factors stayed right with mum right to the very end. And when dad, I mean my dad was as dry as anything and on his deathbed he said, “I bought him an ice cream” and he said “Son, how much did that ice cream cost you?” And I said, “Oh, I don’t know dad.” And I said, “$3-$4” and he said, “I remember when they were 6 cents.” And he laughed and it was his way of using humor and the laugh to tell me how he had lived a long life and “I’m fine.” There was layers of wisdom to it as there often is with humor.
Bron: Because we can address things that we would prefer not to address when we use humor.
Brian: Things that we prefer not to address.
Bron: Well no. Maybe things we would prefer not to address them in a serious manner but we’ll come in, we’ll slide in sideways with a bit of humor and we refer to it with humor rather than addressing the issue directly.
Dr. Drew: Well yes guys, you are right Bron. Humor is an art form and it actually takes years to perfect that art form and Brian as a thespian in the group would understand that absolutely clearly that the skill and the art of performing art doesn’t come quickly. For some people, I’m sure it’s natural but for many people who have the natural ability, it’s a never ending process of building that artform. Humor is much the same. We learn, see and experience an ethnography of much around life and ethnography is the study of lived experience of studying and learning. So when we live our life, we experience things, it’s actually ethnographical learning that we’re getting. But of course, humor is built in an art form and it progressively comes through experience. But what we do experience is that it’s also it’s a good use of emotional intelligence. We get to see things from a different perspective as we age generally because we have better insight, more lived experience, we’ve probably traveled the journey you’re about to see or are currently watching others go through. And whether you like to jump in this space with me in the bubble and work with me, the fact is because you have humor it means you have developed good emotional intelligence. We can see the funny side of life. Today, I’m not too certain that humor is something that’s respected enough and maybe people are taking more offense to humor or humorous things, jokes, or comedy and the likes and perhaps some people are taking humor a bit too far. I’ll leave that up to everybody else’s decision. I mean I believe I have a great sense of humor, I love a good laugh. Sometimes, it may be a little bit weird to other people but I do love a good belly laugh and I love it when I reach a point in my time-space where I get to sit and have a good belly laugh.
Glenn: I’d like to check in one about food and I guess that relates to the body and weight as well because I think I’ve still tried to eat as much as I used to eat and I was raised on “If you put food on your plate, you have an empty plate and you eat every bit of it and don’t throw anything out.” And I think I’ve got a lot smarter when I realized as I aged a bit to decrease my food portions that I’d probably didn’t need three meals a day. I go back to when I was on Kibbutz have a decent meal for breakfast, a princely meal for lunch and a pauper’s snack in the evening and by doing that and decreasing my weight as it started to go up, decreasing it again, it change my chemistry and I thought that I’ve got a lot more energy back with that too. So is that just me and a food thing or is that something that goes on without chemicals? Amanda and your great histories of learning and is it something chemical happening there?
Amanda: Well this is the cool thing. The chemicals of our body as we age, they constantly are changing. So there are chemicals and our balance is completely in flux throughout our entire life and that’s why it’s really important to know what’s right for you. So everyone is going to be unique and granted there’s the, “Oh go and get a blood test and we’ll tell you on average you should be here.” But it’s like if you know how you feel and how you feel at your best or at your worst, then you can gauge it. So you would be probably spot-on by saying, “I just adjusted my food and all of sudden I had increased energy and all this other stuff.” I think that’s you like listening to your body and I think a lot of people unfortunately don’t do that as much as they should be doing. But there’s great evidence that says even things like the 5:2 Diet, it actually does provide you with longer term outcomes with living. It kind of gives you this perception, that research suggests that it gives you the ability to like fight diseases a little bit easier than others and because you’re not starving your body but you’re bringing your body back to the basics. And I think it’s those kind of things to actually pay attention to but really listen to your body and I can’t say that enough, it’s like if your body shifts just slightly, listen to it and go, “Okay, why are you shifting? Is this a good shift or a bad shift? And do I need to speak to somebody about it?”
Brian: I think the other side of that coin Amanda is that as you get older, when you go into hospital for anything and thankfully I haven’t been in for quite a while but a couple of years ago, I was in for a couple of things. And it’s amazing how many young nursing staff and young doctors because as you get older, they’re getting younger. And that was like prison really and how they kind of like, I remember one nurse saying to me, “We need to do this because…” And I said, “No, you can’t do that because…” and I was arguing with her that I knew my body better than her.
Amanda: Yes, probably better than hers.
Brian: And also, not as well as hers. So it’s really interesting because I go to the doctor every 6 months for a checkup and he’s about the same age as me, so it’s much easier to talk to him about things than it is talk to I mean obviously they’re not 12 but a 21 year old or 22 year old third-year nurse or whatever they happen to be. Having said that, I mean they’re wonderful. I wouldn’t do their job for three times the money they’re getting, whatever they’re getting. I think they do a magnificent job but just sometimes you think, “Can you listen to me? Can you listen to what I’m saying?”
Glenn: I think Dr. Doogie Howser was 12. Only a small percentage of the population will get that, but I’ve always listened to my body and it’s always farted. That’s one of the wisdoms, the sounds. Some people believe I even get paid for my wind. Enough with that.
Bron: Long winded to that, are you Glenn?
Glenn: I got for multiple short winds. I don’t like long wind on stage. And it’s actually interesting with the odd job that I do which is odd and that has always been strange that I fly a lot, I’m constantly flying and then going on stage and I used to back that up by doing more, and more and more. And now I just find that it rocks me around a little bit more and you’ve got to integrate that recovery time in and I probably should have been doing that way before as well, way younger because I’d recover. But essentially I was recovering to go out there and do the adrenalin again and I wasn’t recovering to have time with Lindy my partner or to be present. I’d recover to get up and go again to the next job. And I think integrating that time throughout would have been a lot better for me and for the people that I share my life with.
Brian: I think in any job, everybody needs a down time. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re a stay-at-home mom with kids, if you’re whatever, you need down time. And this is why hopefully if you’ve got a good partner, they’ll come home and look after the kids for a couple of hours while you have a glass of wine, or just relax, or read a book and whatever, listen to some music. My youngest daughter who’s got two young children, her husband’s got a fairly high pressure kind of management job, but he’s brilliant when he comes home with the kids and when I go down there and I see them and I think, “This is so helpful.” I mean he’s been working all day, he does whatever he does and then it comes home and I think it just gives my daughter a break. So I think everybody needs that, everybody needs whatever their job is, whatever they’re doing in life, you need to be able to step back for a while. And as you say Glenn, spend time with your partner, spend time with the kids, whatever it is you do.
Glenn: It’s wonderful. I’ve just been speaking to a school and all the students in school, one of the students was telling me, how her dad as busy as he is, he is a CEO of a company, a huge company but he picks her up from school everyday and drives her home and it’s 30 minutes. And in that 30 minutes, there’s no devices, so they’re not checking phones, doing anything, it’s 30 minutes where dad and daughter communicate, and chat, and talk and I just thought what a wonderful little ritual because for that CEO and it’s quite perhaps like your son-in-law Brian, it becomes a release for them too, time with their children is a different kind of thing, it’s refreshing, renewing.
Bron: How does that apply as we get older and we’re still trying to do things but we don’t maybe have the same schedule as we used to? Is there still a need to have downtime because we can find that our retired life is incredibly busy, we can be, if you’re a grey nomad, you’re in the car, you’re driving, you’re seeing sights. If you’re at home, you’ve got tasks around the house, maybe you’ve taken up like the bird watching like Glenn said. How do you slot in downtime when your environment perhaps doesn’t change as much as it would have if you were going out to work.
Glenn: First thing I learned to do is not call it downtime on any napping but renewal time, and refreshing time, oncore time, revival time that made me feel like they gave me more formation.
Amanda: And I think it’s what you choose to do with that time as well like there’s the monotonous things that you’re gonna do. If you’re the grey nomad, you’ve got lots of ‘you time’ but you don’t necessarily have downtime. So I think when you’re mindful of, “I’m using this to refresh myself then it is legitimately downtime.”
Bron: Yes. I think that’s the key, isn’t it? What do you do to refresh yourself?
Brian: And I think Bron, I mean you touched on it there and certainly Amanda did, that if you’re a grey nomad or something that’s just job doing, it seems that they enjoy like maybe making money out of a hobby or something like that like a little home business or something. Then it’s probably not so important to have – to use Glenn’s terminology – “refresher time” or whatever. But I think, you still need to back away occasionally, you still need to obviously, for me, spend time with friends, spend time with family. I think that’s very important, the one thing that always kind of upsets me when I see it and I don’t see very often is when you see older people in various nursing homes or whatever and they’re literally on their own. I think that will be awful to be on your own.
Wayne: And speaking of time, it’s about to beat us again. One of the things that doesn’t seem to change is that the clock keeps ticking by. Any last thoughts for our listeners today on what changes with aging and what doesn’t?
Amanda: I would say for me the last thought is understand that there’s always gonna be some pros and cons. Just really make sure that you’re listening to your body and that you’re being proactive rather than reactive.
Dr. Drew: This raises the issue with me of educating our older people that we work with, people who are Baby Boomers and the older cohort of people to understand the process of ADME as a physiological part of the body or part of physiology. Now ADME is an acronym and it stands for Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion. It’s a very important process in the human body and specifically, heavily impacted by ageing and atrophy. And Amanda is right, we need to listen to our bodies and be aware of what our body is doing and reacting as we age. Now I have discussed previously around the issues resulting around how to eat or get better nutrients in your body. Remembering the ADME process is highly used by clinicians particularly pharmacists in pharmacokinetics or doctors and nurses when we’re looking at the consumption of food or the taking of medication. So “Pharmacokinetics” is the movement of medicine in the body. It’s heavily related to the pathophysiology of ADME, Absorption of the medication, Distribution of the medication, Metabolism in the body of the medication and Excretion of the medication out of the body. So in my book “Ageing in the New Age”, I explain this very clearly and that is people need to be very aware and be educated and get the health literacy around their own body as it ages and we need again, it may seem like a negative aspect. But unfortunately, there is no Benjamin Button’s action going on. We’re not decreasing in age, we’re ageing. We can revert and ameliorate which means “to make better” any of these processes by adapting to healthy, active, positive ageing process. But it’s the true science of what happens to the body that we neglect and we don’t want to know about. So as your liver which is an organ that filters starts to age and shrink, we need to make sure we’re taking the right amount of things into our body or our body will become toxic – drugs, medications, alcohol. We need to make sure we’re not taking too many things into the body that are going to toxify the body. Our kidneys are shrinking as we age and quite frankly, we are ageing or atrophying which means dying and shrinking. One percent for every year over 30, so the time you are 60, you are 30% atrophied, shrunk or dead. By time you are 90, you’re 60% shrunk or dead. As I said, we can ameliorate it, make it better, live a positive lifestyle. But it takes us to understand what we’re doing – sore joints, knee pain. What do we need? More calcium, more iron, more potassium, more fluid. The fluid we actually need every day is a minimum 1.8 liters and it doesn’t change when we are older adults. If anything, we need more of that fluid to flush our kidneys, flush our liver and flush the organs that are atrophying. Food intake generally as we age doesn’t need necessarily to get bigger and most older people eat less. This is also complacency with time, not cooking a meal every day three times a day, not having family, but it’s also the ADME process telling and informing the body it doesn’t need or suggesting to the body it doesn’t need as much nutrition as it used to. Now this is a dangerous place because it moves to the aspect of “Cachexia or Sarcopenia” which is the muscle wastage and the atrophy of the body through nutrition hydration deficit. Weight management will become an issue and of course I never use the Body Mass Index Rating Scale when looking at the weight of my older clients unless of course they are obese or have too much weight on them. But I could go on here for a long time and speak about this for many hours. And I don’t particularly want to but I would like everyone to understand, the body changes as time changes and it is all a process but as again, people may see this as negative but I see it as positive. As Amanda states the earlier we wake up and listen to our bodies as we age, the more emotional intelligence we understand about ageing and the quicker and easy it is to make change to diet, nutrition, hydration and exercise to maintain independence, keep the strength. Remember that I’ve spoken it before about what’s important to you and what’s important for you and this is an important aspect of ageing.
Bron: And I just say embrace it. Try to like come to grips with this season of life, work with it rather than against it.
Glenn: Well if the jukebox of life might be here Peters and Gordon’s “I go to pieces” or “changes in latitude or attitude” or Brian throwing in and “Have You Never Been Mellow” by Olivia Newton-John. But I think things for me too is not only listen to the old music but listen to the new. There’s some wonderful stuff out there, keep doing something fresh and new.
Brian: So if I were to use Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where we’re all going to be. I agree with basically what the three of you said. I mean we’re getting older there’s not an awful lot you can do about it, just embrace it and make the best of it.
Dr. Drew: Well thank you everybody. My last point is lots of things around ageing change. It’s up to us as individuals to identify what’s important that is positive about ageing and what’s important that is negative about ageing. How do we toss them all up like balls and juggle them in the air and what do we allow to drop on the floor and go away and what do we want to keep bouncing and juggling in the air? For me, it’s pretty simple – stay focused on what you can do and what you’re able to do and start to use services, adapt support systems and integrate other services to support you when you’re unable to keep doing the things that you used to be able to do. And physical attributes with that are important, it’s the connection with society and the connection with people you love and connection with life, that is the most important thing that helps us age well and always remember that. And so happy ageing everyone, enjoy the rest of your day.
Wayne: You’ve been listening to Booms Day Prepping. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my co-host Drew Dwyer, we appreciate you joining us for our little wander through the thoughts of Baby Boomers in getting ready for the next stage in life. To my panelists Glenn Capelli, Brian Hinselwood, Bron Williams and Amanda Lambros, thank you all for being with us. And to our listeners, whether you’re listening to us on social media or on a podcast, please click the like buttons, say hello, join us and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, YouTube and SoundCloud. My name is Wayne Bucklar, this is Booms Day Prepping.