Archive for the 'Aging' Category

Getting Old

Aging, Disability, and Illness. It’s frustrating to me that these topics constantly get lumped in together. I feel that even though there are some common concerns between the three, the issues of aging are significantly different than the issues of illness and you could say the same for disability.

The issues of aging are complex and even though ageism is prominent in our society it is hardly discussed. Women begin fearing old age very young. I know my daughter (age 11) does.

  • The poverty that is common to elderly women is horrific.
  • The quest for youth drives our economy: surgery, creams, chemical procedures, exercise, etc.
  • Women live longer than men. Mandatory retirement at age 65 means many years of no income for women.

Institutional decisions like this have not considered the needs of women (but when has this ever been a priority?) Read more »

Altered Bodies: Disability, Illness and Aging

The concept of control greatly affects my body thoughts and practices. I have had experience with illness and aging and being unable to control my body. These experiences continue to shape the way I behave.

Because I overbook myself and get involved in too many activities and take on too many responsibilities I place great expectations on my body to perform consistently and at peak capacity. Mostly I can sense when I am weakening and can attempt to adjust my schedule so that there is less pressure but this has not always been the case. In the past I have chosen to ignore my body’s warning signs. This has led to personal injury and illness.

As a dancer I have depended on my body for a significant piece of my livelihood. Too many rehearsals and not enough rest caused my initial ankle and hip injury. Since the first one I have been prone to re-injury. At one point I was advised by my health care provider to quit dancing because of the repeated injuries. It was agonizing to consider leaving the work I loved. Not only was dancing a job, it was also part of my self-identity. Without it I would be forced to create a new identity. This period was a very difficult for me. Returning to dance after I had healed was very important for the same reason. I was able to show that I was in control over my body and that my body was merely a tool. I have since learned to watch for warning signs that I may be risking an injury and adapted my activity in order to stay safe.

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