While pondering the concern uppermost in my mind I slipped and broke a rib. This created an immediate and forced stop to physical activity while my mind could now work double time.
How does one deal with or prepare for the possibility of diminished physical capacity in retirement? The majority of retirees are usually not young. The reality of physical limitations should probably be addressed. In my current state, I’ve found that while I can’t cough, sneeze or laugh with ease I can plunge wholeheartedly into those books that are piling up on my shelves. I can pry open the pristine packaging on those LPs and CDs and enjoy them for hours on end. An aside: with a broken rib you may not be able to boogie to the music but gentle swaying as absolutely OK.
As my kind and caring doctor gently suggested – “at your age” recovery could take six to eight weeks or longer. That’s a daunting thought for the likes of me. The very thought of slowing down because of a little pain is – well, it’s unthinkable. My doctor’s advice on how to manage my pain and encourage healing was corroborated by the crew of super-hero health professionals that I’m blessed to have as colleagues. I’ve received equal parts of advice and nagging so I’m well on the way to recovery.
What this has taught me is that ( if the physical setback is not too severe ) : 1. You can walk and dance with care or maybe a cane – 2. You can venture outdoors – just not in freezing rain – 3. You can cook and clean – just ask for assistance as needed – 4. You can read, write, paint, sew – just create supports for your neck or knees or back or hips etc. etc. – 5. You can meditate and exercise gently while seated or even lying down.
Diminished capacity in retirement doesn’t have to be depressing or scary. I’ve had a preview and I know it can be just fine with all the assistance provided by family, friends, and medication.
Very optimistic, Venetia.
P.S. I’m told that bone density scans are advisable for people of my vintage.