Who Will Take Care Of Me In Old Age?
Australia’s population is getting older, according to the Australian Government’s report on Aging and Aged care in Australia. In 2051 it’s expected that 5.7 million people will be aged 70 years or older. This week, Carers Australia, is raising awareness of Australia’s 2.6 million carers. The group is specifically asking for community support, for those individuals who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who are aged, have a disability, chronic condition, a mental or terminal illness, or an alcohol or other drug issue.
Carers do wonderful work. Their unselfish giving, commitment to helping others, and the generous love they share so freely, is a real inspiration. Those in need are truly fortunate to be the recipients of the devoted caring of others.
However, with longevity increasing and an aging population, some people are asking the question: who will be caring for older Australians in the future? It’s not only mature members of the community who are thinking about this issue. Even the young and middle-aged are considering their options. Should they make plans to live closer to younger family members, move into retirement accommodation, or even reserve a place in a nursing home.
This was borne out when a man told me he was worried that he wouldn’t have enough money to pay for his wife and himself to be cared for in a nursing home. In helping him address this fear, I asked him how old he was? He replied that he was twenty five years old. I was shocked. He was worried about how to pay for aged care at twenty five!
Discussions about health care – especially for the aged, are often built on the expectation that most people will become unwell and incapacitated as they become more senior. Yet does that have to be the case? Is it possible to maintain one’s independence and remain healthy, alert, active, and thriving?
There’s a spiritual approach that enables everyone to be useful and productive at any age. Mary Baker Eddy, who continued to work tirelessly each day well into her mature years, explains how to achieve a long and active life. “Never record ages,” she wrote in her book Science and Health. “… Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness … Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.” p. 246.
These insights show some key steps that an individual can take.
l. Avoid adding up the number of years lived and associating them with an inability to care for one’s self
2. Refuse to be fearful about personal well-being
3. Reject speculation about what might happen in the future
4. Look forward to a long, healthy, and productive life.
Such a state of mind is not simply an exercise in positive thinking, nor just having a good attitude toward life. It’s much more than that. There’s a connection between what is cherished in thought, and what is experienced in life. Rather than anticipating age and decline, one can be proactive. Start each day by confidently affirming that there is a divine grace that meets every human need at every stage in life.
Taking a spiritually mental approach enables individuals to reject the notion of declining energy and resourcefulness. They can retain the ability to care for themselves, and conquer the fear of becoming a burden to others. They can remain full of vitality.
The questioning cry from the heart—Who will take care of me in old age?—has an answer. It’s never too late for anyone to expect to be healthy and to live a full and rich life. Each person is a divinely created being, with energy that never ages and never wears out. Affirming this daily is an effective way to maintain strength and good health right now and in the years to come.
I’m a professional Christian Science Practitioner and Teacher. Through my prayer-based practice, I help people find happiness, health and healing. As a writer on the connection between spirituality and health I share inspiring can-do tips and ideas.