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Tips for being fearless

(50 Posts)
greatgablegran Tue 13-Dec-11 09:58:30

I have noticed that some of my elderly relatives have got more and more anxious about silly little things. I very much want to avoid this, as it is clearly debilitating (and not rational). Anyone got any tips for being fearless?

Annobel Tue 13-Dec-11 10:05:14

What do you mean by 'silly little things'?
Perhaps, if one's world narrows in old age, things that might have seemed trivial at one time assume greater importance. So I think the answer is to maintain as wide a range of interests and activities as possible for as long as possible.

nanachrissy Tue 13-Dec-11 10:15:07

I have noticed in the last few years that I am increasingly anxious about trivial things, along with most of my friends. I am 65, my friends are both older and younger.
I live alone, which I think makes it worse as I have time to over think things.
I also feel it depends on your personality-if you're a happy go lucky type then you probably don't worry as much.
I think for a lot of us it is just part of getting older.

jingl Tue 13-Dec-11 10:24:21

But it's not a silly little thing when you're scared of it! shock

jingl Tue 13-Dec-11 10:34:57

greatgablegran, could you tell us what some of the "silly little things" are that your friends are becoming nervous about.

Then we can all judge how silly it is.

Mishap Tue 13-Dec-11 11:26:16

It is a very interesting fact that people's worlds shrink as they get older and small things that would never have worried them before become very important to them. I can remember working with elderly people and they would get in a fret about what seems to my (then) young mind very trivial.
Best not to fret about it!!!

greatgablegran Tue 13-Dec-11 12:26:46

The thing that triggered this was I took my grandchildren in to see my neighbours and the husband was very tense about them hurting themselves on the electric fire. He also thought they were going to knock things off the sideboard. They are very well-behaved and sitting quietly, and he has grandchildren himself, so it's not that children are strange to him.

The neighbour across the close has become anxious about driving, although she doesn't know why - it's nothing as definite as thinking she'll have an accident or her eyesight failing.

It almost seems like the anxiety comes first and then people find a reason for it. Perhaps I should ask Dr Chris Steele? smile

Gally Tue 13-Dec-11 13:33:04

I think it must be a thing which comes with age. My Aunt, aged 96 (and still driving confused) has travelled all over the place and lived abroad as an ex-pat for years - at the age of 88 she took herself round Australia and had a helicopter flight over Kings Canyon - anyway, you get the general drift; she is now becoming concerned about everything and anything. She wants to know just when I will arrive - within minutes, which is a bit difficult as we live over 500 miles away; what we want to eat and exactly when and she is forever on the phone (she has a mobile!!) asking where, when, what and how. She is now only comfortable in her own surroundings and doesn't particularly want to go out any more. So, definitely an age thing - I think it may come to us all grin

JessM Tue 13-Dec-11 14:32:44

Anxiety is a horrible feeling even when quite mild and not many people learn the skills to control it - breathing, relaxation etc.
I think there are probably big individual differences but is it maybe linked to beginning to feel generally frail?
My other theory is that the less you do and the narrower and more routine your world, the more stressful any little deviations are likely to feel. One way of looking at stress is that it is stuff outside your normal range of challenge - e.g. more stimulation or less.
When people become very elderly they lose their resilience. We've all seen it probably - failing to recover from an illness or an injury.
I guess the best way to stave it off and maintain our psychological resilience is to do new things, take some risks, don't get into a rigid routine. Keep yourself as flexible as possible. Note to self...

susiecb Tue 13-Dec-11 14:47:25

I've noticed that I am not as confident in driving as I once was and I put this down to lack of practice. I gave up work about two years ago. I used to drive everywhere all day long all round London motoways the lot day and night. Since only having one car we have fallen into the habit of DH driving us everywhere so I have decreed I must drive more often and on all types of roads. I dont want to become scared of driving esp if God forbid I am widowed at some stage and be unable to get out and about. So its practice I guess in this instance.

jingl Tue 13-Dec-11 15:25:41

"people's worlds shrink as they get older". Mishap, surely not in this day and age?! Why should they?!

jingl Tue 13-Dec-11 15:28:50

Being nervous about a stranger's children hurting themselves on your electric fire, seems quite sensible to me greatgablegran. And why not worry about your ornaments?

There are definitely more mad drivers out there too, so that fear is quite rational.

JessM Tue 13-Dec-11 15:29:00

sometimes it is health or resources that sets limits I guess. Can't go gadding about if you havent got any dosh.
But sometimes people just settle into a routine.

Pennysue Tue 13-Dec-11 15:37:37

susiecb I saw this happening to my Mother as once Dad had retired he always did the driving. 6 months before he died they bought a new car, afterward we did our best to get Mum to drive but she had lost all her confidence and sold the car, loosing a great deal of money.

We still have 2 cars, as both working, but once DH retires this will go down to one and I am determined this will not happen to me so, I try and get into the drivers seat at least 50% of the time. Always have to say "I am driving" otherwise it seems automatic for him to get in drivers seat.

fillygumbo Fri 06-Jan-12 22:11:21

A few years ago I believed I could never get nervous driving as a licenced black cab owner I drove for a living but alas it has happened although I still drive anywhere I want to go I am never so free and easy as I used to be and even get nervous of silly things like getting out of tight parking spaces.
My mother said recently that being elderly makes you invisible and I cant help feeling she has a point.I am also nervous of large gatherings and do think if a lot of much younger people are present they tend to ignore you.

bikergran Fri 06-Jan-12 22:39:47

fillygumbo I too have similar feelings..lately! not sure why..but I have had a lot of stress the last few yrs..and this last month or two not been feeling top form...but I have noticed the last month ,when I have gone into a shop/asda/town shop etc..I cannot wait to get out...I feel like I either want to be outside in the air..or in my own home..not sure what it is but I hope it soon goes..! went shopping with daughter today and was fine out in the shopping mall (Bury) but when we went through to the back of a shop..trying dresses on..I just wanted her to hurry up and then we could get out!! I am fine sat in the car.. have you been ill or stressed at all lately? if so it could be connected to im sure it will

Joan Fri 06-Jan-12 22:40:42

Nothing much in my life scares me but I'm only 66 and don't drive. I gave that up in my late 40s because i never liked driving, having learned to drive quite late in life (38), and found it always put my blood pressure up dangerously high. My husband, age 68, always loved driving but not any more. He feels his reactions are slower and his concentration not as good as it should be. The other day I had to stop him unknowingly driving through a red light. So I feel driving fears are probably justified in some cases.

I joined a U3A writers' group and ended up getting bamboozled into a performance group too. I have written scripts and performed on stage and loved it, even though I thought of myself as shy. We got good reviews from the U3A audiences, even though I thought we might have been a bit too far on the naughty side. Then I realised the others had been children of the post war years and the swinging 60s like me.

I do agree it is easy to feel anxious, my husband, a really tough guy and ex special forces man, suffers from anxiety related conditions. I never did anything scarier than serious cycling and a bit of basic rock climbing: I led a safe life, but nowadays I am not scared of anything. Not that there's anything scary in my life.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to feelings of fear in old age. Some have it, some don't. Or it could just be the difference between being an optimist or a pessimist.

The difference between my husband and me, is that I'm gregarious and like people - I always see the best in them. He's a bit of a misanthropist, a pessimist, and always sees the worse in everything.

gracesmum Sun 08-Jan-12 15:57:12

I feel like I am like a piece of elastic which has lost a lot of its stretch (cf old knickers) and also get stressed about relatively minor stuff. I have to do all the driving since DH's dizziness and I am fine once I get going, but worry in advance unless I know the journey really well. I also find changes to routine harder to cope with, although without surprises life would be exceedingly dull. It has to be an age thing or shrinking horizons as I used to cope with much more stress of all sorts! JessM has it right as do others - having spotted the beginnings of a slide into feeling my age I realise that I must keep flexible and avoid rigid routines, challenge myself whenever I can and accept physical limitations without using them as an excuse to retreat into my shell.

Annobel Sun 08-Jan-12 16:22:55

I have always been very independent but in the past week I have learnt how vulnerable I might be. I realise now that when people ask if there's anything they can do to help, they do mean it. Living alone can be alarming if you are suddenly taken ill.

jeni Sun 08-Jan-12 16:35:28

Annobel.I couldn't agree more. I am fiercely independant but on occasions have to accept help. Like when I fell downstairs or had third hip replacement. I hate
having to ask but if it offered I hope I accept graciously( albeit through gritted teeth) I think the worst thing about not being quite so young is losing ones independence.

Annobel Sun 08-Jan-12 16:45:01

jeni - you trump me - so far only one hip and half a shoulder replaced. A head might be good. The neighbour keeps an unobtrusive eye on me and sons and granddaughter ring up to check on me. I wonder if I did the right thing to turn down my DS when he suggested buying a house with a granny flat. Didn't think I was ready for it just a few months ago. May have to work on other DS now!

jeni Sun 08-Jan-12 16:48:51

Annobel. I also have partially fused left ankle which is failure. Hence crutches and mob scooter

Annobel Sun 08-Jan-12 17:08:43

Raise you a trapeziectomy, but that was a success. You must get very frustrated, jeni, and I do admire your very obvious spirit. thanks

jeni Sun 08-Jan-12 17:09:53

Annobel. It comes in bottles labelled voka

Annobel Sun 08-Jan-12 17:16:29

Low calorie vodka?