Campus for seniors

Campus for seniors

The people here give me an opportunity to know what to expect as one gets older.

I came to live in this campus a year and a half ago. Believe you me, it is one of a kind! With three acres of pristine property in the heart of the old Cantonment of Namma new-fangled Metro, it is an idyllic retreat from the fuss and bother of life that throbs in the vicinity. It is home to over eighty senior citizens, some of whom are not far from a century in age.

Physically and mentally, there are all kinds of people in residence here, giving me an exclusive opportunity to experience in-depth what to expect as one gets older and older. I, by the by, am 67! I’ve been severely arthritic since 37, so the physical challenges aren’t new to me. In fact, it amuses me how old folk resist them as being natural to the ageing process, and refuse orthotic aids and other comfort appliances to simplify their daily chores.

I switch with ease to a walker or wheel chair or no assistance, depending on the terrain I need to traverse so as to make it easy on myself and avoid unnecessary tension that I might land in a heap on the ground. I’ve dealt with enough surgeries for medically-advised joint replacements and other unexpected emergencies. It is the mental, psychological and emotional approach with which seniors tackle advancing age that I find fascinating to engage with while I attack my own! There are two categories — the winners and the whiners.

Winners, I’ve found, are mainly among those who have been left to their own resources to swim or sink. They’ve thus discovered some inner resources and strength to cope with tough situations, smile through good days and see through the bad ones knowing they will pass. Some win by drifting off into an oblivion of their own, be it a world of fantasy where they dream of a deserted beloved returning to claim them, or just suffer delusions which again leads them into a make believe world.

To the former, it may cause turmoil and can be a challenge to fight, to the latter it can be an escape from the harsh realities of daily life. What is soothing here is the freedom to roam among trees and the birds, sit awhile with fellow companions, attend functions together and share camaraderie in the community hall. Adjustments are plenty and arguments, especially in common areas, abound.

However, all-in-all, whiners are few and can be won over by a mere listening ear is my experience so far. These seniors are mature enough to realise that there is no remedy for old age other than accepting it gracefully and just getting on with whatever it throws our way.