The Positive Side of Aging: How to deal with getting older



Have you ever felt that “getting older is the worst”? Wished you thought it was a gift? Is there really a positive side to aging?

Something I used to hear my patients say in my former clinic with so many dealing with age-related joint pain is some form of  “aging is the worst”! “It sucks getting older”, “Getting older is for the birds”

My only frame of reference was that of all the older people I was trying to help get out of pain, and they always seemed to be in pain, and I used to agree with them.

Our culture often portrays aging as a downhill slide you can’t do anything about.  We’re all biological beings with an expiration date, it seems inevitable, but then I had an experience that turned that thinking completely around.

One of my former patients said out loud in the clinic “It sucks getting old!” as I was walking over to my next patient. When I got to the side of her table to begin to work with her she quietly said to me: 

“Getting older is a gift, not everyone is so fortunate.”

It didn’t strike me at first, the magnitude of what she had just said.  But she was right, and she was more right than the first patient. Getting older is a gift.  It is the “3rd act” of our life.  

Let’s be real—this isn’t about magically stopping time or hunting for the Fountain of Youth.  The 3rd act of life is about embracing the wrinkles as badges of honor, the laughter lines as testaments to joy, and the years as chapters in a life story that’s still being written.

My patient on the table helped me realize how uniquely beautiful life after 60 can be.  For her, the difference was not trying to live without pain.

The difference was trying to live without dependence. 

To maintain a high quality of life.  Free to drive and walk without assistance to meet with friends and family. She was committed to getting the help necessary to keep her quality of life high and as active as possible.  

She would tell me, “I’m starting to notice raising my arms overhead is getting difficult.  Can you give me some exercises to work on that?  I don’t want that to get harder over the years.” I didn’t know it at the time, but she was designing what the next 1-2 decades of her life would look like right now.  

She was already planning ahead. Instead of accepting the frailties of aging, she was outmaneuvering them!  

What is your quality of life goal? One patient told me his goal was to be able to golf right up until the day he died.  

You won’t find “Failure to Thrive” listed as his cause of death. 

While aging does come with its challenges, it can also bring wisdom, personal growth, and a deeper appreciation for life’s experiences. Understand that it comes with physical and cognitive changes.

Setting realistic expectations for yourself can help you adapt to these changes more easily. Focus on the positive aspects of aging.

Taking proactive steps to maintain physical and mental health, staying socially connected, and adapting to life’s changes can help make the aging process more fulfilling and enjoyable.


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For more related and knowledgeable articles:

Read Our Blog: 2 Exercises For Shoulder Pain

Read Our Blog: How To Begin Your Fitness Journey

Watch our Physical Therapy success stories to learn more about how we helped our patients have a better life:

I Can Play Tennis Again Because Of PT – Tim’s Success Story

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Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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