I am in my mid 30s, my parents are already over 60. Seeing my parents age, I've learned a lot about getting old and the fear that surrounds it.
Father is a street wise person. He is not highly educated. Just last year, I received a call from my sister-in-law, telling me that Father has suddenly lost his memory. I spoke to Father on the phone and he was crying in fear, unable to recall what had happened on that day. I drove over and brought Father to a temple. He was mumbling throughout the journey, trying to recall where he had been, what he had eaten for dinner, etc. His head was aching. It was late at night. Upon reaching the temple, Father was "diagnosed" as having a weak vein in the brain, thus resulting in the memory loss. However, we were assured Father would recover. True enough, after a night of rest and sleep, he was able to remember everything prior to his "memory loss" state. Nonetheless, he was unable to recall where we brought him to and what he said to us during his "memory loss" state. It was totally erased. I told him how scary he was. Being a tough person, he promised to be more alert and would not let depression get on to him again. Depression is the ultimate enemy for aging people. So, please be aware and alert. Tell your parents, dear Readers.
A few years ago, Mother was diagnosed as having Schizophrenia. It is a mental disorder with hallucination and delusion. She even tried to hang herself once. Luckily, Father and sister-in-law rescued her on time. She was paranoid of everything. She said there were people out there waiting to catch her, she was afraid the food was poisoned, she thought people were always scolding and talking nasty things about her. Once, I didn't have choice but to admit her into psychiatric dept in a private hospital. Nobody was able to watch over her every minute of the day, to ensure she did not commit suicide again. You would be surprised of the strength she had. Also, she was always alert, not needing to sleep. Once, she didn't allow me to go to work, holding onto my car as it moved. When Father and I tried to lock her in the house compound, she fell and banged her head on the floor. That was the last straw. She needed care, so I put her in the psychiatric clinic for a week. After she had stabilized, we brought her home and continuously reminded her to take her pills. She is still taking her medication but she is weak and frail now. She has given up on her life. She doesn't want to do anything or go anywhere. She confines herself in her room all the time, only coming out for meals and bath. She would lie on the bed everytime. As I see it, she has loss hope and is just waiting for her time to be up. It is such a waste. This could be her golden years but yet, she wasted it by sleeping her days away. I do not want to force her. She has made her choice. It's frustrating to see her in this state but probably, this is her karma, life sufferings that she has to go through. I can only wish this is her last suffering and that she would have a better life in her next re-birth.
Mother-in-law is a well-educated and well-informed person. She is as old as my mother. Formerly a teacher, she is now a proud grandma of 2 young grandchildren. She is busy taking care of them. Being a caring grandma and a Mandarin teacher to my daughter, she is an exemplary golden citizen. Positive and calm, I find I could talk to her just about anything under the sun. Despite her cheerful outlook, she revealed she was fearful at times. She may be reading the newspaper and then, suddenly feel depressed and fearful, without any apparent reason. As she read before, she would quickly get out of her house and bathe in the bright sunshine, attending to her garden. Then, it would be over and she would be herself again. She didn't know what it was or how it came, but she told me this was common to aging people. Her siblings experienced it too. Fortunately, she was able to counter it. Thanks to an article she read long time ago. She described it as a tsunami. She knew it was coming and she was about to sink into depression (without any reason). Quickly, she got herself out from the situation. She told me sunshine was the source of energy for all living things. So dear Readers, if you know of anyone who is experiencing this stage of life, get them to harvest the energy from the sun, or the very least, get up and start moving about. Do not let depression sink in and pull you down. Get up and fight it away!