While doing a little research for my Village volunteer work, I learned about a new fear. Gerontophobia. A fear of getting old or a fear of older people.
WHAT? Fear of old people? There's a whole definition of this?
I can sort of understand a personal fear of growing old. Especially if you have health issues and are slowly losing your independence. Our hospice nurse told us about a class seminar all the hospice workers attended. Each person got a sheet of paper with a circle in the middle and thirteen spokes going out from the circle. They put their name in the circle then wrote down 13 basic daily or weekly things they typically do. Eat. Drink. Take a shower. Drive. Walk. Hear. Use the restroom. Swim. Visit. Speak. And so on.
Lots of talking about what was considered a BASIC!! The next step was to cross out three of those activities. Could you still have a life that you would want to live? Oh sure, probably. The rest of the basics would keep me going, because of course I picked the things that were easiest to give up (she says now ... while she doesn't have to give up any one of them) Next they had to cross off three more. And so on. These helpers got to learn first hand how their patients might be feeling about their loss of independence.
This exercise makes me think more about depression than fear about getting old. But heck I get fearful some days if I let myself wander down that "what if" path of things that could go wrong.