Functional Changes for Women in their Eighth Decade

It's undeniable that our bodies change as we age, even when we eat healthfully, exercise and try to take good care of ourselves. Our sight, hearing, bones, joints, balance, mobility, memory, continence, strength and stamina will never be what they once were -- and we might outlive them all!

Here are some things we have to get used to:

1. Getting shorter. What a strange experience. When cooking, you feel more warmth and sense the stovetop is closer to your face... it's easier to stir the pot, you see. The sidewalk is not as far below as it used to be... allowing us to notice those little flowers that emerge from the cement cracks...,perhaps offering us more of what a child views. As your grandson measures beside you to mark his growth, you are shortening... well, that does create a nice illusion for him, but eye-to-eye with short people is a new experience for anyone used to being among the "average-to-tall" group.

Physicians explain that as we age, we lose the spaces between our spinal disks. Still, it feels weird... but nice when you can comfortably burrow your face into your husband's neck when hugging.

2. Retracting gums. Even as we keep our teeth healthy, the dental hygienist describes retracting gums in one's eighth decade. That gets us in to see her more often.

3. Mobility decreases. As our mobility becomes impacted, we jump less, run more slowly -- if at all -- and sometimes need help with just walking. Thank goodness there are lots of devices to aid mobility... hikers' walking sticks, nifty canes, stairway chair-lifts and all kinds of scooters.

4. Accepting aid for our senses and moving parts. We have the option of hearing aids, cochlear implants, eyeglasses and implanted lenses. And when we outlive our joints, there are hip, knee and shoulder replacements. Before long, there will be electronic and robotic parts in common use.

As we traverse our eighth decade, our bodies might indeed require all the assistance that 21st century technology can provide. Women writing on our blog and sharing their thoughts in 70candles conversation groups agree that we need to face that fact, access the best and most advanced interventions, make the best accommodations we can and just get on with our lives. How fortunate we are to be living in these times.

Abstracted from the book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, by Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole, coming soon from Taos Institute Publications