This book examines aspects of aging that are commonly overlooked by dominant conceptual models in gerontology, which focus on the observable, measurable, or “outside” dimensions of aging. Drawing on the emerging field of narrative gerontology, it provides conceptual-theoretical support to scholars of aging who are interested in bringing such topics as reminiscence and life review more into the center of gerontological inquiry. Although aging has often been framed in terms of a narrative of inevitable decline, a more positive portrayal of aging becomes possible as the focus is placed on the intricate psychological dimensions or “inside” of aging, and as the storied nature of human experience is taken explicitly into account. The book looks at aging as, potentially, a process of poeisis: a creative endeavor of fashioning meaning from the ever-accumulating, ever-thickening texts — memories and reflections — that constitute our inner worlds. At its center is the conviction that, although we are constantly reading our lives to some degree anyway, doing so in a mindful manner is critical to our development, or growth, in the second half of life. The book employs a narrative, and thus interdisciplinary, perspective to link together topics that have tended to be of marginal interest within mainstream gerontology, specifically memory, meaning, wisdom, and spirituality. It does this by exploring the convergence of ideas from literary theory regarding reader-response; of advances in neuroscience regarding the narrative basis of consciousness itself; and of thinking about narrative development and narrative identity within psychology, in particular the psychology of aging.
Many cats enjoy spending some of their time outdoors (where the environment permits this) and a little daily exercise helps keep a cat's body healthy and mind active. Many older cats will happily potter about the garden with you. They are usually much more home-centred and less likely to wander off on long hunting expeditions. If your cat has poor sight or hearing, make sure he is in a safe place when you want to mow the lawn. Other garden hazards include pesticides and other chemicals, poisonous or irritant plants and in some countries venomous wildlife. A special enclosure or supervised walks on a leash may allow you older cat to enjoy the outdoors in safety. Most older cats enjoy sunbathing, whether outdoors or indoors on a windowsill. As well as warmth, sunshine helps provide Vitamin D. A folded blanket or cat bed placed in an open greenhouse or conservatory may be appreciated though you must be extremely careful not to accidentally trap your cat in the greenhouse as older cats are less resistant to dehydration and heatstroke. If your cat regularly sunbathes outdoors you should take precautions against skin cancer - dab non-toxic sun-block cream onto the cat's ears and nose, especially if these are white or pale coloured. The last thing your old cat wants is an operation under general anaesthetic to remove cancerous ears. Bushes, or even an old open rabbit hutch, will provide shelter from the sun while allowing your cat remain out in the fresh air. In hot weather make sure there is extra drinking water available as older cats are quicker to become dehydrated. Although most older cats will learn to use a cat flap, a few find they lack the strength to push one open, particularly if it is stiff or heavy. Some older cats become quite rickety and cannot cope with a cat flap, even if they used to use it when younger. If the cat flap causes problems you can remove the flap section during the day and fasten a piece of cloth or light carpet in its place. It is recommended that indoor-outdoor cats are kept indoors at night to reduce the risk of theft or accident so please ensure that there is some way of securing the flap at night; this will also prevent strange cats from entering the house at night. An indoor litter tray will be especially welcomed in wet or cold weather even if your cat normally goes outdoors for his toilet during the daytime. After all, would you expect granny to use a privy at the bottom of the garden in inclement weather? Don't make a cat stay outdoors in cold or wet weather, it is not good for them. If the cat gets cold or wet put him in a warm room or by a heater until he is completely dried off. If your cat is suffering from senility, you may need to bring him indoors as senile cats are forgetful of their own wellbeing and may lie out in all weather, even if soaked to the skin. A Less Active Lifestyle
Ageing is a natural part of the cycle of life
As cats grow older, they become less resilient when it comes to illness or injury and recover more slowly. They may develop stiffer joints, but their more relaxed pace of life usually means that this does not worry them unduly. Many vets now run "Older Cat Clinics" and recommend that cats over 5 years old have a veterinary check-up every 6-12 months so that any problems can be caught and treated early. Another benefit of "Older Cat Clinics" is that you will meet other owners of older cats and have a chance to compare notes. Annual vaccination time is another ideal opportunity for an annual check-up.