Have you ever met someone you’d describe as a sourpuss, a grouch, or just plain cranky? Or have you ever noticed that the older our loved ones get, the more they tend to spout off inappropriate words or phrases – including things they’d never have uttered years prior?
If that person was you, would you know it? How do you recognize if you are developing a cranky demeanor or exhibiting an unusual lack of inhibition, and what can you do to climb out of that rut and embrace your former, friendlier, kinder self?
A quick search of the internet reveals 357,000 responses to the search terms “cranky senior citizen” and over 200 million results for the question “why do seniors say inappropriate things.” But it doesn’t have to be this way! Read on for tips on recognizing the problem, and reaching out – and up – for help.
“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
— Psalm 118:24
Everybody has an off day now and then, or maybe even a tough week. But if you’re having more cranky days than not, or your loved ones tell you that you are saying “socially inappropriate” things, it’s worth considering what might be the source behind your feelings and actions. It might be temporary blues, or it might be something more serious. Either way, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to keep feeling this way.
Each of these issues carries with it the potential to put anyone in a sour mood; combine more than one of these concerns, and just about anybody would be at risk of a grouchy outlook more often than not. And to some degree, it’s a natural occurrence, as Newsweek wrote in a report about new medical research revealing “Why Granpda Says Inappropriate Things”:
The loss of inhibition is the result of the brain’s traitorous tendency to shrink as we age. The frontal lobes, in particular, atrophy. The result is educed ability to inhibit irrelevant or unwanted thoughts. This loss of inhibition might explain other behaviors that crop up in many elderly, including “social inappropriateness.”
If you think you might be spending a lot of time in the Grouch Zone, or someone you care about points out that you’ve become a bit cantankerous (or they’re cringing when you ask about their stomach issues at the dinner table), there are steps you can take to reclaim your smile and improve your outlook.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’”
— Jeremiah 29:11
Embracing a more optimistic outlook and rising above a downtrodden spirit isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. You don’t have to do it on your own. No matter your age or circumstances, you are a beloved child of God, and He wants to renew your joy. Pray daily for God to refresh your spirit and return a ready smile to your face, and happiness to your heart. Do your part by finding new things to be grateful for, and He won’t let you down.
Most of us get down and out once in a while – even downright cranky – but through faith and perseverance, it is possible to find new reasons to smile and to engage in community or an interesting hobby, new friendships, or wise counsel. God bless you in your pursuit of happiness and a sunnier outlook, and if we can pray for you in any way, let us know.
Meanwhile, remember how to laugh – even at yourself! Here's a little nudge in the right direction! :)