SOLITUDE OR LONELINESS? THE CHOICE IS YOURS. You can live alone without being lonely, and you can be lonely without living alone. Written and published by Pushpa Ladsariya, Eat well, Age Well has tips on eating smart as well as how best to cope with and maintain ailments that affect the older population.

Robinson Crusoe was alone, but never lonely whereas Hamlet’s Ophelia suffered from loneliness and drowned herself. With the changing times, the concept of family living is changing too and it’s becoming as nuclear as possible. Lot of senior citizens live alone for various reasons. Their children work in different parts of the world and hence they live their life on their own or with their partner. At times there are situations, like the death of the partner where one has no choice but to live alone.

Living alone can be short or long term, occasional or permanent. But at the same time, one has a choice to live in loneliness or solitude. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a world of difference between solitude and loneliness. Loneliness is a concept where you are suffering your own presence; you are not being one with yourself. Boredom and depression are quick and transient in nature and one always needs external stimuli to feel better. And one can feel this loneliness anywhere, even in social gatherings, if you aren’t interacting with others. People who are lonely go through lot of emotional, mental and physical health challenges. They age very fast and die prematurely. Every challenge will be magnified if one is lonely. Solitude on other hand in enjoying your own presence. Being one with your own self. It’s feeling happy by doing nothing. It is a state of being alone without being lonely. You are always in a relaxed and pleasant state. Being in solitude allows you to enjoy every moment whether you alone or in social circle.

The way one can achieve solitude is through spiritual wisdom and practices, pursuing your goals, passion and hobbies. You can add more enthusiasm to your solitude by having goals which can keep you healthy. Geriatric nutrition has become more relevant in the last few decades than it has ever been in human history. The reason for this is that our life span has increased significantly due to improved quality of health, hygiene and advanced medical interventions. These pose serious challenges to health professionals. Ageing is an inevitable process. Everything ages – living as well as non-living. It is not a pathological condition but a physiological condition like the different stages of life (childhood, pregnancy, and teenage years) which can give rise to many pathological conditions or diseases. Our objective is to make ageing safe, comfortable and graceful. People age physically, socially and emotionally.

Physical ageing especially pathological conditions, can be delayed by lifestyle interventions – like eating a balanced diet, exercise, and medications. Emotional ageing can be delayed by being socially active. Social ageing is difficult to deal with. People begin to call you ‘Aunty and ‘Uncle’! We may not like it, but we must accept it! And then there are also other challenges like legal hurdles, psychological and social issues that the older adult has to deal with. Every individual has the fundamental right to live with dignity. And that includes the elderly as well. Lifestyle changes described in this book can help reverse or even delay the progression of ageing, treat and reverse many of the most common chronic diseases, and most of all, help prevent them.

Author’s Words: I hope and trust that this book will provide all our senior citizens, a healthy and dignified life. But more than that, a reason to live. Having an idea and turning it into a book is fairly difficult! I would never have been able to complete this book without the help of a lot of people. First, I must thank my family for encouraging me to follow my long-cherished dream of becoming a Practicing & Consultant Nutritionist. My husband Dr. Kamal Ladsariya, sons Alok and Vivek played a big part in encouraging me on my journey. I also thank my daughter-in-law, Tulika, for her support in getting this book written. Her ideas and suggestions have helped me improve as a writer. Thanks also go to all the Medico friends with whom I have had many interesting discussions and conversations in Mumbai and in the United States of America on the nutritional needs of the ageing population. Thank you for you giving me the idea to write this book Dr. Anup Gokli and Dr. Meera Gokli. Without your encouragement all the knowledge on food, diets, nutrition and its benefits that I have gathered over the years would have stayed in my laptop. I’m grateful to my colleague at “Taste of Good Health”, Sneha, who was with me from the very beginning of “Eat Well, Age Well”. I specially thank Dr. Satish Naik and Dr. Atanu Dey who read through the draft many times and helped make critical edits.

To the editorial team: Andrea Barton-D’Souza who edited the draft of an enthusiastic, first- time author, a special thank you! I owe Parvez Shaikh, many thanks for the fabulous designs. Diya Gupta for the lovely pictures of my recipes in the book. And to the printers, Sunil Kejariwal of Parksons Graphics Pvt. Ltd.