Poor old Scrooge. He had lived with his infirmity for so long (being a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner") that he was certain there was no hope for him. The three ghosts in one night did their work for him, however, and ... well, if you know Dickens' Christmas Carol, you know the rest.
What of the rest of us? What is it that is holding us back? And when are we 'too old to change'?
For most of us in the 60 and over bracket (about 17% of the population in Canada) the typical things that we correct, that might hold us back, are poor eyesight, and wonky hips, knees, and feet. Taking care of these problems has tremendous benefits for the patient and society in general. Those who are unable to walk properly generally have other co-related health problems. Families whose older members are independent have less to worry about.
Getting older doesn't have to mean life with pain or disability.
What of the older transexual? Are we ever too old to change? There are a lot of factors to consider and I don't expect to touch on them all in this post. However, I transitioned as a senior, so I know something of this. If the comment stream demands it, there may be more.
There is no reason to fear gender confirmation surgery more than you would other corrective surgeries. The risks are there, and you must know them. I would suggest that you be prepared for a long recovery, especially if you are FTM, which requires multiple surgeries.
Being older often means being alone. As a transexual, you risk losing friends and family very suddenly. You might also lose a whole community. For example, if you are involved in a religious group, you might be shunned. Some might say that those who abandon you aren't worth keeping, but that is an individual choice, and one you must be prepared to accept.
Unless you have been there, it is hard to explain the imperative that drives those who transition. I had people tell me, when I tried to explain it to them, "You have lived this way all your life, so why can't you just do it a while longer? You don't have that much longer to live." That sort of response made it clear how impossible it was for them to grasp my situation. The fact is, the older I got the harder it became to suppress that drive. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to keep my life on hold for another year, never mind the rest of my life.
I will admit to being worried that as I age, there might be some 'interesting' consequences if I find myself in a home for the aged. Physically, I will be accepted as a woman, but, if as was the case with my father, there is dementia in my future, what then? Might I become confused and believe I have to present as a male as I did for so long? The answer is 'yes', I might. Hopefully by that time, an initiative taken in North Wales will have spread to health care workers in all civilized nations. A health board there has developed dementia care guidelines for workers who interact with trans patients.
Follow this link for another perspective on living in fear of dementia as a transperson.
A really well-written article, 'Age has nothing to do with it': how it feels to transition later in life was published in The Guardian this past November. I would recommend reading it if you are interested.
In so many ways, living a long life and getting old are not the same thing.