Keeping the Gold in Those Golden Years

On this, my 70th birthday, I am feeling rather frisky. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit weary of all the doom-and-gloom aging statistics we’ve heard so much about lately; how the explosion of Baby Boomers is going to result disastrously in a disproportionate ratio of available caregivers, for example. (Although that one may be true.) Now that I’ve officially reached the status of septuagenarian – an age that, interestingly, is now greater than the average life expectancy of an American as recently ago as 1953 – I’m realizing how resourceful we humans actually are, and am confident that we can overcome such a negative outlook with a little ingenuity. And, I believe my generation is incredibly apt to find some solutions.

The aging care industry is a fascinating place to be enmeshed, and enmeshed I intend to remain, as our workforce ages in tandem with the population. It’s estimated that nearly a third of seniors ages 65 – 74 are expected to remain in the working world by the year 2022, compared to only a fifth just 20 years prior. We’re poised to drastically change the landscape of aging, and I, for one, plan to be front and center, leading the way!

Paul Irving, chair of the Center for the Future of Aging at the Milken Institute, shares that our aging society, living now on average twice the lifespan of the generation 150 years ago, is “maybe the most extraordinary accomplishment in the history of mankind.” So how do we celebrate aging and overcome the negativity surrounding it?

First of all, we need to realize that it indeed does take a village. It’s going to take a global revamping of our preconceived perceptions, from equating aging with frailty, chronic illness, and impending death to discovering the gift that these extra years afford us. We can…

  • Continue to serve as productive members of our work environment if we so choose
  • Switch gears to earn a new degree in a completely unrelated field
  • Dive deeper into volunteer opportunities that stir our hearts
  • Relish and strengthen family ties
  • Try out new things and explore the world in which we live

The options are really only limited by our self-talk. So what’s yours telling you? Mine’s still strongly proclaiming, “Onward and upward!”