346 Days To The Mountain – Our Aging Society

We are all aware that statistics show that the number of Americans over the age of 65 is increasing significantly as a percentage to the total population. I recently read an article published on Aging Statistics.gov and learned some interesting facts.

In the year 2000, there were approximately 35 million Americans over the age of 65. in 2008, an estimated 39 million Americans had reached senior citizen status of age 65 and over, accounting for 13% of the total population. (total population in 2008 – 300 million). By the year 2030, the percentage of total Americans over the age of 65 is estimated to reach 72 million, or 20% of our total population. In other words, 20% of the American population will be over the age of 65, double the percentage in 2000.

It is estimated that there are more than 5 million people world wide suffering from PD. It is also reported that one person in every 100 of our elderly suffer with PD. This means in the United States alone, today there are almost 3.1 million people over the age of 65 with this disease. While the majority of PD patients are over age 50, statistics show 5% of those diagnosed with PD are below the age of 40,

I love elderly people. I am not sure “elderly people” is the proper terminology to use for our seasoned elders. I have yet to decide what I want to be called when I am over age 65. Have you thought about that? I presume since I will be in this age group with approximately 20% of the US population we will be powerful enough to make up a label that we are comfortable with.

Living in the state of Florida we see our fair share of senior citizens. I was waiting for a friend recently at the mall so I sat down on a bench and pulled out my iPad. I was reading and answering emails and a very pretty, little, white haired lady sat down next to me. I said “hello” which started an entire conversation about my iPad. She asked if it is a computer and she recognized that I was typing on the flat pad. She asked if she could feel how heavy it is. I handed it to her and she was just amazed. Is that adorable, or what? She went on to tell me that she is 90 years old, which was shocking. If I can look half this good at 90 it will be a blessing!

How delightful to spend five minutes of my day talking to this sweet lady. Did i mention that the person occupying the spot on the bench next to me before my senior friend sat down was probably 60 years younger than my new friend? And this person did not utter a word while sitting next to me on the bench. And I will add, if this person asked to feel how heavy my iPad is, I would not have been so quick to hand it over!

Geoff’s long time golf buddy is named Bob. We love Bob. He is 82 years young and joins us for every holiday gathering, like one of the family. Bob and Geoff have been playing golf together for more than ten years now. Bob still sends Geoffrey and I an anniversary card every year with a lovely hand written message inside. Bob asked Geoff one day if it is possible that he will just wake up one morning and the PD will be gone. From your mouth to God’s ear Bob!! I think he is so fond of Geoff, he just believes Geoff can beat this thing!

They played their usual round of golf this week. Bob has a little more trouble seeing these days but still can still hit the ball pretty well. He loves to play with Geoff and to give him tips on improving his game. Bob has a small video recorder and has on a few occasions done videos for Geoff which he burns to disc and delivers the following week – with new tips for improvement.

Bob stands at about 5.3″ and Geoff towers over him at 6.0′. During this week’s round, Bob had a really great shot. I guess both Bob and Geoff were pretty moved because they did a high-five! Geoff said Bob came really close to just tumbling over backwards with the high-five! That would not have been pretty – but I would like to have seen it for myself.

I am usually in a pretty big hurry but I have learned to slow down a little when navigating around our seniors. They do take a little longer, they do go pretty slow, but I am happy to see them still moving. I will end with a recommendation; spend a little time talking to a senior citizen, pull up a seat on a bench and strike up a conversation with a senior one day. You might be surprised how fulfilling it is just to have a simple conversation with someone who really is listening. I must admit, this was the highlight of my trip to the mall.

1 thought on “346 Days To The Mountain – Our Aging Society”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *