We’re not as young as we used to be

I’ve noticed something. Many of the people in my area of social services appear to be aging. And sometimes when I need a new picture ID, or really look into the mirror, I realize I seem to be one such person.

On the other hand, it also appears that a lot of people are becoming involved at a much earlier age, which is encouraging.

At times, I run into folks who say they know very little about “senior” services or about related issues and concerns. And sometimes, I think “Keep on living, and you’ll become very familiar with them”.

As someone who has accomplished moving through adolescence, young adulthood, middle-age (I think) and beyond, I can say at least one thing: Wherever we are, life is a moving target.

I’ve also observed something interesting in the last couple decades, and it’s that “senior” issues in media are less about our “final” days and more about how to keep on living.

There have been more TV commercials in the last decade speaking to active elders than in previous times, and marketing strategies have awakened to the fact that a lot of people are doing a lot of things other than retire and sit on the porch.

It’s almost like they smell money!

Maybe it’s time for a bit of a reality check. We’re not as young as we used to be (no one is) in spite of the old Byrd’s lyric “ … but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” After wrestling with grandkids, I bounce back a bit more slowly—and notice a few more aches and pains.

Sometimes I get sleepy before 1 a.m., and lately have seen my doctor more than I ever did 30 years ago. But also …

I’m less likely to jump into each and every discussion/debate/argument with an “I have to win and convince everyone” attitude. My chosen battles are fewer and I can often take the long view of things.

It comes with the aforementioned “keep on living”.

I mentioned that there’s more of an emphasis on not just living, but also living an active life and this certainly doesn’t preclude elders. More research into staying healthy in our later years is being done—and published—daily.

Again, as noted earlier, it’s good to see that when you look into elder/senior information, you’ll find a lot of information regarding maintaining—and improving—health through exercises, nutrition, social contacts, new interests, and so on.

I recommend a couple sites to look at, like webmd.com, healthyaging.net, and AARP. And if you’ve noticed AARP has rebranded from “Retired Persons” to “Real Possibilities”— and I for one like that change.

So let’s do it. Let’s see what we can experience, what we can learn, what we can do — no matter where along the “living” path we find ourselves.

You can email Doug Sheaffer at sheafdf@dshs.wa.gov