When Social Security was initially unfolded, the age at which one could draw this benefit was set because very few people lived beyond 65. Now the average lifespan is over 70 and extending every year.
If you have old family photos, go back and look how your grandparents looked in their 40's, 50,s 60,s and beyond. Today look at the same age groups - Big Diference in appearance!
Before I retired, young associates were shocked that I was old enough to have a teenage grandaughter. When I retired, I had a young 20's associate tell me I "looked about the age of her parents (49 & 45)" - I gave her a giant hug, a kiss on the check and gave her a silver dollar (new composition, not "real" silver).
It certainly is not because I had never had any serous health problem. I'm a Type 1 Diabetic, I had all of the childhood diseases available in the late forties and fifties, plus polio;, bronchial pnumonia twice as an adult, spinal meningitus, three heart attacks because of pancreas damage from defoliants used in Vietnam. Two of those attacks required open heart bypass surgery (#one = 4 bypass grafts, #two = 5 bypass grafts). My third only required a stent. I now also have an implanted defibrillator in my chest because of atrial fibrilation in my 50's (luckily, I was in my cardiologists office for my semi-annual checkup check-up and treadmill test (I was at 75% of my Max heart rate when this happened).
What made the difference in my case, I think, was that after every serious health setback I made the best effort I could to complete whatever rehab was needed to get back into the best possible condition.
In the past 5 years, I have been "carded" twice to check if I qualified for the "Over 55" discount. Both times absolutely "made my day" - especially the looks on the youngsters who "carded me"!
My advice is to walk, run, swim, or whatever it takes to keep your heart and lungs healthy. Do different challenging strength exercises to keep your muscles, bones, tendons and joints strong and healthy Don't smoke, don't use alcohol to excess (I will have an occasional glass of wine and I "drink" NA beer in the summer), and don't use drugs beyond what your doctor has prescribed them for.
I just turned 51 and do not feel "senior". But I am becoming aware of the amount of ageism and condescending attitudes towards seniors that is out there. for example, the badminton player didn't "resemble" an athlete, she IS an athlete.
I want to wholeheartedly agree with SKIDEE's comment. Time and chance do play a part in our health, and there are times we have to make the best of a difficult situation. Besides the greater likelihood of healthier golden years, living a disciplined and healthy lifestyle brings the reward of feeling better right now.
I still remember when I was in high school and a friend of my Aunt's, a lady in her 50s or 60s, invited me and my cousin to go jogging in the morning. I had my "sure, whatever, I can keep up with someone that much older than me!"
Yeah right! She blew us out of the water. We jogged for about 2 minutes and then walked, gasping for air, and watched her quickly and gracefully jogging her way far into the distance.
Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness lived to be 96 and he worked out two hours the day before he passed from URI. I love that he really "lived" each day and he didn't "retire." I'm 63 and never plan to be "old."
My clock is really tickin' fast on me, but I try not to think about it too much. My mind is still 30 although my body often begs to differ. I receive lots of encouragement when I read about people older than I who are active, healthy and fit. That would mean people in their 70s and up!
9/28/2012 7:36:47 AM
I absolutely love this article. As a college student I worked part time in a retirement home, and I've never loved a job more. Talk about wisdom, epic tales, great humor and life lessons. 20 years later, I still remember some of the residents because I learned so much from them. I find it a pity that seniors are not celebrated more and used more in society to coach us younger people--all that experience and wisdom gathered over decades should be celebrated!
Yeah 30 is the new 20, 60 is the new 40, etc. Age is all in your mind. People are living longer, healthier lives and it's time that the word old no longer be applied to people or things. A lot of things get better with age - wine, cheese, people. I wouldn't redo my teens or 20's again if someone paid me lots of money to do it. I love where I am now and where I am going. When I was down about getting older, a friends mother looked at me and said "you're still here!" I hold onto that every day. I'm still here...
I love this artical! It is so true! My Mother is an amazing example of the "new" old. If you ask her how old I am or how old she is, she says, "I am only today". (Yoda said this). She is still VERY active, she wrote a book that is being sold on Amozan & she travels promoting her book. She has always been VERY creative, but lately she is excelling with energy, high hopes & manifesting her life long goals & dreams.
I believe she is doing SO great because of her possitive atitude. She has great health & is an insperation to me & all she meets. A truly amazing woman!
Thanks to Spark People for your wonderful "work". You are helping us all!
I've certainly wanting to explore the definition of "old" now that I've hit 5-0. I want to set goals for the next 30 years for health and livability.
It would be great to interact with the "older" set to learn the things that have kept them challenged and growing through the years. -- I know an item that kept my great-aunt going until age 95 was her "green thumb" and growing things no matter where she lived!
My m.i.l. is 68 and bed-ridden in a nursing home with morbid obesity and diabetes and a host of other ailments, all life-style related according to doctors. My mother is 91 and lives at home and still gets around to do some cooking and cleaning and other daily-life type activities. She has always practiced moderation. I can relate to both of them, and I take inspiration from both of them. We are all role-models for someone. I am 52 and walk, hike, run, lift weights, and other activities. I have modeled an active life-style for my children. I have fallen down in that department in terms of my eating habits, but those have improved greatly, thanks in large part to SP. I figure I can get old while sitting around, or I can get older while moving around - I choose to keep moving and am very grateful I can.
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