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People are living longer. The birth rate is decreasing. Many are opting for early retirement, and buying into Social Security sooner, even for a reduced monthly benefit. Some haven't had a choice but to retire early, thanks to downsizing and buy-out offers posed by employers to reduce number of older, higher- salaried employees.
Problems of normal aging are, of course, exacerbated by additional problems, such as loss of vision, dementia or Alzheimer's, physical problems or disability. But why is it that some seem to age so gracefully, with a minimum of trouble, while others age much more rapidly? Much of it is probably genetic, but an equal emphasis has to be placed on lifestyle.
Take an aspirin a day, and a multi-purpose vitamin. Don't smoke. Eat two servings of fish per week. Exercise is a proven age-reducer, even if it's walking 15 to 20 minutes per day. Owning a dog or cat is supposed to add new life to owner. And dental flossing once per day is said to add up to six years to your life. One's mental attitude might be key, for optimists are said to live longer than pessimists.
Nursing and other medical professionals are entering field of gerontology care in greater numbers. That's where jobs will be in not-so-distant future.
Ageism is a social problem, right up there with racism or sexism. But with more and more seniors dotting American landscape, expect ageism to decrease markedly. Seniors are one reliable voting group and, as Association for Retired Persons (AARP) has proved, a powerful lobby in Washington, D.C.
Editor of "Tidbits from the Pantry," a monthly ezine to 10,000 subscribers, Stephania is a human services professional with nearly 40 years in the field. Visit her site at http://www.humansrv.net