There Is Something Curious About Aging
Growing "50 and better" ain't for sissies.
Every human being is growing old(er)....
The really curious thing about aging? It is that we are all curious about how we will do it.
Now the standing joke about "The Golden Years" is one definition which says that "'The Golden Years' are what every hospital and doctor have been waiting for...your gold saved over the years."
Wihout a doubt, the individual who ages with no creaks and pains, with no diseases, and having the boundless energy of a kindergartener, is how we would all like to be able to age, if wishing upon a star still worked.
Facts show that although we are living longer (in Japan average life expectancy is now 82) we are not living more of those years better. That is what is really curious.
I recall wondering many years ago (for I am old enough to say that) "What will happen, if we develop medical and biological skills to the extent that we could literaly live on forever, but only a very few people could afford those medical and biological skills for themselves?"
The three big killers that are mostly likely to knock us down are heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disease (strokes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, etc.) But some others are trying their best, too, such that our average number of the healthy years has been diminishing since 1998. Bone fractures associated with osteoporosis post-menopause is knocking down a lot of seniors and we know that more prevalent than "falling and breaking a hip" is the scenario where the hip breaks and causes seniors to fall.
Moreover, the health concerns most likely to affect seniors take longer to recover from, simply because we recover more slowly the older we get!
We do a marvelous job of aging when you consider the fact that in most countries the number of older persons (65+) has increased by about 50% in just the past 10 years.
As that figure suggests, the health budgets of countries are straining because we live longer and when we need health care the needs are more serious and more prolonged. Couple that reality with the fact that we draw Social Security retirement funds for more years than our parents and grandparents did, and you see the financial problems which are magnifying.
Lots of seniors are hurting to try to provide themselves with oral health care. It too is increasingly expensive at the very time when personal funds are typically more limited, in part because other medical needs and prescriptions are already getting a larger percentage of their budget.
What is the answer to living well longer? The curious fact is that it will mean setting more aside when we are younger. If there is a lesson to be learned from today's seniors, it is this: If you plan to live longer, budget to save more sooner. Eventually interest rates on savings will increase, and it is important that interest working for you be greater than the interest you are paying out (for mortgage, car, other time payments,and credit cards) works against you.
The big banks make their money speculating (which we have learned can be bad for all of us) and from their fees and high credit card interest (which Congress has ignored as another very real drag on the economy.)
We know taxpayers face a horrendous National Debt as government continues to spend beyond its means (a debt of over $15.6 trillion dollars) but personal debt (what we owe on our own overspending) is even more.
The curious thing about aging? Perhaps it is why we all know the saying "too soon old, too late smart" but don't smarten up so we will have enough gold to be able to enjoy good health care in our Golden Years!
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
Saving for Retirement
More by this Author
The 30 days of April offer foolery, fun, and fascination, but only if you keep your eyes and ears open, and put some thought into how you use them.
Old habits are keeping us from realizing our potential for longer, happier lives. Being better informed means nothing, if we are too stubborn or too lazy to make some needed changes.
A true story of a remarkable Buddhist king, and especially of his remarkable Christian granddaughter. This chapter sets the scene for both.