What and Where is the Fountain of Youth?
There have been many studies about how a senior citizen, that is, someone over 65 yrs. old, should stay young and vibrant. While nobody has the absolute correct answer and all of them, when combined, are good advice, some core elements seem to surface. Some seniors are plaques by bad genetics from their family tree and look their age. Feel their age. Being old in the American culture, is not a good thing, especially when compared to many other cultures that revere an old person. For instance, in the Philippine culture, the elder is almost always taken care of by his children, if required. The old age bestows respect by those much younger. While this does occur in America, the custom and culture is not a expectation but on an ad hoc basis. Many elders resist even asking for help from their adult kids out of pride, and unless asked, the kids have little compulsion to take care of their parents.
The Fountain of Youth for elders is a combination of exercise, both in the physical and mental sense, diet, and as important, being around youth, especially children and young adults. In other cultures, many elders live with their adult kids and their families and this daily exposure to their world, their interaction make the elder vibrant. The elder learns new technology, new words, new music, there is a real connection to the world rather than hanging out in a retirement community with people their own age that share similar knowledge from their generation.
The Fountain of Youth is being active. If the elder marries a much younger person, many cultures frown on this. In some cultures, it is totally accepted for each provides the other with something. Perhaps the elder provides wisdom and financial stability, while the much younger mate provides that youthful stimuli that keeps the elder mentally and physically alert and active. If you feel younger, your body reacts to that. If you feel old, you are.
Sometimes, the elder’s physical appearance does not match how youthful their mental state is. The body does age and the best one can do is to treat as a Temple of God so that it will last as long as it can. For some elders, their appearance is much younger than their actual age. This allows them to act and feel younger. It reinforces their mental state that they are not old.
Before Baby Boomers, age was simply accepted and an elder person was expected to act their age, look their age. The Boomers are the first generation to not accept this premise and science has reinforced this thought. Many Boomers are elder, yet, remain active and vibrant, refusing to become like their parents were or their grandparents. Today, you see them marrying much younger mates and having children that could be their grandchildren. While society may frown and ridicule, it could be just real love and age should not matter. Having kids at 65, will provide a stimuli that will keep them young mentally in their senior years. They will be exposed to many things that are different and new as the child grows through various stages blurring age differences.
The Fountain of Youth is youth itself to a large degree. A great lesson is the movie, The Intern. Elder’s stay young by engaging and being around youth, whether it is 10 or 25 yrs., and the willingness to remove stigmas that prevent this. Everyone gets their turn at being an elder, the trick is to stay young, vibrant, active, and important. If health is not an issue, the Fountain of Youth is in your head, if you allow it.