“The trouble is: You think you have time.”
—Jack Cornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Booklet
I’ve become interested in several topics related to aging lately because I happen to be aging myself — you are, too! I am an amateur at it, so I suppose I’m seeking some sort of guidance or insight. As someone once quipped, “How am I supposed to ‘act my age’? I’ve never been this age before!”
One overwhelming impression about aging in our modern world, however, has been simply: we can do it better. Aging is inevitable (as long as you’re alive, that is), so it just makes sense to think ahead and maybe put some effort into better preparation. The Baby Boomer wave of the mid-20th Century rewrote standards of expectations and behaviors since we showed up by the millions back in the late 40’s and 50’s. With the “silver tsunami” upon us, it behooves Boomers to consider our options moving forward.
Here are some thought-provoking articles I’ve recently encountered that explore a few aspects of aging in our modern world as well as suggesting some interesting possibilities.
“I’m an Aging Solo pioneer, riding the front of the coming demographic tsunami. Contemplating our own age-related problems is not entirely within the boomer comfort zone, even when we are focused on taking care of our own elderly relatives.”
“Our goal with the project was to test the waters. Could we pour creative engagement into care systems to reach elders wherever they live? Could social connectedness, meaning and purpose — those magic ingredients in well-being — be delivered by phone? By Meals on Wheels? By visits with a home health aide?
The answer is yes.”
“Person-centered care means that a person’s values and preferences guide all aspects of health care and support realistic health and life goals. But getting from today’s anachronistic, dysfunctional health care and caregiving system to a 21st century version, unfortunately, won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. Yet there isn’t much time: The number of Americans age 65 and older will double by 2060, to 90 million.”
“They didn’t want to end up in a traditional retirement home. They wanted to remain the actors in their own lives. Seven years after their first discussions about how to age well, a group of retired people is starting to build the first co-op for the aging.”
Finally, a wonderful look at how a single individual took a simple step to make one life a little better, and ended up creating a worldwide volunteer program offering rides to older people in over 225 cities in 30 countries:
In the end, we’re all amateurs at aging — we only get the one time through. So let’s try and make the most of it.