George Bailey is a widowed old man. He has an aged skin and gray hair. He has a dark gaunt face with receding eyes. He has a half-burnt, sunken chest. He is an old man today.
One day he walked out of his home, past a throng of screaming children, to reach a bench on the curb. Nearby stood a young girl in a white uniform, her head held high, as she looked upon the quiet old man. "Old man," she said in a bright voice. "What are you doing here?" George asked.
"I'm visiting," she said. "My grandma lives out here." George looked at her face and thought about his own mortality. Old age was coming upon him like a thief in the night. The girl continued, "She's seventy-four years old and I'm the oldest living relative in our family. She has been at work for forty-eight years. How old is my grandchild?"
George was dumbfounded. He had no idea that his life expectancy was only twenty-one years. He realized, however, that there were some things that could be done to make life expectancy much greater for the elderly, including improving self-reliance, adopting healthier diets, getting more exercise, reducing stress, and purchasing more valuable life insurance.
If the goal of improving life expectancy for the elderly is to delay aging-related disabilities, then the first step is to ensure that older family members are taking care of themselves. That means eating a balanced diet, exercising on a regular basis, and minimizing stress. It also means providing opportunities for social interaction, such as going out for a walk or to the park. By making sure that the senior feels independent, he will feel less stressed and be less likely to become isolated. These enhanced activities will not only increase independence but reduce isolation among the elderly as well.
If you're not sure if you're considered old enough to retire, you might want to start early by looking into senior communities and hospitals. Many communities are aware of the issue of aging and have programs to meet the needs of older people. Some hospitals offer activities geared toward older people. If you live in a rural area, then a state or national senior program may even be available for you.
The best way to think about old age is to look at how it affects your quality of life. There are some common difficulties faced by older people, such as memory loss and increased risk of osteoporosis. As well, there are some upsides to being older, such as having an enhanced sense of well-being and having a greater ability to enjoy daily routines. Whether it's having a vacation or simply going to the store for a cup of coffee, being older allows us to do more things that younger people can't do.
Although Medicare and Medicaid may assist financially, it doesn't help you in other ways, such as making ends meet or buying groceries. That's why the goal of aging should be to find as many sources of social programs as possible. This may mean looking into local government programs aimed at helping the elderly, or volunteer programs at community colleges, churches, or synagogues. A little time spent exploring your options with seniors can go a long way toward making your retirement years more comfortable and less boring.