Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Aging - Burden or Blessing






Articles and statistics often point to an ominous future for the world’s aging population.  We are told the percentage of those over 60 is increasing and the birth rate is declining. Predictions are made that economies will collapse because there won’t be enough taxpayers to support an aging population.

Twenty-first century challenges cannot be met by outdated models from the past.  Countries like Germany and some states like California and New York are examples of welfare state economies based on post World War II models. A worker labors for 30-40 years, retires and lives on his/her retirement savings and government benefits, and dies in their mid-60s. This dependency model is unsustainable with people now living into their 80s and 90s, with pensions and health benefits being paid out 20 to 30 years longer than expected.

Two internet articles about aging recommend that policies be put in place that encourage older adults to move away from dependency toward greater independence by working longer and/or volunteering more, thereby adding value to their societies. A January 26, 2018 article written by Linda P. Fried, Getting More from a Longer Life (pewtrusts.org), “Challenging the stereotypes of dependency, many older people don’t seem to want to retire, do nothing, and divorce themselves from interactions with their families and the world.”  A longer lifespan means that people should be encouraged to continue being a part of the economic fabric of society—producing meaningful work, consuming goods, and paying taxes. When not working, many older adults can provide hours of community service to their communities, churches, and synagogues. Nurturing the next generation and improving the world for our children and grandchildren can be a powerful incentive to live a longer and healthier life.

Sarah Harper in a January 26, 2018 entitled As the World Ages: When Older Populations Become the Majority asks “What happens to our workforces—as well as our communities—when healthy, active individuals are still in full employment in their ninth decade?” That lifestyle would not have been realistic for my parents’ generation but very possible for me and my children.

The mission statement for my blog is: Two Late Bloomers—an inspirational blog about discarding the stereotypes of the senior adult years. The second model of more independence discards many stereotypes. I often think about my goals and intentions during the remaining years of my life. I like to bolster my ego with statements like “I’m not getting older, I’m getting better.” There are some days that the older body tells the younger mind, “You’re getting older, period.”

 Consider the Bible verse from Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

What better goal can any of us have than that? A heart of wisdom will provide the ability to pass truth to the next generation based on our personal experiences and gleanings from God’s word.  Being a blessing and sharing those blessings with others makes our longer lives worth living.


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