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Friday, November 30, 2012

Aging is not a Disease.

Aging Produces a Heterogeneous Population

Aging is not a disease.

Aging is actually a series of processes that begin with life and continue throughout the life cycle.

As we move through the processes, we become more and more different from everyone else.
Thus, it is noted that the aging population is a very heterogeneous population.

What makes individuals, as they age, different from one another is a combination of many factors (for example, place of birth, place of residence, marital status, the foods eaten and not eaten, education, heredity, physical and mental health, family size and composition). There is also a time period effect on an individual. A person's age when he or she experiences a particular time period (for example, the Great Depression; the assassinations of JFK, MLK, Jr. and RFK; the events of 9/11) also influences how they age.  
In sum, the factors that influence the manner in which people age are too numerous to mention here.

Because of the burgeoning size and heterogeneous nature of our nations aging population, there is a rapidly increasing need to understand both the normal aging processes and the consequences of aging on the population.

Where once it was unusual for families to have three living generations, now it is not unusual for families to have four living generations.

Many persons experience full lives for two to four decades past 60 years of age. In fact, they are quite capable of enjoying life fully until the end of their lives.

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Couldn't have said it better myself.
Thanks for your visit,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Am I Old?

When Does Someone Attain Old Age?

Old Age is really a social category that is defined differently by various cultures.

In the United States, we define old in a number of ways socially.
  • Age 40 is the age at and beyond which a person may not be discriminated against in employment. (Age Discrimination in Employment Act ADEA)
  • Age 55 is the age at which low income individuals might qualify for subsidized employment and learn new work skills. (Title V of the Older Americans Act)
  • Age 60 is the age of eligibility for Older Americans Act services. Due to limited funding, however, services tend to be targeted to those aged who are most needy. (Older Americans Act of 1965)
  • Age 62 is the age at which persons can take early retirement. (The Social Security Act)
  • Age 65 has been the traditional age for full retirement. However, because of longer life expectancies, the full retirement age is increasing for people born after 1938. Full retirement now goes from 65 to 67 depending upon the year of your birth. (The Social Security Act)
  • Age 70 has been used as a mandatory retirement for the members of some professions.
Rather than lumping everyone past a certain age as old, some social gerontologists make a distinction between the young-old (ages 55 to 74) and the old-old (ages 75 and older). Still other gerontologists add a middle-old category between the young-old and the old-old categories.

No matter how the aged are categorized, aging is a highly individual experience.

Chronological age may differ considerably from a person's functional age,
 and age-related changes occur at different rates for different persons.

Age-related changes don't begin at the same time nor do they all occur simultaneously.

Changes as we age are normal.

Generally speaking, age 85 and beyond is considered the "frail elderly".
But remember, even the experts do not agree.  There are many people past 85 who are NOT frail.
The definition of old age is not stable or even universally agreed upon!

 So you get to choose!

Are you old?

Aging gracefully or clumsily depending on the day, nay, depending on the hour,
Glad you visited,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are You a Wanna Be?

Did you see where that 96 year old man fathered a new son this year?
The man's name if Raghan and his wife is Shakuntah.  They met ten years ago when he was 86 and she was 42.  Over in India.

Well, that's what the news said.   Some folks who commented on the news article were totally disbelieving of the ages.  As a nurse, I am not disbelieving at all.

Old age does not mean No Can Do.

Disease may mean No Can Do at any age.

Are you a "wanna be dad" on the Twilight Zone of Life......where you have landed instead of dying young?

  Well Ragnan lived a life of celibacy, so when he began making babies on our strange twilight landscape he had no teenagers.   And chances are he never will.  So......personally I don't think he has accomplished any great feat.

The people I cheer in wonder are those who reproduce when there are teenagers in the house.

I was working with Connie when she announced her pregnancy at age 44.  I was only 35 and, frankly, I judged her harshly for her complete immature come-a-part at having her 6th child.

But I did like Connie, so one day as I sat on a chair beside her at her reception desk & she was being all gloomy and ticked off, I asked her if I could ask her a very personal question and she said yes.
     "Why are you so ANGRY about this baby?  Your husband has money, you are still pretty and healthy.  What is wrong?"
She gave me a withering look.  "You don't have teenagers yet, do you?"
     "No, I don't."
     "Well when you do, come and tell me your thoughts on reproducing!  I am not producing a baby!!!  I am producing another teenager!!!!!!!!!    waaawaaawaaa."  Her anguish was sincere.

Well, another great thing about aging is the increase in understanding that often accompanies it.  I do not judge Connie at all.   Not since I was about 40.

Grateful God designed menopause into the genetic makeup of female humans.......unlike many female mammals who keep on reproducing until they die!

Wondering why teenage grandchildren are so much more fun and so much less stressful than teenage children,
Grandma Riverwatch

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"What's wrong? Is it your general incompetence?"

I don't understand frog invasions & anime creating anime, but I sure could  relate to the above line in the kids' cartoon, Sgt. Frog!

"What's wrong?  Is it your general incompetence?"

That's a line I can use over and over in real life.  
How about you?  Is that a line you can use, or are you nice?

Well, it is not that I am un-nice.  (Don't you love the way I make up words?  I am worried I am going to start making up sentences and paragraphs!  If I do, pull me off-line!  and be quick about it.)

It is not that I am un-nice, it is just I have lost a lot of verve for Competence, now that I am skating on the edge of the Incompetence Rink.
 I feel that I am now initiated enough to sling arrows at the other incompetents!  "What's wrong?  Is it your general incompetence?"

I mean, give me a break!!!!   Just how long do those competent people think that Competence is gonna last?  Forever?  I think not.  It may reappear in Forever, but there seems to be a lot of humiliation on the way there.

Ok.  Ok.  I will go ahead and admit I am not hanging onto the railing of the incompetence Rink, but have actually drifted into the outer most lane!  Listing and drifting a bit.  Trying to keep my skates from moving inward to the big hole.

So since I am a pragmatist, I must, these days, re-evaluate Competence as a virtue!

To begin with, Competence is a heady thing, giving rise to pride.  Tsk, tsk.

Another  thing, Competence could possibly (or not) make you rich and if you are rich, well, now, there's a slippery slope for you!!  Oops.

Another thing, Competence feels good and brings false joy.  Cornering the market, we have little idea that the market is built on sand and our Competence is a gift we can lose.
False joy! False joy! False joy!

Competence feels so personal and so good we put on blinders, ignoring the incompetents of the world and the signs on our own pathway.  Like, we think Competence is a choice!  hahaha

Competence means others are gonna lean on you!  Chances are that will be a burden and you will struggle in ways that makes Christians turn to God  for forgiveness.

On the other hand, Incompetence is not without its virtue.  I am learning to be patient (tiredness helps), to give credit to God for any shred of competency I once had or still have, to have compassion for my fellow incompetents....to look into the eyes of  struggling maimed humans of whom there are many to find common ground on which to exchange the strength of understanding, caring and love.

Now don't go thinking I am seeking incompetence.  I am not.


But as incompetence has descended in bits and pieces and affected my life, it has brought a strange kind of growth and development with it.
When I am struggling, I remember my hero, Christopher Reeve.  What he would have given to have my physical challenges.   I miss him.

Having "less", I am more grateful.  Go figure.

Reserving the right to scream if I fall and break a hip,
I remain a work in progress,
Nice seeing your visit.

Friday, November 2, 2012

"It's Old Age, Honey!"

Well, she is in her late 80's so I guess she should know about what is and what isn't old age.   But......it is possible she cannot see the forest for the trees.  
Of course, it was a class on "age related deafness", not on seeing.  And the crowd discussion was on old men who cannot hear what their old wives are saying!

"Get used to it", she said.  "It's old age, honey!"

Hummmm, are you positive that is "old age related?"  My "deaf " husband was young.

The underpinnings of the lecture was to encourage us to buy hearing aids "when the time is right."

As young people we needed ear plugs to tune out loud noises....... 
( our elders  at important  times!  & our kids at times) and if we didn't get those ear plugs at the right times, like at Rock Concerts, then  we may have "age related deafness"......no known cause, no known cure so it must be a result of aging, yes?

Bah humbug, I say!   Do more research!  
Not all old people are deaf and not all young people hear like charms.  
Hearing loss has a cause and if there is a cause, there can be a cure .  Please find it, researchers.  

Naturally it is easier to sell a $2500.oo hearing aid...a bandaid if you will....than do all the research.

  I do believe in hearing aids. 

But many of us wait, not only because of the financial investment but because if the hearing aid turns out to be a bummer to deal with and is not worn, we have made a poor financial investment.  We have all heard such tales of wasted money.  
We might be missing a word or two, but we aren't stupid.

I have another reason to worry about the aids: they are all computerized these days and I have developed a healthy fear (fear related to health, I mean) of the EMF (electric magnetic field) generated by anything that gets close to my aging brain.  
I am sure the reason UFO aliens are "the greys" is because actual people from another planet could never withstand the EMFs of the UFO Craft and therefore must send robots, ie, "the greys", to man the craft.

Actually I saw something the other day that has made me wonder if "the greys" are actually evolved humans, not robots!  

What I saw the other day was plainly earthly.....but .....so......alien.  I was trying to communicate with my grown son and he was glued to his smart phone, doing email or facebook or surfing the web or something. 
He was intent on his electronic job....his eyes were large, "fixed" and glassy....his lips were  drawn in to a thin almost nonexistent line....and his response to me was (are  you ready for this?)

His almost nonexistent lips never moved.  No emotion crossed his face which reflected electronic light from his smart phone, giving his face  a certain grey sheen.

     I am looking at a grey in evolution, I thought in apprehension.

Since it is taking me months, even years, to decide about using the simple technology of hearing aids, I guess  I myself could never fly a UFO!
But perhaps a great, great, great grandchild will. 

Of course my legacy of written words will never be "read".  
But maybe my great-great-great-grand "it" will zip my written words through a small machine, come up with a telepathic-"speaking" hologram of me, shave a pound or two off my love handles and brag that this is the family it came from!  

Or not.

Probably my telepathic-"speaking" hologram will end up in a museum labeled "anonymous"  or "unnamed, circa 2100" put there by my future family who wouldn't even be alive if it weren't for me.  

(I'm sorry for this rambling.  But don't the old old bones unearthed here on our planet "speak" to you in some mysterious way?  There's something going on there!)

Well, I shouldn't complain about great-great-great-grand "it" being ashamed of me.  When was the last time you heard me bragging about Aunt Neanderthal?

I wonder if Aunt Neanderthal knew that all our senses are integrated in our brain, so that if we need eye glasses and we wear our glasses, we can hear better?  That is a fact.  Integrated senses.

And if we wear our hearing aids, we can see better. And if we hold our spouse, or cuddle a pet, we both see and hear better.  Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Smelling, Tasting.....our 5 senses are integrated in our brain and support each other  to keep us in touch with our world. 

I think I've been leaning too much on Taste to make up for Hearing!  

Maybe I should buy a dog. 

Or rob a bank and buy a hearing aid.  

Just having a peck of fun,