Column: Understanding the elderly


If we use the age of 65 as the starting point, there are approximately 47 million seniors in the U.S. That’s about 14½ percent of all Americans. But it’s predicted that the number will soon double because of the number of baby boomers and their long life spans. We know that seniors older than 75 are living longer with a growing number reaching their mid-90s.

My age group, mid 80s, has experienced several wars, a depression and the effects of the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution which has been divided into the age of mechanical production, the age of science and mass production, the digital revolution and now the autonomous revolution, where A1- based machines (robots) will replace humans. All of these experiences, when totaled, add up to a knowledge that is valuable to share and helps us to understand that we always get through the tough times and come out on the other side with a better perspective.

Old age gets blamed for declining health, but in a recent article a leading geriatrician explained that the aging population would benefit most from having one doctor or health professional who oversees the total care of the elderly patient instead of today’s practice of a different doctor for every ailment and no one coordinating the group to prevent overlapping prescriptions and unnecessary treatments.

Oftentimes, the visit to the doctor’s office becomes their only “social outing.” The cost of that outing could be greatly reduced with social outings that provide new friends and activities through churches and other senior services.

Caring for the elderly includes medical care but is most beneficial when it’s combined with friends and family who are spending time with them.

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