What About the “Old Folks”?

In recent assignments we have read about and discussed the myths regarding aging adults. Some of the most common myths included were that they are inflexible, unproductive, cranky, lonely, and sexless. These ideas can certainly describe some older adults but absolutely not all of them, or even the vast majority.

Older adults are often misunderstood by people of younger generations because they do not interact or spend enough time with each other. They generally have different responsibilities and hobbies that don’t allow for them to interact very often. I, on the other hand, have had the great opportunity of interacting with my grandparents and their peers quite frequently.

By spending time with older adults, I have come to realize that there are so many misconceptions about them. While their bodies may not allow them to be as active as my-college aged-self, they do still enjoy staying active. For example, one of my grandmas loves to garden and do yard work. She sees it as a way of keeping herself moving by doing something that she loves. My other grandma enjoys going to the gym to do some light walking or biking. She also incorporates minimal weight training into her workouts. Her husband attends the gym with her too, but instead he prefers to swim. Since he has had both of his knees replaced, he can’t put as much pressure on them so swimming is a great alternative to things like running.

It seems like my grandparents have constant visitors, too. Sometimes I think they have a better social life than I do! When I was living near to them I would visit at least once a week, if not more. While I was there the phone would always go off or someone else would come over to chat. I sometimes wonder if they do so in order to keep my grandparents from being lonely, or if they just enjoy the company. I can only speak for myself, but I just really love to spend time with them. One of my grandmas consistently looks forward to my weekly rants about how classes have been going, or what is the newest gossip in my life. Its exciting to realize that they are not so different than I am in certain aspects.

My grandparents are old but they are not inflexible, unproductive, cranky, or lonely. (I can’t comment on their sex life because I do not know the answer, nor do I really care to find out).

I’m glad to have the luxury of seeing my grandparents so often. I know that they have all had a large impact on my life and have helped me get this far. I can’t imagine not having them in my life anymore, although I know the day will come sooner than I hope for. A century ago however, many kids would be without their grandparents at this point in their lives due to the lower life expectancy. With increased research and medical care for aging adults, we have recently seen an increase in the number of years to live. According to the Pearson textbook, soon there will be more aging adults than ever before as birth rates decrease and older adults live longer. Because of this, we have a smaller amount of people in the work force and more emerging into the life of pension living.

In the past decade alone, the age of retirement has gone up due to low funds in social security and a high demand for it. Developed countries, such as the U.S. are struggling to face the difficult challenges due to the rising old-age dependency ratio. With less money and more people in need of it, they have to come up with strategies to limit the number seeking it.

Culturally Significant:

In fact, Japan is currently struggling with this problem the greatest. Their OADR is already higher than most and is steadily rising. Another reason for this problem is that Japan has been quite slow to react. Many of their companies require midlife adults to retire at age 60 when they typically still have at least 20 years left to live and accumulate retirement money. One step that they have taken however, is called the “New Old People’s Movement”. It has recently sprung up to promote the well-being of older adults by advocating for a more active, engaged way of life for the elderly, including remaining in the work force for a longer duration.

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One thought on “What About the “Old Folks”?

  1. Personally I love spending time with my grandfather. Listening about his stories in the army, and how this great nation have changed is very inspiring to me. Like most of my family they grew up typical farmers but soon found jobs in growing industries and medical practices.

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