Thursday, July 31, 2014

Come on, get going on making better use of your lives

Statements like that--get going!--make me want to take a nap. Linda P. Fried, a prof at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, says we have added 30 years to our lives in the past 100 years--and retirement is wasting them.

This was reported in the WSJ, July 8, 2014. Well, Linda, you look certain-agey but not "old." Perhaps your systems have not started to wobble.

You say forget "retirement communities," weave old people into all aspects of the community. We can walk everyplace to get groceries and other needs. Parks, back fence chats. Public transit will be accessible to those with a hitch in their giddyup.

To have a reason to get up, older people will just keep working. Institutions will ask older people to solve their most complex problems. The ones that require mature minds.

People will see they are leaving this world a better place. Of course, their "proper investments" will insure they stay out of the catfood aisle.

All this sounds good, doesn't it? Well, what about taking care of parents or even sick adult children? What about children who move back in? What about children who can't move back in because the housing is age-restricted? What if those nifty investments are creeping along, while Steve Forbes is cleaning up?

What if you can't afford "care" like your parents could?

And let me tell you, getting older does mean getting tireder, less nimble, more shaky, more likely to fall. Mature minds, aside.

About that walking to the store--what if you can't do that anymore?

I am such a Debbie Downer today.

But designing the last 30 years of life as a win-win, as Fried says? You may get a win or two or a laugh or two, but the trajectory is pretty clear.

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