Lack of understanding, prejudice against seniors

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Understanding seniors. That should be the title of a College Course or a Corporation Seminar. What amazes me is the dirth of knowledge that certain organizations should have-but don’t. Senior Centers, Mobile Home Parks, Assisted Living facilities and even churches.

Most of these institutions have an overriding membership of seniors, but those in charge have very little awareness of what seniors need. Or what to know to understand them. Or the minimum of information to get along with them.

First, seniors normally have HEARING problems. Helen Keller was born blind, unable to hear and unable to speak. She was asked which one of the three was the worst. She immediately replied, “Unable to hear. The birds and my mother’s voice.”

I heard Dr. Jill Kirchner-Rose, Pastor of the Redlands United Church of Christ say that Obstetricians say the first organs to be completed in the fetus are the ears. To hear. They are the last to stop functioning at death.

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Seniors, as we age, hearing efficiency begins to diminish. We have trouble distinguishing voices and sounds. Give us a little understanding.

SIGHT. Most seniors have eyesight problems. Very few don’t wear glasses. As we age, cataracts afflict us necessitating surgery. It improves the sight, at least temporarily.

Then, there is the real enemy, prior to blindness. It’s called “glaucoma.” I have it. Surgery is the basic remedy. Again, I’ve had it. My right eye is bad. I can’t read out of it, but my left eye is o.k. I just read slower.

Twice a year I see my Ophthalmologist. I always assess the waiting room. Ninety-nine percent are seniors. We are all related. Treat us gently.

Then there is MEMORY. It slips slowly, but it does affect us as we grow older. Especially close-up. The farther back, we seem to remember what we experienced 80 years ago.

I think the worst ailments in this world are Alzheimers and Dementia diseases. Sometimes we forget the names of close friends or family members.

I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, but I remember vividly what I was doing on September 1, 1939-delivering my paper route. Pray for us. I was 12 years old.

Then there is MOBILITY. A natural cause of 12,000 deaths every year in the U.S. involves poor mobility-falling. The increased use of canes, crutches, leg braces, walkers, wheel chairs and scooters reinforces the problem of mobility or should I say immobility.

I’ve been told by medical doctors that problems with the legs and hips stem from the low back-spinal stenosis. And that problem stems from the latest evolutionary development. When humans changed from walking on all fours, it caused the low back to be responsible and the weakest part of our anatomy. Sounds farfetched to me. However, aging does contribute to shaky legs. I know this because I suffer from neuropathy and sciatica.   I’m dependent on my walker. While using a cane, I fell four times. I do miss my younger years when I could easily walk five miles.

Being a senior is to expect snide NEGATIVE COMMENTS from the thoughtless about aging. Examples: all seniors smell bad; they are feeble minded, do nothing to help society-to be beneficial; they create traffic problems; they spread infections, most of them are homeless, etc.

Ridicule, the object of foul languages and as mentioned previously, there is a constant lack of knowledge about seniors.

A major problem deals with the loss of freedom. When freedoms are taken away, the tendency seniors have is to rebel. Very much like teenagers.

Most seniors love to drive. It symbolizes freedom- the power of choice. Yet, there are laws that limit a license and magnify automobile accidents. A real tragedy.

Perhaps the most obvious evidence of being a senior is that seniors are often prone to illness.

We are accused of raising the price of insurance. Yes, sickness is prevalent, but so is wellness.

My Primary Doctor has a unique motto. “Aging is not a disease.” Scientists are predicting that by the end of this century there will be thousands of Americans living to 120 years. Even the Bible states that man’s allotted years are 120 years. (Genesis 6:3)

Currently there are hundreds of our citizens living to a hundred. If 65 is the retirement age, consider the fact that 65% of the Congress, Supreme Court and the President are over 60.

There are at least four elements that contribute to longevity: Eating wholesome food, regular exercise, genetics and a positive philosophy.

I’ve left the economic issue for last purposely. The vast population don’t have a clue about seniors’ attitude toward money. We are all stingy; a bit of the Scotch in all of us. We watch our pennies. In fact, we pinch them.

There are a few seniors that are wealthy: Congressmen, the Supreme Court members, the President, Wall Street bankers, CEO’s of various companies. They all want more, so they are for great tax cuts. However, most seniors live on Social Security and a minimum pension.

Yet, we keep the economy going. Who buys cars? Goes on cruises? Frequents Walmart? Supports thrift stores? Donate to needy causes? Gives to churches? Help their grandchildren? You guessed it. SENIORS.

Amen. Selah. So be it.

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