he definition of the word “senior” is the subject of many discussions nowadays. While some people describe anyone over the age of 50 as being part of this population group, others suggest that the word “senior” should be adjusted to reflect modern standards of life expectancy.
The question is: when do we become old? In 1920, the average life expectancy was 60 years. Today, many of us can hope to live until our eightieth birthdays or even longer. What we used to refer to as “the golden years” of life applies differently now; some people believe that the term suits only those older than 65 or even 75.
Because we are living longer, we must inevitably work longer. “Freedom 55” retirement plans now have to wait ten years, because people need to accumulate enough income to last these extra 20 years of life. Some folks are lucky; they have jobs that allow them to stay intellectually stimulated, while others find it a burden to keep plugging away until age 65. For all, the big challenge is to stay open to new ideas so as not to be surpassed by the dynamism of younger people.
Mental health plays as important a role as physical health in living to a ripe old age. Nevertheless, medications, the loss of a loved one, or a lack of intellectual stimulation after retirement can make it difficult to feel young and vital. That means it’s important for everyone entering late adulthood to find stimulating intellectual and social enviroments that will keep life interesting!
2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation will turn 65. That means many more people will be facing retirement age and moving into their golden years.
It used to be that people aged 65 and older were automatically classified as seniors because that was the age at which most people retired. Today, with the advances in medical care and the increase in life expectancy, not all people over age 65 want to be called seniors. They are active and can take care of themselves; many continue to work or begin a second career later in life.
Before they reached retirement age, seniors spent most of their time establishing a household, working and caring for children. Once retirement arrives, many do not know what to do with their time. There are so many hobbies and activities that seniors can get involved with if only a little research is done --and most don't cost much money. From sporting activities to clubs to volunteer work to personal crafts, the list of options is endless, and it will likely take a lifetime to get everything done. A quick search on the Internet can yield a host of options and give individuals contact information for local groups and meetings that take place in the area. Check out a community college for continuing education classes and opportunities for discounted courses.
Before we feel old, it is important to find physical and social activities that interest us.