Being a person who is aging in a society wherein aging is looked at in negative terms, I decided to begin a website that explored all those aspects of life/society that affect the aging person, positively and negatively. I am interested in exploring a more positive outlook towards aging. Baby Boomers make up a large percentage of the population. We should be working together to pro-actively create twilight years more to our making and liking, not follow, like sheep, society’s definition of what aging is all about.
Where does the story begin? In some societies, the elderly are venerated. In other societies, they are taken care of. In our society, unbelievable amounts of energy and money are expended to avoid the aging process and to avoid death.
The real problem with all of this is that gerontology is looked on as dealing with “old” people and our concept of “old” is decrepit , demented, incontinent. Until we reach “old” (at least in our society) no one wants to deal with “old” and so the image of “old” continues to be perpetuated in the above fashion.
People need to recognize that those of us who don’t age, die. In other words, unless something else takes us away, we are all going to age. Unless those of us who are aging now (but are denying that fact, other than to laugh about “senior moments” or complain about the “new aches and pains,”) take responsibility for this fact, buy into it and prepare for it, we will not have the infrastructure in place to deal with it properly (which is where we are today in our society). Time for a paradigm shift. Unless the baby boomers (46-66) create that paradigm shift, we will have quite a mess on our hands.
Why do I say that we will have a mess on our hands? In sheer numbers, the baby boomers outnumber those following them. Studies show that younger folk do not seem to be attracted to service oriented jobs. The traditional definition of family has been expanded to several parents/siblings/grandparents by virtue of high number of divorces and re-marriages, which will also have an impact on care-giving. Not only that, but we, beginning with our parents, are the highest users of pharmaceutical drugs, all of which have some side effect which causes some other problem which necessitates taking more pharmaceutical drugs.
Now all of this is glorious news for the health care industry (note the word industry — their term, not mine). What better scenario for profits than having an individual with a chronic illness who is totally dependent on the health care system? And better yet, particularly for the insurance companies [-- one part of the triage that makes up the health care industry, the other two being pharmaceuticals and hospitals/doctors --] is a person who is on medicare and has all these chronic problems because then 80% of the cost for their care is covered by Medicare.
This is a scenario that I find dismaying and will speak out against again and again. We should never have allowed a service industry to become a profit making industry. When we did, health no longer became the focus — profits did. Making money did. And when that happened, individuals’ health became compromised by the very system that claims to be proponents for health.
So in a nutshell, this website will (mostly) focus on our aging process and those steps we can take to better prepare ourselves (boomers corner) and it will focus on the health care industry by presenting articles that demonstrate the need for a major overhaul of that industry in the hopes of recapturing its original intent: health. (Health Blog).
At least for now…..
I would appreciate any thoughts you may wish to share with regard to this.
© Yvonne Behrens 2012