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Aspects of Aging – On The Brighter Side of Aging


For some of us, the very word ‘statistics’ can send us into a blue funk! We anticipate a gloom and doom perspective on groups of people—maybe the group we belong to or care about—that will influence policy makers in ways we do not welcome.

This concern is alive in the aging community and results in some worries that should now be put to rest. It is time to introduce a brighter side of the numbers game.

There is a common belief in society that everyone gets old, loses strength and needs costly care and accommodation in their later years.

The reality is that 93% of people over the age of 65 years are living independently at this time in BC.

By 85 years of age, 75% are continuing to live independently, 46% of them living alone.

Only about 4.5 % of seniors are admitted to residential care facilities and approximately the same percentage receive home support.

That set of numbers should bring relief to those who have been thinking that life is on a downward slide toward a restricted existence with denial of independent decision-making and isolation from family members and friends.

The fact of the matter is that opportunities for an active, satisfying lifestyle well into one’s late nineties are commonplace these days and increasing all the time.

Professionals and other workers involved in health and wellness services are very aware of changes among aging folks in their expectation to engage in more physical, mental and social activity. These active seniors ask retirement communities and organizations to participate in contemporary and challenging events.  The tendency to assume that music from the 1930’s and movies from the 1950’s are the sum total of this group’s interests must be traded for a recognition that contemporary entertainment, along with more healthy and flavourful food choices and more opportunities for travel are aspects of today’s seniors living active and fulfilling lives. Sometimes, we must challenge outmoded societal expectations and the assumptions of families.

Seniors, themselves, are driving this trend for a more vibrant old age.  Their increasing strength and numbers force us to acknowledge a new reality. We have a responsibility to respond.

It is time to let go of gloomy worries about the future prospects of health and housing. Partnering with your aging friends and family can enhance all of our lives.

Written by Anne Duggan, Invited Advisor to Bell Alliance on Aspects of Aging


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