They’re everywhere, and their numbers are growing. People are living longer thanks to advancement in research, technology, education, and healthy living guru’s now dominate the marketing world…..but is it a good thing? Are the elderly really living quality lives? And how is it impacting the rest of society?
Thirty years ago our grandparents made it into their late sixties, some into their early seventies, and then they had a stroke or heart attack, ideally a massive one that would take them out so they wouldn’t have to survive their remaining time paralyzed or incapacitated. Then research in medicine found ways to prolong our lives with pills, pipes and hoses so while the body no longer functions, the brain goes on and on,,, and on. Is that really a life worth living? (Personally, I’d like to check out by 80, earlier if I lose any of my faculties)
Is all of society ready for this huge influx of retirees? Commercials are now geared to ‘retirement living’; adult communities where geriatrics can golf, swim, horseback ride and play (wasn’t there a tampon commercial that advertised the same thing in the seventies?) Senior citizens not only enjoy this healthy active community living but based on the extensive advertising for Cialis they are apparently, also sexually active. Wow, I struggle with that one! It’s not that I begrudge anyone enjoying a healthy sex life but do I want to be standing at the bus stop with the geezer who’s seeking medical attention for the erection that lasted more than 4 hours? Surely they couldn’t drive in that state, could they? (There’s a visual – a slew of old guys driving around in golf carts with perpetual erections…..and there’s a good chance they don’t even know it!)
Have you ever ridden up an escalator in a department store behind the little old lady? We all have. She has her clutch bag firmly draped over one arm and her cane at the ready in the other and when she reaches the top, instead of moving out of the way, she stops to decide which way she wants to go, right there, at the top. Meanwhile there’s a trail of people bunching up at the top of the escalator. I don’t want to appear unkind but in those moments you just want to kick that wrinkled old butt clean across the store. (respectfully, of course) Get movin’ Granny, you’re holding up the works! (and yes, admitting that I am closer to being a senior than not, I recognize the irony here)
I worked in a customer service industry and remember many instances where those I called were hard of hearing. In one particular instance an older man hollered to me “I’m sorry dear, you’ll have to speak up. I’m deaf” and I found myself thinking if you’re deaf, why do you answer the phone? (seriously, who gives old people access to a phone, it’s just frustrating for everyone involved)
How many times have you driven behind the geezer who comes to a complete stop on the on ramp because they’re waiting for an opening then max’es out at 40 km/h on the highway? They clutch the steering like their life depends on it and pump at the brake, all the while muttering about these young maniacs passing them. In short, they drive like it hurts and I for one, believe in driving defensively, so if I see silver hair over the head rest, I keep a safe distance away cause invariably this driver is going to do something without warning, like veer into another lane because they spotted the Walmart sign at the next exit. They’ll then literally crawl off the road totally oblivious to the 4 car pile-up in their wake.
I’m not totally opposed to old people. I see their value in society. (I just think they should stay indoors watching Wheel of Fortune) They add depth to a family’s history, recounting milestones in society, reliving historical events. (who taught us socks, and sandals? ….knee high’s with skirts? …..pulling your pants up to your armpits?….wait, I’m tearing up…..) The grandparent forges a special bond with the grandchild and takes delight in all they do, because they are at a time in their lives when they can take the time to. They have acquired a wisdom that only years of living can provide and their depth of knowledge, of life, is invaluable. If you’re lucky enough to have access to this old mind, do. You will be richer for the experience and it will make you a better person. (see, I can say something nice about old people)
At the end of the day, we all deserve to live a peaceful existence and if that means we need to be more tolerant of our elderly in society, I suppose I could squish out a little more patience but I’m still gonna steer clear of the silver headed driver, and if you’re ahead of me on that escalator, get out of my way, cause my foot’s just itching to clear the path! (I know, I know,,,,,God is gonna strike me with lightening for this….)
Disclaimer: No senior citizens were harmed during the making of this blog