Age Is Just A Number

There is a popular meme that says “Age is just a number”.  That means age doesn’t matter, it’s your outlook and attitude that matters. Is that true?

As we older baby boomers start turning age 71, age does seem to matter less. We have passed the milestones of age 55 for getting senior discounts, age 65 for getting medicare and age 70 for starting our required minimal distributions for withdrawing part of our IRAs.

Whereas in high school our friends were within one or two class grades of us, now we have friends of all different ages.  We can hang out with people a decade younger than us or a couple of decades older than us.

We are also reminded that age is just a number when we see the different conditions of people the same age. That is physical, mental, emotional, financial, you name it. We are all over the place on the spectrum. Age matters less than other things that effected our lives, doesn’t it.

On the other hand, time marches on. If you are turning 71 now, you will hopefully be turning 81 in 10 short years and 90 in 19 years.  Think back 10 years to 2007 and how long ago that was. Not very long, it was like yesterday!

Age does take it’s toll on us, no doubt. No one is immune from it’s effects. Aging gracefully with a positive attitude takes an effort, no doubt.

We are all in this together.  We are loosing spouses and classmates to death. My high school class has a Facebook page set up for death announcements and I got another notification this morning. Long time friends get dementia and it could happen to you or your spouse as well. There are no guarantees, but we know that by now.

Yes, there are a lot of things for us older baby boomers to worry about.

But there is also a lot of things to enjoy and look forward to. By this time a lot of you are enjoying your grand and great grand kids. I see people going to the gym, walking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.  I just came back from the National Senior Games and am motivated by what I saw there. People are volunteering and supporting things they believe in.  Some people are enjoying their church families. Here at our 55+ Active Adult Communities, people really like to travel and see the world. People like to keep learning their whole lifetime and it’s nice to be able to learn something not work related, something that you have an interest in. Many people like to read, some just to meditate, some like to putter around, but  doing what you like to do is something to enjoy.  I could keep going.

Age is a number, but we can deal with it. Enjoy the day. No use in putting things off. The future is now. Do something you like to do. Travel while you can. Learn something new. Walk in the park. Help someone. Be active. Peace.

Robert Fowler

My First Visit to A Senior Center

I wanted to visit a senior center to see what they were about.  My neighbor’s 75 year old mother Janet is an active participant in the ballroom dancing program at West Cobb Senior Center so I decided that would be a good center to visit.   Janet is a traveler, takes cruises, collects antique dolls and is a dealer also, is a ballroom dancer and her home has many unique antiques which she has collected.  She is an interesting person so this Senior Center must be OK.  They have a ballroom dance practice from 1 to 4pm so I plan to be there at 1pm.

Even thought there are many senior centers close by to me,  I take the hour long trip from Johns Creek Georgia over through Roswell to Marietta down Whitlock Ave then out a long stretch of Dallas Hwy.  Right when my MapQuest says, there it is as I turn left in to the entrance of Cobb County Parks and Recreation campus.   The sign says West Cobb Senior Center as I turn in to a nearly full park lot facing a attractive lodge type building.   Nicely dress people are zooming in the lot and hurrying in to the building.  Must be the dancers.   I enter to an attractive large lobby with stack stone fireplace and people zooming by me to sign in.  The place is abuzz with activity.

A lady at the open administrative office spots me looking over the information table and introduces herself as Cristina, the Program Specialist.  I let Cristina know I am here to check out the center and meet Janet at the 1pm dance program.  I am early so Cristina gives me lots of information about the senior center activities.

There are about 18 people sitting around a large conference table in a room across the lobby from where we are talking and Cristina tells me that is a meeting of the Great Ideas Book Club.  Later I take a walk down the right wing of the building and see two more similar conference rooms with equal amounts of people sitting around the conference table.   These I find out later are the Woodcarvers Club and the Shutterbugs Club.   Another two rooms I spot gamers,  playing Mah Jongg and Scrabble.  Lots of mental stimulation going on today.

Christina tells me the West Cobb Senior Center is an active adult multi-purpose center open to anyone 55 or better.  You do not have to live in the country to use the center.  They have people ages 55 to 92 using the center.  It is well used, I must say.   Besides the activity in the center it is located in the Parks and Recreation area with walking trails and ball fields nearby.   In addition to dancing, the center has  two yoga classes that are fully attended and exercise programs to keep participate active physically.

At the end of the end of the right wing, Cristina tells me to visit the Billiards room which I do and see 5 tables in a nicely decorated room.  A group of 5 men are playing pool at one of the tables.

Christina hands me “The Leaflet” which lists all the programs and activities of the center is offering for the month and  I am astounded at the quality and the number.   Wellness seminars, trips, health screenings and tons of classes.  I see they have a trip to Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater planned.  These were equal or better than those offered in the Del Webb Active Adult Communities I have visited.   I am impressed.

It’s now 1pm so I head down the left wing of the building to a grand ballroom where I hope to see Janet.  There are nicely dressed dancers signing in and greeting each other with hugs.  It is a nice large comfortable room.   A man who must be the greeter comes over and introduces  himself and welcomes me.  He’s thinking I’m a dancer, but I tell him I was looking for Janet.  He says Janet usually gets there at a later time.  The sound equipment is now set up and the first few dancers are on the dance floor twirling to the music.  I watch for a few minutes and head back to say goodbye to Cristina.

On the drive back I am thinking it sure would be nice to have the West Cobb Senior Center close by to me.   My impression is way better than I had in mind before making this visit to a senior center.   I can see where Senior Centers could be and are an asset to anyone who uses them, encouraging us to be active both mentally and physically.  I am sure not all Senior Centers are alike and offer as much as this one did.  But still is shows me what is possible and changes my uninformed image of a Senior Center. I will check out the new Johns Creek Senior Center that is being built near me for sure and some other seniors center in Georgia.

Robert Fowler
SeniorCenterDirectory.com

Boomers Turn Age 70

We baby boomers are turning age 70!! Can you believe it?

Boomers have never been this old. How do you act when you are 70?  I submit, just like we did in our 60’s.  No, not the 1960’s, even though I think that would be fun. Nothing has really changed by turning 70, right?

Well yes, a few things are changing. Not over night, but there are signs.

If you have delayed taking your social security, now finally you get to take your full social security check that has been growing.  We thought this day would never come.  Wow, that is going to be nice and well needed for many of us.

Also at age 70 1/2 we must take our RMD, required minimum distributions from our IRA’s.

So we start drawing our social security benefit and we must start taking annual distributions from our IRAs almost at the same time.  Well I think most of us at age 70 are ready for both and have no disagreements with those requirements.

Many boomers vowed never to retire or they couldn’t retire. Guess what, many were forced into retirement because of health reasons or maybe a job layoff.

If you retired in your 60s, then most likely you are now comfortable with your retirement. You have a comfortable routine and do the things you would like to do with your time. Many boomers that are retired, love spending time with their grand children. Some even move across the country to be closer to them.

Around this time (age 70) we or our spouses are dealing with some critical illnesses of some sort, be it diabetes, a stroke, heart attack, mobility problems etc. and we are most likely making room on our schedules for doctor visits.

Most likely a few of our friends have dementia problems starting or maybe advanced. We have two close friends in that boat.

A friend or two most likely has already lost their long time spouse to death.

More than a few of our high school or college school mates have died.

We spend some time on our medicare insurance don’t we.  Donut holes and open enrollments we know well.

Having been involved in recent years with a senior center and now living in a Del Webb Active Adult Community, I have a lot of friends that are in their 70s, thus are older than us older boomers.  Encouragingly lots of them are active, like to travel, have sharp minds and love to socialize.

We will be travelling through out our 70’s and dare I say 80’s. If we have the means, we don’t mind spending it on travel.

Racewalking
Racewalking

Some take up senior games and become senior athletes.

I have noticed now we don’t even mind being called a senior, even though we still don’t refer to ourselves with that title. We don’t mind the senior discounts, do we.

So another chapter in our lives is unfolding and for the most part we seem to be adjusting quite well.

So we have a lot to look forward to. Some of us are moving to active adult communities, or small towns or even to the city for retirement.

The future is not bleak as long as you have a positive attitude, your health and get out and participate in some activities with folks you like.

Even when you have some health problems, a can do positive attitude sure can go a long ways overcoming those obstacles.

They say at age 70 we only have 15 more years to live, on average. Let’s make the most of it.