As I continue to read and research as much as I can about aging well and staying independent at home, I add new vocabulary words – concepts being applied to seniors.  Many of them have the word silver attached as in silver tsunami, silver tech and silver reservoir.  Then there are newer trending concepts like compressed morbidity.  Translation you live long and do well health wise then fizzle out very quickly. 

There are also multiple classifications of older seniors by age within age categories.  These name are usually created by outside forces, as those post age 75 are the  true elderly.  That one is  brought you by the marketing forces connected to AARP.  As I turn 67 tomorrow, I can say this post is written by a leading edge boomer.

In reading the opinion pages in the New York Times, I came across an article  by Timothy Egan reviewing  Michael Kinsley’s new Book, Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide.   Mr Egan quotes Mr Kinsley as saying he is , ” on the sidelines of the ultimate boomer game, competitive longevity” .  I will read the entire  book, but for now have to take the expression in just that context. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/opinion/aging-in-the-key-of-humor.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=1

Mr Egan goes on to complain that he hates reading books by boomers about the aging process. . So we have  (Mr Egan and Mr Kinsley) both boomers, calling other of their generation  out for their obsession with aging. So why should we be tired of hearing, reading about our generation and /or aging?

Doesn’t everyone,  especially those older than us, benefit from the more positive changing attitude towards aging and the quest for longer healthier lifespans?  The sheer numbers of seniors who could fall to Alzheimer’s, has spurred multiple lines of research. If we don’t act our age in a traditional sense it is helping increase expectations  that we will be independent longer.

My approach is more that boomers are the generation that made people stop and think twice about what aging is.  We are the generation that may benefit from some of the progressive work in medicine and aging sciences ( yes there is such a thing).

So why did the  expression  longevity competition,  making living longer a competition between us,  hit a nerve. The concept of trying to live just that one more year, month to outlast our peers is a horse race I do not want to run. I can think of several other sports metaphors,  but will leave them by the side of the road.

Yes, we will live longer on average than those before us.  But society  is just on the cusp of knowing what resources in home health care, medical advances etc needed to be in place for all of us to finish this saga well. If I may use the third person plural a few more times. We do not know how this is going to end up. So maybe we should be the ones to coin a phrase that better matches our need to meet the challenge of staying independent as long as we can.

I am open to any suggestions to add to our own vocabulary.  You can reply below or send in by email directly to talktomary@ways-to-stay.com.