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Friday, May 27, 2011

What is Old?

Steven Quast
March 16, 2011
PSC 105 TR: 5:00

Aging movie star, Mickey Rooney filed a restraining order against his stepson on February 16, 2011. (Wikipedia/BBC/CBS) This was in response to Elderly Abuse, and in Mickey's case, his stepson was abusing Mickey's funds. He was also denying him of his basic rights, food and medicine, and took away his ID and his Oscar and Emmy Awards. On March 10, Mickey testified before Congress in support of a bill that would protect the rights of the Elderly. If the elderly are to be respected and honored as an American Treasure, the government needs to provide better support for them, if the family cannot.

Having two 87 old year grandmothers, both of varying mental capabilities and physicals skills, I have an interesting school of thought on older people. Ruth Quast, is a heavier woman (and has been for almost 40 years), and is now pretty much bed-ridden in an Adult Home in Midland. She has been widowed for nearly 30 years, being able to cope well, but slowly deteriorating. Cecilia Chapin, has been widowed for nearly 12 years, lives in Corunna, and surpassingly gets around much better and coped with her husband's loss far better than any expected. She is losing her hearing, and had some minor surgeries. She was born in Australia and raised there until she left in her twenties.

This was soon after World War II, and to this day, she still bears a hatred for the Japanese and others who battled with Australia. Ruth has slowly been suffering from dementia or possibly Alzheimer's, and lost both her older sister, and younger brother to the disease a few years back. They passed within a week of each other and both in the same city of Cincinnati. I obviously know HOW I am going to die, if I last that long!

If the elderly are still able to function well enough and contribute to society, than we must respect their existence and dignity. They should not have an imposed age limit on them, especially as people are living longer. There are cases of older people causing traffic accidents, which helps in the argument for age limit driving licenses. Even though I have heard these arguments, I see a clip on CBS Sunday Morning, about a 100 year skier who drives with his wife, in a motorcycle with a sidecar. He has no intention of giving up either any time soon.

Today, the working members of the family are "too busy" working, raising the children, etc. to accept the extra burden of an older person living with them. Sometimes, it is simply the lack or room or another reasonable excuse, maybe the older family does not want to burden their younger generation.

"Old" is definitely a relative word. I "feel" old at the age of 29 and being in two 100 level classes. I asked my father, who is 59, and he says "50" is old, and is at one of the healthiest periods of his life.

Balding is occurring in my friends who are only 26, and Anderson Cooper who is barely 40 has long had white hair, and I myself long for the day when I show some steaks of silver. These hair styles might usually be associated with aging, but clearly their are other factors in play. Other countries, especially those in the far east, show great respect for their elderly. Some CEOs, and leaders do not become so until they have silver hair.

The saying is: It Takes a Village, to Raise a Child -- We put people in homes, because we do not want to care for them -- It used to be that the older generation lived in the home and continued to serve a purpose, as large or small as it may be.

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