Seniors’ Column

This week's column looks at the relative term that is known as the biological age.

As a number of us would agree, the “biological age” of an individual is really a relative term.

In other words, a specific age which is denoted as such, is neither a reliable nor a desirable means of determining when a person becomes an “older adult.” This is because there are amongst us, aging 50-year olds and also young 75-year olds.

If we must carry a label, self-identification is perhaps the more accurate and preferred rule of thumb. In my own case, I often refer to myself as being a “tweenie” since I’m often found in the company of many others who have reached their retirement years but who are still working as a productive part of the employment scene.

On a personal note, I feel neither young nor old but rather, prefer to gravitate toward those who happily share our common interests with one another.

All this aside, it may interest readers to learn that today, at least one in every ten Canadians is statistically termed an older adult (55 years and over). By the year 2021 that number is expected to climb to more than double that figure, and when we reach the year 2041, older adults will register as approximately 25 per cent of Canada’s population.

According to the social scientists who study such trends, this means the number of older citizens will accelerate to almost quadruple over today’s Canada-wide population an estimated 3.1 million individuals.

What is of special concern is that the ever-increasing proportion of older adults in this country is raising the alarm bells regarding the additional pressures being placed on our nation’s already overburdened health care system. On a more positive note however, the vast majority of older persons live independently and do not require ongoing special help, with some exceptions, in carrying out their daily tasks or leisure pursuits.

According to Health Canada, older adults who adopt the credo of “active living,” which involves more than simply undertaking regular physical exercise, are rewarded by an increased sense of well-being and a higher quality of life. There is mounting evidence that remaining physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually active and interested in community life in any number of ways according to one’s personal taste, helps to prevent disease, depression, unsavoury dependencies and many chronic conditions while boosting the positive effects of rehabilitation.

Everyone, but especially those who have reached retirement age, are encouraged to set personal goals which are aimed at our leading a long, healthy and active lifestyle in the midst of a growing company of old friends or new. This of course includes those who have recently arrived to the shores of our relatively safe and outstandingly beautiful collective of unique communities which are scattered throughout the region.

 

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