An unfortunate stereotype exists of seniors as people who are pretty much tuned out of daily life, either due to health reasons or just a general lack of interest. Of course, residents of Mount Vernon and elsewhere know this isn’t true at all, and can easily identify plenty of seniors who remain quite engaged in life, including those who receiving hospice care.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care also knows this stereotype isn’t accurate, and can also point to plenty of our clients and other seniors we personally know who are active in their communities, perhaps even more so than when they were of working age. They may have more time to volunteer and be involved now that they’re retired and their kids are all grown, and also they may have more wisdom they’re willing to share.
Of course, some of our clients aren’t able to get out and about as much as they used to on a regular basis because of health conditions or mobility concerns. But they may still find ways to get involved in other ways, including helping remotely with various projects like political campaigns, organizing voter initiatives, teaching online, or keeping track of other details of their life and of those around them.
This month is a great time for everyone to learn more about activities for seniors to improve their bodies and their minds and find ways to make differences in the world. August 21st is National Senior Citizens Day, an annual celebration recognizing the roles that seniors can play in the world, and offering all sorts of resources for people of all ages.
The celebration was started in the Reagan administration so now there are more than 30 years of activities and opportunities for seniors to do good things at a local, state, and national level. It also is a reminder to all ages that seniors really offer plenty of value, from job experience to practical life experience and general wisdom or just lots of fun stories. Many seniors also literally can give a lot, such as those who have done financially well so they’re able to create financial endowments and even invest in other companies. Plus, as the official site says, many seniors just love to give, whether it’s time, advice, money, or even tasty treats (grandmothers or honorary grandmothers especially.)
Many of our past and present leaders hit retirement age and kept right on going. This could be in the corporate world, in politics, or in educational and scientific endeavors.
Don’t forget that Hollywood also has its share of seniors who continue to be featured. They’re not going to be cast as “the young folk” but box office numbers seem to confirm seniors play seniors better than a younger actor with older make-up.
Some even decide to pursue completely new careers, others just do the part of the job they like, such as a consultant or specialist.
Prominent people who are technically “older” but still doing great things include:
- US Presidents: The Constitution gives the minimum age for those seeking the presidency at 35 years. But it doesn’t say anything about age limits on the other end, and past presidents have served their terms and remained engaged. Past leaders have gone onto post-election accomplishments, such as Jimmy Carter building homes in his 80s or George Bush Sr. skydiving for his 90th birthday.
- Mountain Climbers: One senior who has been seen as an inspiration of any age is Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese man who truly believes that age is subjective. He currently holds records for being the oldest person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, which he did at age 80 and also has climbed the mountain two other times. He did have to call off an attempt to reach the summit of Mt. Aconcagua, the tallest peak in South America when his doctor recommended it – this was at the end of 2018 and he was 86 at the time.
- Motorcycle Enthusiasts: Let’s not forget Gloria Tramontin-Struck, who has been a longtime motorcycle rider and advocate for riding. She’s 94 this year and her attitude and ability – not to mention that she hasn’t stopped riding her Harley-Davidson has earned her a place in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Considered the Grande Dame of Cycling, she’s planning a cross-country trip with her family when she hits 100. She first learned how to ride at age 16, was a founding member of the Motor Maids, and didn’t have a serious accident until 1946.
The stories and accomplishments are many and varied. Find some time to spend with a senior citizen; you’ll be amazed at some of the memories and experiences they can share.