Gail's Blog

The Invisible Older American

In listening to interviews either on podcasts or radio, most of those being interviewed are younger, authors, celebrities, researchers etc. I would say you rarely hear from those who are in their later years–75 and over. Another quality I hear are “memoirs” from authors on their life stories and lessons while they are all of 30 to 35 years of age and barely out of childhood. In numerology and in other ancient teachings, the soul is still considered in childhood until it is through the 20’s. It starts its adult life at 30. In the Jewish tradition to understand and study the Kaballah, one should be 40 years of age. In America, we need to fill air time and news feeds so we look for catchy titles and advice from those who have barely experienced life. In numerology the person is not considered integrated enough until it has gone through its 7th soul cycle, the ages of 49 – 50 years. Now in our 50’s we begin to free ourselves from our should’s and begin making decisions with enough of life behind us to make wiser decisions and manage ourselves better.

Life is considered in four distinct cycles, each 30 years in length. The first cycle gets you settled here and teaches you how to adjust the body, the mind and the emotions and the integration of these three. The next 30 years from ages 30 to 60 lays the foundation and work of the middle part of your life, the 3rd cycle from ages 60 – 90 lays the foundation for the latter part of your work years and the harvest of the last 60 years. From ages 90 – 120 should be the wisdom or retirement years where we absorb all we have learned and become the wise ones, the elder teachers and the examples of how to contribute and live in the ending years of one’s life.

Unfortunately, due to various sets of circumstances, including our own decisions to neglect our physical bodies and the use of common sense, we leave prematurely. Society is geared to supporting the retirement syndrome so people retire long before their time for retirement should be arriving. Essentially, if one has respected his/her own phyical body, given support from the family of origin to understand nutrition and harmful habits that diminish the body, one can be here a long time and not consider retirement prior to age 90. Now some of us are born in bodies that will not last 120 due to inherited conditions. This is a conversation for another day. In general though, we abuse our bodies through poor eating habits, excessive stress, lack of rest for the body and our excessive competitive natures. The body doesn’t need to do triathlons, climb Mt. Everest or other dangerous feats of defiance. It is not intended to work like a mule and then long for early retirement to get out of a job we dislike. Retirement is a man-made concept. The body wants to be productive, useful and balanced.

Unfortunately, few people in their mid 70’s and older are in the best of health. They usually are on blood pressure medicine, diabetes medication and have back, knee or hip joint problems. If you speak with them about their plans through to age 90, they basically don’t have goals as they might have had in the 40’s or 50’s. They are trying now to just get a good night’s sleep. Men, in particular, have neglected their bodies more through life than have women. So aging has more widows than widowers. It is all unfortunate and creates an age group of our culture that has less relevancy, and less involvement in economic, political and social decisions. As time goes on, it becomes more marginalized and less respected. They are easily dismissed and are.

The government provides little if any aid for the elderly who are in desperate physical shape, economic shape or emotional shape. They are the fastest growing group of poverty in today’s America. People 65 and older are the only age group in the country that experienced an uptick in the poverty rate last year, from 9.5% in 2020 to 10.7% in 2021 according to the US Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in programs aimed at helping low income families and individuals who are not included in the official poverty rate. Seniors become homeless becausement of unemployment, disabling health conditions, evictions and weak social circles in which older adults don’t have any friends or family members to help them out. 80 year old Roberta Gordon has been trying to find a place to live ever since she was evicted from her apartment in February. Many apartments are not suitable for her because she is disabled. She spends 4 to 5 hours a day calling apartment listings. “Even if I found a room in someone’s house for $800 a month, then I wouldn’t have money for food or gas or anything else.” “It’s very hard.” “You just don’t want to live anymore. There used to be a time when families would take in family members and they’d own a house for three generations. They just don’t take in family members anymore – they’re on their own.”

So, America, where are the healthier older citizens involvement in the social, economic and political systems? Seniors will become more invisible as they age into aches and pains and fears about retirement. They need to stay relevant, visible and show up often. Get interviewed on podcasts and radio programs. Be less fearful. Write a memoir of your 80 years on this planet. We learn from each other and the old expression when an elder dies, it is like a library has burned down. They are full of knowledge, wisdom and common sense and it is gone. So many of our crazy loud mouths out there need the wisdom and patience that comes with self-management and a deeper perspective that comes with age.

Become a lobbying force for this age group. Stop thinking that by joining AARP you are well represented. Lord knows we have an enormous lobby group that bombard our representatives with big Pharma. Since we are the largest group of users of big Pharma, wouldn’t it be a window of opportunity if your representative sees you show up with your group and pressures them just as big Pharma. Be seen, be heard and be fearless. Instead of a cruise, why not plan a trip to Washington or your state capitol. Organize. Learn nutrition and associate with those who are moving and shaking up this age group. Keep your body moving. Stretch every day at least once. Deep breathe every day. Learn to comfort yourself. I remember receiving the best advice from Richard Billings. “Learn to comfort yourself”. Stop looking outside yourself for your answers. Be social and be quiet about your aches, pains and doctor visits.

If we become more visible, we become noticed. During the height of the pandemic, people marched for black lives matter but nobody marched for “old lives matter”. They were the most vulnerable and contibuted the most to the number of death but nobody protested. Nothing has changed. Be brave, be courageous and confident. Be like Israel, “Never Again.”

7 responses to “The Invisible Older American”

  1. Vikki says:

    Thank you Gail, So honest and affirming. I miss Richard, such a wise soul. Much love, Vikki

  2. Kayce St. James says:

    Bravo Gail! I am an elder person and I keep active yet my thinking is not to reach 100 and now I am thinking I will be leaving within the next 10 years. Your article has made me rethink my decision. I do agree that we have been programed to think old and then create that by our strong beliefs. Thanks for a nice kick in the pants. New plans are now being made.

  3. Sharon Warren says:

    Excellent article!
    I’ve had health challenges at 82 in spite of being active physically. However I wrote a non-fiction book that when published on Amazon hit #1 this year. I stay engaged with life. Emotional and soul tending makes a big difference!

  4. I’m attempting in all ways to stay relevant and encourage women to start taking leaps of faith with their stories and their know-how. It’s a slow rise to consciousness however I know that women will get their first.

  5. Anne says:

    Your point is well taken! I have just finished publishing a children’s book that I worked on and off on for the last 20 years. And I continue to be active politically and socially. However, it’s true that the aches and pains are more common now despite being active and taking care of my body. I’m fortunate that when i have them I can take the time to take care of them. Old Lives Matter!

  6. JP says:

    Your post is so true. Our society has been geared to the 18-49 demographic ever since the TV was brought into the living room . Today with the internet we need to reshape what is considered the target demo. Your post, is an example of wisdom being shared, rather than hearing from an “expert” who has not experienced life enough to be an expert.
    As always your posts are right on target.

  7. susan thornton says:

    brilliant and let’s get out there and show our power and share our wisdom!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.