What I’ve learned is about just that: What I’ve learned these past 16+ years since I entered this field called “aging.” I was 42 years old and didn’t know a whole lot about retirement planning, Social Security or health issues, let alone caregiving and Alzheimer’s. Most people in that age range don’t think about this stuff; however, it is important to think ahead to when we get older and/or about our parents own aging and health issues.

As 58-year-olds we begin to have our own health issues. For example, many people over the age of 55 are taking some kind of medication to address high blood pressure and/or cholesterol as those problems are quite common among baby boomers. However, I am working hard to stay off the meds and stay active with playing softball, golf and many other sports-related activities.

I’ve learned that most women and wives will outlive their spouses

So guys, be nice to your wives as they will be pushing your wheelchair and driving you to the doctor’s office. You will wake up one morning and say to your wife, “Honey, I made 80 years old! Can I have my favorite breakfast of eggs, Portuguese sausage and rice?” Your wife will say, “No. Your doctors said you need to eat oatmeal and fruit.” Guess what you will eat!

I’ve learned stress kills and causes such diseases as cancer, and other problems

Stress can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Why do you think most of the Medicare Advantage health plans come with “Free” YMCA, 24 Hour Fitness or Silver Sneakers memberships? They don’t want you in the hospital and nor should you want that for yourself. Stress from work, your children or caregiving duties causes many of our chronic diseases, so exercise 30-40 minutes a day by walking, jogging, swimming. Play sports — there are a number of senior softball, golf and bowling clubs — even archery, tennis and pickleball leagues.

I’ve learned that pedestrian safety can’t be taken lightly

As one of the first volunteer speakers on the topic, I know that all of us have to take pedestrian safety seriously. If you are a pedestrian, you need to be diligent when
walking our streets, whether you are downtown or in your neighborhood. If a car is coming toward you, you need to look that driver in the eye and make eye contact and do not enter the crosswalk until you know they see you. Living their busy lives, drivers are rushing around to work, picking up their kids and/or on their phones. Just because you are in a crosswalk you are not totally safe as there are no concrete walls protecting you.