80 is the new 50 so what exactly is old age?

I am confused lately. I know I briefly addressed this in my birthday blog, but what exactly is old age any more? Can anyone definitely say what that is?

I watched an interview with Betty White the other day. The way she sparkled with vibrancy while reminiscing on her long, successful career in the spotlight, I felt compelled to Google her to find out how old she really was. She’s 89. Yes, one year from 90. Not exactly what I would ever think of as someone in old age – in fact, not even close. She walks well, talks well, has a sharp memory and wit, and looks pretty darn sturdy.

She’s still working and loving it. Think about the demands of all she does – a weekly television show, commercials, talk show appearances, guest starring roles, and she never really slows down. She doesn’t even seem tired. I bet she never naps.

Andy Rooney is still working too. He’s 92, almost 93 and actually looks like an old man even though he has looked exactly the same for at least 20 years, but his mind is sharp and he is able to pull off his weekly television stints without problem. Don’t old people retire any more?

Today I watched The View. I studied Barbara Walters today because I honestly thought she was in her 60’s. She looks lovely and well-dressed, and graceful, and well-preserved with a very sharp mind. Don’t try to get a word in edgewise when she has something to say. She’s 81. Just 3 years younger than my parents who seem soooo much older than her. 81, and I thought she was in her 60’s from her appearance – although I knew she had been around too long to be that young. Diane Sawyer is 65 or 66 and Barbara looks just a bit older than her.

Maybe that is the secret to eternal youth – wealth and fame. My parents certainly haven’t let the pampered life of Barbara Walters. They seem old to me, but yet I am lucky they are independent and in good health at 84. My dad still drives and works part time.

I did a story last year on a woman who was turning 107 and she seemed old – ancient almost. Still, she was functioning to a certain extent. Her daily caretaker amazed me too, because she was in her mid-80’s and not elderly at all. She still worked daily as a caretaker.

And another local guy we know turned 101 recently. He drives, works, bowls and is a spry guy with a no mental deficits. He acts more like a 60 or 70 year old.

So is that what we all have to look forward to in this age of better food, better vitamins, better lifestyles? Not being elderly until we are in our 100’s? Well that’s good news because that means I am downright young!

What do you think? If you are fortunate enough to have your mental faculties and health mostly intact, what exactly is old age these days? Help, I need an actuary here!

5 comments

  • As I get older, middle age is definitly moving up. I think the secret to feeling young is hang around older friends. It’s nice to always be the baby of the crowd

  • Age really is just a number! Eventhough I am 56 years old, I feel more energetic than I did in my 30’s. Agree with Bonnie though, on my goodness, don’t look in the mirror!! I look sometimes and say “who is that old woman”?!?!

  • I think it depends on how a person is feeling mentally and physically. Baby boomers tend to look and feel at least 10 years younger than they are…as long as they don’t look in the mirror in the morning.

  • only as old as you think you are. I look at my mother and father in law and, at 86 and 91, they act like youngsters (until they think about their age). If you are clear in mind and light in spirit, you can go well into your 90s and even 100 (as Deb’s aunt Evelyn will be) and feel young. Your body may slow you down, but it will only affect your mental age if you dwell on it. If you let yourself think you are old (have a moment or two occasionally), then your whole persona ages. Keep it light and bright, stimulate your mind with music, friends and family and exercise and you will continue to be young.

  • Old is how you feel and that includes various components such as, mental, physical and spiritual. Mentally I am not old at all. Nuf said on that. Physically, I still play ice hockey and basketball, mostly with guys in my age range, give or take several years and sometimes with much younger guys. Playing with much younger guys, you have to play smart, with experience and know-how that only comes with age and you can compete! Spiritually, well that’s a whole different beast. To be old spiritually gives one the ability to generate youthful thoughts, actions and mental prowess. I fell good mentally, physically and spiritually. What else could one ask for besides having a wonderful family, friends and community?

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