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  1. #1
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    50+ Fodder From My Local Newspaper

    I thought some of us might enjoy this article printed in today's Akron Beacon Journal.

    http://www.ohio.com/news/top_stories/123731534.html

    What say you, DnvrFox?

  2. #2
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Interesting article, Louis. I can't speak for "boomer"men, but I read the following statement about women and thought, "Hey! That's me! (except for the retirement part )

    ''Boomer men are looking forward to working less, relaxing more and spending more time with their spouse, while boomer women view the dual liberations of empty nesting and retirement as providing new opportunities for career development, community involvement and continued personal growth,'' the study found.

  3. #3
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I have the privilege of doing consulting work with senior centers and my office is actually in rented space within a large senior center. One of the things not really dealt with in the article is that about 20 years ago senior centers were forced to start taking folks that are probably better served in an adult day service program. (Meaning funding streams put new requirements in place to reduce per day costs for those individuals who require the most service.) So, what we now have in most senior centers (at least in the tri-state area near Philadelphia and as far west as Pittsburgh) are people who are experiencing early to mid stages of dementia, some who are incontinent, and others with moderate to severe physical limitations/challenges. Senior centers were never designed to serve this level of consumer. So, many have had to adapt and do things like start adult day service programs within their centers, or lose key funding. I'm not arguing that this is a good or a bad thing. It's just the reality of what has happened.

    About 12 years ago I was hired to do interviews with community leaders and focus groups with senior center consumers and those eligible to use senior centers who don't. While not having the final report in front of me, one of the things that was high up (as in the top three) as a reason people don't use senior centers is that they didn't want to be in a facility that reminded them of what happens to some people as they get older. So, being in the senior center environment, in one sense, was a daily reminder of what they feared about aging. Interestingly, this was despite the fact that the vast majority of people never need the level of service provided in adult day service programs. In their minds, it was just too difficult to be close to folks who had significant challenges. I came to privately call this the "fear factor".

    Now with this said, I've also done work with senior centers that are considered model centers. They have the resources to create a physical facility that looks much more like a health club/fitness center. And, they typically are able to reduce the impact of the "fear factor", by making the presence of those with high service needs less visible. I remember reading several studies in graduate school pointing to the fact that most people don't like being forced into situations with others who are markedly different than themselves. I think the perception of those who won't use a senior center is based, in part, on this. They see folks with challenges as "different".

    Recent experience has reinforced my thinking about this. For example, last month the center where my office is located attempted to start a cycling club. For about a two month period early this spring they advertised it heavily. The program did not go over very well. I don't believe it was because there is no interest. Rather, I believe it is because people didn't want to come to the center and have to deal with the presence of others they perceive as markedly different than them... the fear factor. In part I base my belief on three or four discussions I had with folks my age who are all looking for group ride experiences at a slow to moderate pace. None of them would consider the senior center group as an option.

    Bias is a prickly thing to get a hold of and weed out of the garden (if I can use such a metaphor). When I made the decision to move my office to the senior center about two years ago (I figured if we had to pay rent, we may as well pay it to someone who was doing something good for the community and who could use it) my youngest son asked: "Dad, are you sure you want to do this?" I responded, "Yes, why?" His answer, "Well, you know you're going to be around old people everyday." I replied, "Whoa, keep in mind I'm old enough to be a member there." His response with a big smirk on his face, "Yeah, Dad, I know." So, even my own son has been negatively influenced by the bias that exists. It is very difficult to change this kind of cultural bias.
    Last edited by NOS88; 06-14-11 at 06:27 AM.
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    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    At almost 72 and a pre-baby boomer, I can now consider myself as a "senior" who might be attending these programs. So, can I speak with some authority?

    Our local "senior center" has a reputation as unfriendly and cliquish. And, despite the wealth in this community, it is in a non-pleasing environment, with a dark basement for a workroom, etc. My singing group has sung there twice, and will not sing there again, as the clientele is rude and talks loudly during our performances. The Board of Directors seems to always be in an uproar, with two firings of the ED in the past few years.

    Interestingly, our rec center, with their "Silver Sneakers"program (paid for by several Medicare supplement plans), has become the locale of choice for seniors. Although, personally, I don't like tht program, many folks do. They like that they are doing physical activities structured for seniors that, to them, are challenging and worthwhile. I am so far beyond that level that I find them boring and restrictive. But, that is me, and many of my friends do the "Silver Sneakers" program.

    So, we have two competing programs for seniors - one sort of dying out and bitter, one growing and active. And both receive funding from our town.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I thought some of us might enjoy this article printed in today's Akron Beacon Journal.

    http://www.ohio.com/news/top_stories/123731534.html

    What say you, DnvrFox?
    As someone who barely qualifies to be here (end of the boomer age, I turn 50 on Saturday), the problem with all of this, is that when 65 was picked as a retirement age, back in the 1960's the number of people expected to live more then year or two beyond that, was minimal, so it was a good age to pick. Now of course with improvements in medical science in the last 50 years, has lead to more and more people living beyond 65 for an extended period of time, yet governments are stuck, between a rock and a hard place, because they can't change it. If my cousin who retired a couple of years ago, was able to retire with a full pension at 65, then in 15 years, when I get there, I should be able to retire, at that same age, even if my life expectancy is 20 years beyond that.

    There are the disadvantages of increasing payouts as people live longer, and in an overall shrinking job market, needing older folks to retire to open up opportunities for younger people. As for senior centres, there is the same issue, 50 years ago, when you reached 65, most people couldn't see, they couldn't hear, many could barely walk, and facilities were designed for people in these conditions. Now we have laser eye surgery, hearing aides are now adjustable and barely visible and we can replace those arthritic knees with metal and plastic, heck we can even fix a bad heart, so the quality of life for a person 65+ is much better then it was in the 1960's. Which is good for the retiree because they can do stuff after their working years that they never had time to do before, they don't really need support facilities, because they are able to live well without them.

  6. #6
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogster View Post
    ... There are the disadvantages of increasing payouts as people live longer, and in an overall shrinking job market, needing older folks to retire to open up opportunities for younger people. As for senior centers, there is the same issue, 50 years ago, when you reached 65, most people couldn't see, they couldn't hear, many could barely walk, and facilities were designed for people in these conditions. Now we have laser eye surgery, hearing aides are now adjustable and barely visible and we can replace those arthritic knees with metal and plastic, heck we can even fix a bad heart, so the quality of life for a person 65+ is much better then it was in the 1960's. Which is good for the retiree because they can do stuff after their working years that they never had time to do before, they don't really need support facilities, because they are able to live well without them.
    I haven't seen any data that would support this, and I've seen a fair amount of data on senior centers in the US. Can you point me to any that would support this? I may be operating under misguided beliefs, which I would like to correct if I am. I do know that in 1965 when the Older Americans Act was passed it took them two years to realize that they ought to base programs on the actual needs of older people. And it wasn't until 1973 that Area Agencies on Aging were created (the primary funding source for most modern senior centers). In 1978 the OAA was amended to deal with multi-purpose senior centers aimed at social services, recreation and nutritional services. At this point they were seeing senior centers as community focal points where seniors could get information, congregate meals, and recreational/educational opportunities. Centers were to extend the quality of life for older adults with prevention or slowing of decline as a major goal. Most senior center directors I've spoken with have consistently told me that the level of frailness did not really become an issue until two things happened: 1. their earlier members (people who started coming when they were in their 60s) got much older and continued to come. It is not uncommon for someone to have attended the same center for 30+ years. 2. Area Agencies on Aging began to put pressure on and create regulations that centers had to accommodate more and more frail people (something for which the centers were never designed to handle). Many of these center directors have expressed that they feel their centers have become a dumping ground for people who need more service than they can provide. This has, unfortunately created some very dysfunctional dynamics, often leading to centers that decline into the less favorable one that DnvrFox described. Not unlike the situation that occurred when mental hospitals were challenged with the Pennhurst case and the concept of "least restrictive treatment" became the norm, money was susposed to follow the person. But in that case and with senior centers to a large extent, the money was not there.

    Wow, talk about not paying attention. Wogster, I didn't realize you live outside of the US (I know, billions of people do.)
    Last edited by NOS88; 06-14-11 at 09:35 AM. Reason: Realized Wogster is from Canada!
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  7. #7
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    My bank runs something called "Club 50". It's for customers who are at least 50 years old, and who have a good wad of cash on deposit in any combination of accounts.
    So... I keep getting mail from them, attempting to entice me to join. They cannot understand why I have not responded. They go on day trips, and some overnights.
    Looking at the pics, I would say I definitely would not fit in at all. All I can think of is that these people have not ridden a bicycle in decades. And somehow, a weekend
    bus trip to the Poconos does not appeal to me.
    "The People will believe what the Media tells them they believe". George Orwell.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Is there anyone left in Akron under 80? Me, and all of my friends and family moved away years ago.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  9. #9
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    I scoffed when AARP sent me a "Senior Citizen" card. One, because I'm far too active to be a senior(I still out-ski and out-play a lot of 20-30 year olds on the softball field) and two because I don't see eye to eye with AARP's political views.
    I don't like the idea of "Senior" either. If senior centers would cater to an active lifestyle and not BINGO or other worthless things, I might consider going
    I played 3 softball games just last night. 2 with the young guns(batted second ) and one in the Senior league. I've done a triple-header twice this year already. Most times I have two games on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
    Last edited by bigbadwullf; 06-15-11 at 12:08 PM.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I thought some of us might enjoy this article printed in today's Akron Beacon Journal.

    http://www.ohio.com/news/top_stories/123731534.html

    What say you, DnvrFox?
    From the article: "Sometimes called the Me Generation, the now 47- to 65-year-olds grew up in a time of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll."

    Maybe the "senior" centers would get more business if they would all get a "medical marijuana" license and have "Bong Hits and Bingo Night" on Thursdays.

  11. #11
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    I like this part: "According to a 2009 Pew Research survey, the typical boomer believes old age doesn't begin until 72." That is very real progress in attitude. There are too many that think it's 50. I'm 72 and the only real difference so far is longer recovery time and some nutritional adjustments.

    I'm with Wogster on so called senior centers. I can't imagine dealing with a senior center given who they cater too. Why do seniors need special attention/have special needs as a class of people? Talk about stereotyping. Many folks who are not old have special needs too. Why not mix old and young special needs?

    One of our really old neighbors goes to water aerobics where anybody can go who's over 18. The issue is to have the opportunity for water aerobics for everybody and not just somebody who's lived long enough.

    Life is more stimulating with a mix of ages and interests. Why would one want to go to a place full of old folks? What's wrong with younger people and old folks mixing?

    Most old folks I run into are not enjoyable to be around. Old folks in my neighborhood are really boring and don't do much except talk about their latest medical issues (ad nauseum), the weather and the latest tv programs.

    The ones I meet on the trails and some small business folks are totally different and very stimulating. Much more fun participating in the trail parking area bull session with younger folks or at a bike club meeting then talking to the majority of old folks I run into.

    Al

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