What better way to understand the future than to take a lesson from the poet William Wordsworth who was born in 1770 and lived until the age of 80, this at a time when the average life expectancy was closer to 40. Wordsworth wisely proclaimed:
Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.”
Nobody understands the future of old age better than caregivers — the unpaid daughters, sons, spouses, relatives and friends — who help care for someone in need. And there are a lot of us caregivers out there. According to a 2013 Pew Research study, 4 in 10 adults (39% of the U.S. adult population) are caring for a loved one with significant health issues. The knowledge caregivers’ gain prepares us for our journey to old age, in a way that no book, lecture or advisor could ever do.
And, many caregivers are seeking a public forum to improve issues related to old age by sharing their stories via books, blogs and documentary films. They are inventing products to solve problems encountered with aging. They are participating in fundraisers to fight disease such as Alzheimer’s. And, most importantly, they are bringing old age to the public consciousness to improve this stage of life.
In upcoming posts, I will feature many of these caregivers and their contributions in this series “100 Reasons Why Now Is The Best Time To Grow Old.”