By Sharon Sultan Cutler
Certified Senior Advisor
The word "senior" conveys many different age definitions. Government agencies call seniors people over 65. According to recent surveys, people in their mid 60s think a senior is around 78. Marketing experts believe most people think of themselves as l0 to 15 years younger than they actually are.
And when we shop at certain stores or go to the movies, the senior discounts begin at about 55.
In the early 1900s, 47 years was the average age people lived. Today, fortunately, the majority of us are living much longer, with many of us enjoying a higher quality of life as we age. The 2000 Census reported that people 65 and older accounted for 35 million Americans. A surprising fact is that the 85-plus population is the fastest growing senior segment. And centenarians 100 years and older number about 72,000 according to the 2000 US Census Bureau. Many of them have very busy daily social lives and use humor as their favorite form of medicine.
Along with the age wave of baby boomers turning 50, many new industries and specialists have developed to fill new specific needs of a society growing older. This niche is especially relevant for elder care and local and long distance caregiving. In future columns, I will go into greater detail about these new specialists, but in the last 20 years or so some of the new special professionals catering to adult children and their senior loved ones include: assisted living facilities, retirement and independent living communities, continuing care retirement communities, various types of home health care agencies and companion services, geriatric care managers, geriatric physicians , reverse mortgage specialists, life settlement specialists, long term care insurance providers, elder care attorneys, Medicaid specialists, respite care, adult day care, guardians, ombudsman councils and hospice.
For the millions of us who are relocating locally or far away to be near family, there are now senior real estate specialists, senior move managers who help pack, unpack, and coordinate the moving experience, senior moving companies, estate liquidators, placement counselors, organizers, down-size teams, cleaning services, etc.
According to The Society of Certified Senior Advisors (of which I am a proud member), several components of successful aging include: active engagement of life, high mental and physical function, and a lower risk of disease and disease-related disability.
As we baby boomers and seniors still are rediscovering life, new values and experiences, our hope for the future is still health, happiness prosperity, and let's add luck, kindness to ourselves and others, laughter, and maybe a big win in your local Lottery!