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Aging-“the process of growing old”. We all naturally want to age “well” or have a healthy aging process but for some it’s harder than others. I don’t see myself as seanfhear. Growing older in America vs. Ireland has a few difference. I think being able to slow down is a good thing for people. There’s the famous saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but for some old dogs, they know enough tricks.  

There are several different topics regarding aging, from pension funds, false teeth, walkers & canes, dementia, caregivers, wills, fall prevention, hospice, nursing homes, memory loss it’s a huge subject and I am just introducing the topics.

What are the markers/benchmarks of aging? They could include turning 85 or some reports say 65, no longer able to drive, frequently forgetting things, is retired, has grandchildren, or can’t live independently. 13% of people in Ireland are seniors (65 +) in America 15% of population is 65 plus.

Getting old isn’t as bad as people think it will be nor is it quite as good. On Aspects of everyday life varying from mental keenness to physical deftness to financial security what younger people think is different than the real experiences of older people.

For example: memory loss, inability to drive, a struggle with loneliness, chronic pain, dementia, and difficulty paying bills thankfully isn’t as common as younger adults think. At the same time older adults report experiencing fewer of the benefits of aging that younger adults expect to enjoy when they grow old. Such as traveling or doing volunteer work. A serious question for the world is who should pay for the brunt of the aging populations? Best countries to live in if you’re a senior citizen: Switzerland, Norway & Sweden. The worst countries to live in if you’re a senior citizen Afghanistan, Israel & Mozambique. Countries with the oldest populations include Japan, Italy & Germany. Chinese children care for their parents in old age, in Korea elders are highly respected and in India elders are the head of the family.

Some might argue that the elderly in Ireland are a resource, vital part of the family and respected more than the elderly in America. In Ireland senior citizens haven’t used “Nursing Homes” as much as American senior citizens. I suppose for various reasons, people can’t afford it, the family unit usually prefers to stay under one roof, loss of freedom/privacy or health concerns. In America Nursing homes have been around a lot longer than in Ireland. Also, it is a more accepted idea in America that “grandma/grandpa” will be going to live in the nursing home.  

In Ireland, the older population might feel more loneliness at times than their American counterparts because their children more often have moved abroad. American children tend to live closer to their parents and can visit more often. There is unfortunately growing evidence that the family support system for aging parents is not as strong as it used to be. Meaning children may live closer to home in America for example but they are not offering support to their elderly parents.

In Ireland, the health care system is different than in America in that Irish health care is free for over a third of the country. In America there is no universal health care as there is in Ireland. When someone sees a Dr. in America, there are three possible ways payment happens, Medicare/Medicaid, insurance company, or the individual.
Sadly, the elderly everywhere in the world are subject to abuse, financial manipulation, and neglect. I think we need to put more effort into taking care of our aging population in Ireland & America. We all hope to live to a good age. We know to do this we need a good support system, savings, healthcare & prayer helps.

I think we know aging comes with some tough setbacks but I would like to stress the advantages which include: we don’t care as much about what other’s think, grandkids, happier outlook, senior discount, & the wisdom from all the years we’ve lived.

If you are a little older like me some of you may remember the “Ration Books” they were issued to everyone in Ireland around 1939-1951, the time of WW 2. Rationed items included: butter, tea, sugar, flower, tobacco, soap, and clothing.  

I will leave you with a joke about agism: “On their sixtieth anniversary Sean and Mary took a walk back to their old high school, holding hands all the way. She school building was not locked, so they entered, and wandered around the corridors and classroom, reminiscing about their happy schooldays together. On their way back home, an armored car passed them, and a bag fell out, practically landing at their feet.

Mary quickly picked it up, but not being sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the money. The bag contained €50,000! Sean said, “We have to give it back.” Mary said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it up in their attic. The next day, two garda detectives were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the money and knocked on their door. “Pardon me”, the detective said, “but did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday?” Mary said, “No.” Sean said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.” Mary said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile.” The detectives question Sean, “Tell us the story from the beginning.” Sean began, “Well, when Mary and I were walking home from school yesterday…” The first detective turns to his partner and says, “We’re outta here.” Questions, call me (708) 425-7021

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