I turned 70…but I’m not elderly!

Dori Clark
Oregon writer
Roses and Thorns Blog

It happened! All my life I’ve never given thought to it. I turned 70! I am officially elderly. I know this because whenever newscasters give the age of someone seventy or older they preface it with, ‘elderly.’ “Mrs. So-and-So, an elderly woman of seventy was robbed today.” It doesn’t matter that Mrs. So-and-So walks her dog four miles every day, works out three times a week at the gym and has taken up fencing. She’s seventy and ‘elderly.’

My dictionary defines the word this way, past middle age and approaching the later stages of life. As an afterthought it adds, sometimes considered offensive. Ya’ think?

And why seventy? Ask “When does one become elderly?” of a 10 year old child, a seventeen year old girl, a twenty five year old man or a forty year old woman and you’ll get a different answer from each. It is all in one’s perspective. Who came up with seventy as the answer to the equation?

I decided to find out, According to the World Health Organization, most of the world’s developed countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as an arbitrary definition of ‘elderly’ or older person. Elderly is often associated with the age at which one can begin to receive pension benefits. I’ve been elderly for five years and didn’t know it.

I confess that when I awaken each morning my first thought is when did that tree fall on me? But once I explore moving, my body loosens up and I function almost as well as I used to. Ok, as well as when I was 65. And last night I saw Janet Leigh’s daughter on TV and couldn’t remember her name. I thought, well, her last name is the same as her father. His name is Tony . . . Tony . . . I couldn’t remember his name. Finally, after a computer search I discovered the answers – Tony Curtis and Jaime Lee Curtis. That might not seem so bad except he was one of my favorite actors back before I became elderly. I guess an increase in Gingko is in order.

I know there are other signs: my face now has more lines, but I can’t see them unless my contacs are in; my boobs hang low, but they match my tush; and I have lots of age spots, but they’re fun – the grandkids play dot-to-dot with them.

A friend sent me an email that lists the ABC’s of elderly.

A’s for arthritis; B’s the bad back; C’s the chest pains, perhaps cardiac?
D is for dental decay and decline; E is for eyesight, can’t read that top line.
F is for farting and fluid retention; G is for gut droop, which I’d rather not mention.
H high blood pressure – I’d rather it low; I for incisions with scars I can’t show.
J is for joints, out of socket, won’t mend; K is for knees that crack when they bend.
L’s for Libido, what happened to sex; M is for memory, I forget what comes next.
N is for neuralgia, in nerves way down low; O is for osteo, bones marrow don’t grow.
P’s for prescriptions, I have quite a few, just give me a pill and I’ll be good as new.
Q is for queasy, is it fatal or flu; R is for reflux, one meal turns to two.
S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears; T’s Tinnitus, bells in my ears.
U is for urinary, troubles with flow; V is for vertigo, that’s dizzy you know.
W is for worry, now what’s going ‘round; X is for X-ray, and what might be found.
Y for another year I’m left here behind; Z is for zest I still have – in my mind.

Since I relate to much of the above, I admit I’m elderly. I don’t like it but as my aunt used to say each birthday, “It’s better than the alternative.”


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