Eight Curious Facts About Aging
Old age is a death sentence. That’s my irrefragable opinion. I have this morbid attitude about aging, because I know where it leads. But when I talk morbidly about it, young people sometimes respond with reassurances such as, “Oh no, you’re going to live forever. You’re not going anywhere. When I get old, you’ll still be around, mark my words.”
This leaves me wondering, what part of the Circle of Life do they not understand?
Having completed nearly the full 360 degrees, I guess I know a lot more about the Circle than young people. I also have academic credentials, having studied Gerontology 101 in college. But never mind any of that. I recently got on Google and researched old age, which makes me a true expert. Here are eight mildly curious facts I uncovered, before I fell asleep:
- The elderly are the fastest growing demographic in America. About 17% of the U.S. population is aged 65 or older, and this will grow to 20% by 2030, after the last of the baby boomers reaches old age. We old folks expect the declining number of young people to support us through their contributions to Social Security and Medicare. So get busy, you whippersnappers! Stop whining about everything and get a job! No, get two jobs! We need you!
- A male at birth is expected to live five years less than a female born in the same year. However, the average male at 70 years old has only two years less to live than the average female of the same age. And at age 85, the difference in remaining life expectancy dwindles to only one year. It’s as if Mother Nature punishes husbands for surviving many years of incessant nagging, by giving us a few extra years of browbeating.
- Only 3.6% of people over age 65 are in nursing homes. The rest are doing our best to convince young people we don’t need a nursing home.
- Four out of five elderly people battle at least one chronic health condition. Mine is napalepsy.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are increasing rapidly among the elderly, with cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia doubling in recent years. But hey, what do you expect from a bunch of former hippies?
- The brain never stops growing, even in older people. Humans are always growing new neurons, and the brain is constantly reshaping its neural patterns, as it learns new things. The new things old people have to learn are stuff like: how to fool our doctors when given a memory test; how to operate the motorized carts at the supermarket; and how to write to our congressional representatives over anything we want to complain about.
- Like the brain, the ears and noses of elderly people seem to never stop growing, also. Many assume that the reason old geezers have such big ears and noses, is due to continual cartilage growth. But the real cause is from the long-term effects of gravity. And all those years of wearing earrings, nose rings, nipple rings, and so forth, only makes matters worse.
- The stereotype of the grumpy old man, or sour old woman is a myth. We tend to mellow as we age, and become more agreeable and tractable. I think this is because when we’re old, we know we’re going leave this cruel world soon, so we stop taking it too seriously. But it can also be from the satisfaction of knowing we can soil our diapers in public at any time, with nobody around us being the wiser.