Category: Health

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?

This is where old age always seems to lead.

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Four out of five elderly people battle at least one chronic health condition. Mine is napalepsy.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.


9/4/21, 9:47 am

I saw on the news that elderly people can get a sickness called Sundowner Syndrome, or SS. I always like to research illnesses I hear about in the news, because I invariably end up catching them. And usually my research is just in the nick of time, because I seem to catch the illnesses, with all the classic symptoms, right after conducting the research. It helps to be a well-informed patient.

9/4/21, 9:49 am

I’ll start my research right after I finish this bowl of prunes for breakfast.

9/4/21, 10:05 am

Prunes are down, colon is churning, and I thought I’d get in a little of that research before the time for my constitutional arrives. Let’s see, according to Wikipedia, this here disease is also called Sundowning. Wow, that sounds kind of depressing. Reminds me of that Elton John song, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me. In fact, he’s an old dude now, just like me. I wonder if he’s a Sundowner? Sadly, maybe the sun has indeed finally gone down on Sir John. Speaking of John, it’s time now for my constitutional.

9/4/21, 11:06 am

I feel so refreshed. And now that the second favorite part of my day is over, it’s back to the research. It appears that Sundowning occurs right around sunset. People with dementia are usually the ones that get it. For them, the sun slipping over the horizon seems to make them crazier than they normally are. But some old fogies who don’t even have dementia can also be Sundowners. No one quite knows what causes this condition. My theory is werewolves. Ever notice how so many old people have the features of lycanthropes? They’re all hirsute, with hair growing out of their ears, nostrils, back, etc. And when that sun goes down, maybe some of us want to go out and howl at the moon, just like the dogs we’re becoming.

9/4/21, 12:00 pm

Nap time.

9/4/21, 1:27 pm

My favorite part of the day is over. So now I have to knuckle down and do some serious work on this Sundowner Syndrome stuff. There are various ways to treat Sundowners. One is to have us maintain a consistent sleeping schedule. I’m all for that. That’s why I call the cops on the neighbor kids so much. Seems they’re always playing real loud in the street, and sometimes they have all the nerve to chase a loose ball onto my front yard. I have to keep watch to run the little invaders off.

9/4/21, 2:03 pm

I’ve been yawning and drifting off quite a bit, so I think it’s time for another nap.

9/4/21, 3:46 pm

Staring at my computer. What the hell was I doing before my nap? Oh yeah, that damned Sundowner research. I sure as hell am tired of that. Time for some Solitaire.

9/4/21, 5:00 pm

Dinner time. Hey? What happened to lunch? Must have slept through it.

9/4/21, 5:28 pm

Dinner made me sleepy. Time for another nap.

9/4/21, 6:52 pm

I woke up and it seems to be getting a little dark in the house. What the Sam Hill is going on here? Jesus Christ, it’s that late?! Can’t see the keyboard for my fingers. I know–I’ll light a candle.

9/4/21, 7:21 pm

Been rummaging in the garage for the past half-hour, looking for a candle. Found one, but when I lit it, it made a whistling sound, shot up like a rocket ship, and bounced off the ceiling and walls. Hit me in the back of the pants and started a little fire. Must be a bad batch of candles in that box. I bought them July of last year, so maybe they’re getting a little old. But my wife suggested that instead of using a candle I could just flip on the light switch. Brilliant idea! Why didn’t I think of that?

9/4/21, 7:38 pm

I’ve been staring at my computer for some time now, before finally figuring out what I’m researching. Let’s see Down’s Syndrome is a genetic disorder that often causes an intellectual disability. What was that noise? Better grab the flashlight and investigate. I hope it’s not those damn neighbor kids.

9/4/21, 8:12 pm

My wife told me that the wiener dog is not a flashlight. Why are there so many things in this world that look similar? It’s so damn confusing. The noise was caused by settlement of our house foundation. Our house is built directly over a sinkhole. I know this. But no one will believe me. One day you won’t hear from me anymore, so just be aware that I will be buried about 5,000 miles beneath the surface of the Earth. Anyway, back to writing my post about the SS. They are Hitler’s henchmen and do all of his dirty work. I hide in my closet whenever I hear anyone outside in the evening, because one night they may break down my front door and haul me off to a concentration camp. You see, I belong to the resistance. Which reminds me. I think this evening I’ll sneak out of bed, head for downtown, and blow up that bridge with some of those defective candles.

9/4/21, 9:16 pm

My wife has informed me that the coast is clear. The SS has bypassed our house. She told me to post my article about dromedary camels, because it’s time to go to bed. Did you know that the Humpback of Notre Dame rode a camel? My wife is looking impatient. I’ll post this in the morning.

9/4/21, 9:30 pm

“Good night, dear wife. Yes, I promise I’ll be here in the morning.” (Heh, heh, better look out, Nazis.)

Organizing Jelly Beans

My favorite is the licorice flavored Jelly Belly.

I love jelly beans. So imagine how sad I felt when I learned that refined sugar causes health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and a bevy of other maladies. Jelly beans are made of refined sugar. Apparently, you can eat all the natural (unrefined) sugar you want, from sources such as fruit, fruit, and fruit, and they won’t cause you any harm. But for some reason, refined sugar is poison.

Some estimate that the average American consumes about 77 grams of refined sugar per day. Others place that estimate as high as 188 grams. But experts say that the safe limit is a mere 38 grams per day for men, and a teensy 25 grams for women.

It’s also a fact that experts are known to take all the fun out of life.

But phew, at least it’s safe to eat some amount of refined sugar. I don’t have to completely give up my jelly bean habit. So I have come up with a system. I limit myself to three jelly beans per day. There are two grams of sugar in each jelly bean. If I eat only three per day, that’s a total of six grams. This leaves me with 32 grams of sugar that I can obtain from other delicious sources, such as ice cream, cake, and cookies.

I came up with a method to ensure that I only eat three jelly beans per day. I put them in a pill organizer, with three beans in each compartment, for each day of the week. Once I consume my daily dose of jelly beans, I’m done with them for the day. And then it’s time to move on to ice cream.

Too bad they don’t have a pill organizer large enough for that.

"Depths of Poison" Book 2

Scroll down to read the sequel.

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

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