Why You Should Not Write-off Your Elders

The Statistics Speak For Themselves

Before you buy into that stereotype that all older Americans are demented, helpless and lonely, check out these statistics.

Ninety-seven percent of Americans  over 65 are NOT in nursing homes.  Here’s an even more interesting statistic – ninety-one percent of Americans aged 85 and older are not in nursing homes.

Ninety percent of Americans aged 65 and older DO NOT have Alzheimer’s dementia.  Ninety percent, folks.  According to the American Medical Association, dementia rates continue to fall significantly.  Interestingly, however, Americans’ anxiety about memory loss is increasing.

Over fifty percent of Americans aged 85 and older can go about their everyday activities without any help.  Dressing, cooking, paying bills – they are doing that just fine, thank you.

If most older Americans are not demented or helpless, surely they are at least suffering from loneliness and depression, right?  Nope: 75% of Americans over 70 say they are not lonely.

Are you suffering from Ageism?

If you find any of that surprising, then you might be suffering from ageism, which is the discrimination and stereotyping of people by age.  If you buy into ageism, then you are doing a huge disservice to the millions of elders who are happy and healthy.

Just ask Gladys Burrill who ran a marathon at age 92 and finished the race in just under 10 hours.  Or William Ivy Baldwin was 82 when he successfully walked a tightrope over a canyon in El Dorado Springs in Colorado.  And don’t forget Grandma Moses, who started painting at the age of 76.

They did not let their age define them.  Nor should you.

Virginia Hammerle is a licensed Texas attorney.  Her practice includes estate planning, litigation, guardianship and probate law. If you still have any questions, be sure to visit our site at Hammerle.com or vistit our Lewisville attorney firm.  This column does not constitute legal advice.