By Francis Taylor, Executive Editor
(Internet image of senior citizens)
This month is Older Americans Month and as much as I resemble that remark, I resent the fact and reality that I have fewer days before me than I have had behind me. Reaching older American status is a blessing for many and a curse for others. As the natural aging process occurs, some of us reduce our exercise activities, ignore dietary eating recommendations and allow stress to consummate our daily lives.
At the same time, some of us increase our exercise regimen, adjust our eating habits, develop new learning opportunities to keep our minds alert, and look forward to living their best life even though, as I learned at a very early age, ‘we know not the day or the hour of our demise.”
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as ‘Senior Citizens Month,’ the prelude to ‘Older Americans Month.’
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
For the record, I was a Vietnam Era Captain in the United States Army, have had an enviable corporate career and have had great parents and children. I believe the best thing about being a senior is helping my grandchildren develop and the worst thing is not being guaranteed the opportunity to see them grow and flourish. Don’t forget…the day and the hour…”
For purposes of this feature story, I chose to ask Inglewood senior Citizens what is best about being a senior citizen and what is worst about being a senior citizen. The answers ranged across perspectives, as one would imagine.
Candy Jennings offered the most positive response, in my opinion, when said that what was most positive was the time, she was able to spend with her grandchildren. She offered nothing bad about being a senior citizen.
Venissa Fatherre said that she most appreciates her freedom of choice, doing whatever she wants and spoiling her grandchildren. She regrets her medical challenges and routine aches and pains.
Al Himary likes the time available to do whatever he wants and regrets the fleeting loss of memory and forgetfulness. Carl Dorsey was happy to report that as a senior citizen he has no worries, no job, wakes up wit a sound mind, has a beautiful and loving wife, has satisfied all of the items on his bucket list. He acknowledges that with aging, limited mobility is sure to come.
Eliza McHolden said she gets a monthly retirement check but does not have to go to work every day. On the other hand, she regrets the onset of arthritis. Mona Taylor said she does not miss her 9-5 job but hates hearing her friends and family say she is getting old. “Old is just a number,” she said.
Leanoa Juanita Gordon, age 90 and the oldest senior citizen I had the pleasure of interviewing, said that the best thing about being a senior citizen are all the perks that are offered to senior citizens. The worst thing is losing one’s hearing, as she was assisted by her friend at the lunch table. When asked about her 90-year secret, she said she would like to have and alcoholic drink from time to time but she chooses not to, she has always avoided tobacco products, and she takes care of her body!
My fellow seniors, TAKE NOTE and Happy Older Americans Month from INGLEWOOD TODAY!