From Barbara Silverstone’s book, You and Your Aging Parent:
Average life expectancies:
- In ancient Greece: 18 years
- In 1600s: 33
- In 1850s: 42
- In 1900s: 47
- Currently: 73
65 years of age for retirement is a hangover from the 1880s when the German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, had to set an age for pension benefits. he took the average life expectancy which was then 43 and added 50% more years to arrive at 65. If we used the same formula today, old age would begin at 112.
“Children begin by loving their parents. As they grow older, they like them. Later, they judge them. sometimes, they forgive them. ”
“Like eager scouts, less-favored sons and daughters often push themselves through life to do more and more good deeds. But sad to say, no Brownie points are given out to middle-aged daughters and no Merit Badges to graying sons. Family history can never be rewritten. Brothers and sisters cannot return to earlier days to heal old wounds. In old age there is finality.”
“The death of an elderly mother or father inevitably touches the children who are left behind, whether they are just grown up, middle-aged or nearing old age themselves. Even if it is expected because of illness or welcomed as an end to suffering, the death of a parent cannot be a casual event. Our personal being is in some way diminished. A strong force linking us to our past is gone.”
“Many older people are flatly rejecting popular stereotypes and going right ahead to live just the kind of life they want to live or are able to live. Their own personal experience proves that contentment, creativity, understanding, and self-reliance may be intensified rather than diminished in the later decades. They are proud and not ashamed of their age, and they want the world to know it.