Musings On Ageism & Gender

Much is being written about ageism and gender right now. It’s good to see energy being directed toward these topics in a meaningful way.

In my musings this week, I’d like to express a perspective of why I believe that women over 50 continue to hold runway in their lives. It is not news that statistically women live longer than men. I admit, I thought this was because we were healthier than men. It appears I am inaccurate on this.

Data I have been reading and digesting from the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicate women’s mental health and physical health decline while we continue to live longer. This feels like such a juxtaposition to me.

As I sat with it, I considered the following:

 

  • More women are diagnosed with dementia than men. Depending on the type of dementia and the onset, women can, and often do, live with dementia for a long time – sometimes well into their 90s.
  • More women than men live in care facilities. Depending on the type of care facility, this can be a nurturing, positive time in their lives; however, the COVID pandemic showed horrific approaches to elderly in many different care facilities. Yet, women often live for many years, again into their late 80s and 90s in these environments.
  • Women are poorer than men in their old age. The long cycle of earning less, having less pension, and ultimately less ability to spend money taking care of themselves becomes very clear after the age of 65.

 

Some bleak thoughts aren’t they?

So then I considered, what if it was turned around? What if there was another way women could make choices about HOW they experience their later years and WHAT they could do today for their tomorrow?

These are my thoughts which I share with you:

 

  • My trainer and my physician both say that the number one reason women end up in a care facility is because they cannot get down onto or up off of a toilet. Remedy:  do 20 squats every single day.
  • Although there is currently no cure for dementia, those who fare best with dementia have been active – physically and mentally – in their lives prior to their diagnosis. Preventive action:  keep your connections and friends close, read, do crossword puzzles, and walk – every single day.

 

I am aware that some may feel these thoughts are simplistic. Perhaps they are. In actual fact though, it is simplicity that enables us to move forward because the actions are repeatable and they work.

I urge you … take small, simple steps every single day. You will be amazed at the results over a period of time.

 

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