In the News
In the Know
The Magic of the Fountain of Youth
In 1513, armed with maps, a compass and the instruction of his king, Spanish adventurer Ponce de Leon
scoured the coast of Florida for what
he hoped was the legendary Fountain
of Youth. He never found it. Five hundred years later, the search continues.
For good reason. We’re getting older—
fast. Each day, nearly 9,400 people in
America turn 65. And we are one day
closer to 2014, when the last of the 77.5
ON THE COVER: RENÉE COMET, STYLING BY LISA CHERKASKY; INSET: SIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED/GETTY IMAGES THIS PAGE: OTTERBEIN UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES
million boomers turn 50. The aging
of America has implications for the nation. In the recent elections, a majority
of the voters were over
50, the first time that’s
happened. Today, 36
percent of the federal
our transportation networks, our housing patterns and our schools.
For me, there was an early model for dealing with the challenge
of aging in America—my grandfather, John F. Smith. For 23 years,
He was ahead of his time.
He retired but didn’t want to stop working. So he learned new
work skills and spent 15 years as the custodian at the college gym.
Like him, more and more people are living longer. We’ve gained
three decades in the past century. Someone born in 1900 could
expect to live to 47. Someone born today can expect to live to almost 79. Why? Artificial knees and hips and kidney or lung transplants—even those technological advances have less to do with
longer life than better water, cleaner streets, vaccinations and
antibiotics. That brings us back to Ponce de Leon. Five centuries
later, no one has found the Fountain of Youth. But the Fountain of
Youth has found us.
We have the gift of extra years. As we begin a new year, filled
with goals and dreams, what will we do with that opportunity?
—Jim Toedtman, Editor
didn’t retire. He
traded his cap and
gown for a mop.
budget is consumed by Social Security and Medicare,
a growing cost shouldered by the shrinking population
of younger Americans. An aging America also has implications for our communities, where we must rethink
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