Having entered my 90th cycle this summer, taking on the topic of aging seems appropriate. I don’t have the chutzpah to speak for all aging people. Still, though I admit grudgingly I am no longer young (however you define that), I feel competent to discuss beliefs regarding those persons who are deemed to be “getting old.”

This is a very important issue in the United States where a less than positive attitude about aging exists. What I have to say is focused on people like you who are not old. You need to know something about what aging people are facing, internally and externally.

A very important issue for seniors is respect. This is especially true for those millions who did not accomplish anything extraordinary during their working days. Even if they don’t feel sorry about it, they still need to be told they did their job, are important citizens and certainly are cherished. There is a growing body of research that shows positive attitudes affect behavior.

Health is a central issue. Good health during the “golden years” is largely due to one’s habits. Too many timeworn folks eat and sit. As a result, by the time they are 70 they’re “old”. Step one, as a concerned relative or friend, is to get them off their backsides and at least walking every day.

The companion to health is fun. Everyone needs something to keep themselves mentally and physically engaged. Age brings aches and pains, illness, less mobility, sometimes depression. We can’t let seniors wallow in self-pity. Find a way to help them have fun: hobbies, games (dominos, cards, mahjongg, checkers, chess). Clubs, senior centers and associations all help sustain a cared for positive attitude. Without amusement and support they will fade away due to a negative state of mind.

For many people “old age” is a great time. If they are financially comfortable, have family and friends and enjoy good heath, there is no reason to be stressed. They have wisdom to share with younger people. Given a little effort seniors can be valuable and happy citizens

Here’s a closing thought: prepare for your golden years now. They sneak up on you.