Weekly column in the Washington Times Communities by Laurie Edwards-Tate

Over the years, I’ve had a front row seat observing the cycles of life: how Americans age, and how their families cope with the challenges of aging.  I’ve learned a lot of the secrets about healthy aging, and how to live a vibrant, active life well into your so-called “golden years.”

As a result, I have resolved to push back against ageism. Paying attention to both your physical and mental health, having a purpose in life, connecting with others and above all, embracing resilience allows us to age well.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Laurie Edwards-Tate, M.S., President & Founder of At Your Home Familycare (AYHF) in San Diego, California. For the last 27 years, we have been providing private duty, non-medical home care.

We provide caring, reliable and affordable non-medical home and community-based care and private duty services for seniors, dependent adults and children.

I’m part of a generation that has rewritten the rules and defied expectations for years: the Baby Boomer Generation. Ever since we hit the streets leading protests in the early 60s, we haven’t liked being told what to do. (Guilty as charged).

The 18-year age span of people born between 1946 and 1964 are just starting to turn 65 this year.

What this means is staggering. Ten-thousand people will turn 65 every single day from now through the next 20 years. Every single day.

By the year 2030, one of every five Americans will be 65 or older. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s national population projections released in 2009, the number of Americans 65 years old or older will grow from 40 million to 54.6 million by 2020—a 36 percent increase and the addition of 14.6 million seniors to the population.

This phenomenon is being called the “Silver Tsunami,” an age wave of unprecedented proportion. It will signal nothing less than a fundamental shift in our country, from the way new products are designed, to how they are marketed, to how our communities are built. It will effect how government will provide services and what it means for the workplace.

It will change family dynamics in a way we haven’t seen since… well, since these boomer kids first burst onto the scene.

This means the times they are a-changin’. The youth of America are going to be overwhelmed by sheer numbers as the baby boomer generation takes charge of their “Golden Years.”

These baby boomers are the generation that thinks nothing of listening to the same music on their iPods as their teenage children, long after the hair is gone from their heads. They’re on Facebook and they are Twittering up a storm, armed with smart phones and iPads.

They’re running marathons and climbing mountains.

It is not about denying aging or trying to stop the clock. It’s about defying society’s negative expectations about what age means.

You may not fall into this age group yet, but we are all affected by the issues that an aging society has. Many of us are coping with the aging of loved ones. A growing number of us are caregivers.

As taxpayers, we share the responsibility and the burden of providing a safety net for our most vulnerable elders, those no longer climbing mountains. There will be challenges.

Here on the Communities at the Washington Times, LifeCycles will provide a place for us to talk openly about these issues, to share our observations and our advice, and our successes.

I am excited to be here, to share what I’ve learned from observing the way people age and the way families cope for 27 years. Make no mistake, there are significant challenges to aging.

But there is plenty of room for optimism and inspiration, too.

Welcome to “LifeCycles.” Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

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