Our senior citizens are vital to future

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 24, 2004

Tribune editorial board

Old age is not a disease - it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.

- Maggie Kuhn, U.S. civil rights activist

Email newsletter signup

Once upon a time when a man or woman reached the age of retirement, society considered their contribution to the world largely complete.

Those retirees settled into the role of elder statesmen, respected but rarely called upon to provide much in the way of leadership.

It may be likely that some of that progression was simply a factor of the average lifespan decades ago. With today's modern medicine, people are living more and more each year. As a result, reaching the retirement age no longer means a person is ready to "retire" to a rocking chair somewhere. Hardly.

In fact, some of today's senior citizens are more active and vibrant than many people half their age.

Today, retirement often doesn't have a thing to do with a rocking chair. For many retirees, they find themselves busier than when they were officially working.

One thing our community doesn't do often enough is consider the value and importance of our mature citizens.

These folks are tremendous assets to our community in a number of ways. From the taxes they pay and the goods they purchase to the countless hours of time they dedicate to community projects, their impact is significant.

For the most part senior citizens are typically model citizens as well. Normally, they don't litter, they do not commit crime, and they are, by all practical purposes, model citizens in some ways.

Having senior citizens in our area is a big plus in terms of economic development as well. Both in terms of the dollars these stable people provide to the community to their knowledge of the area's resources and the priceless wealth of wisdom and economic contacts these folks have.

The years they wear in their minds and hearts also provide them with a powerful shield of armor against the slings and arrows of modern life.

And if we choose to listen to them, and ask for their help, the sky is the limit.