Bloomfield Township - January 2023
Author, gerontologist, psychologist and visionary Ken Dychtwald, PhD, has spent more than four decades studying the Age Wave. He coined this term to reference the historic demographic changes arising from medical evolution and the post WWII baby boom.
Innovations in medicine have created an “unprecedented longevity revolution, a whole new stage of life is emerging between ages 60 and 90.” It is what he calls the Third Age.
“The Third Age is about reinvention of oneself. It’s about continuing to grow, learn, meet new people, try new things, and even discover new purpose. Dr. Dychtwald is a proponent of a more generative Third Age, and the important roles, accountability, and contributions of today’s elders.” This is a strong theme in the mission of Bloomfield Township Senior Services: Enriching Lives, Supporting Independence and Building Community.
I was recently inspired by his May 10, 2022, presentation to the Focused Ultrasound Foundation which can be found on YouTube. Of his many intriguing topics, his discussion of life span versus health span, longevity bonus and revolution struck a chord. My favorite statement was “Longevity should not just be living longer but an awaking of possibilities in one’s later years.” Of course, I could not agree more. He also noted that “two thirds all of humans who have ever lived to 65 years of age are alive today.” The emphasis on ‘ever’ is mine. Though a senior advocate for nearly 35 years, I was stunned by this global fact.
Locally, Bloomfield Township has 10,475 people age 65-plus. This is the second highest number of older adults in Oakland County communities. Of communities with a population of 4,000-plus, we have the highest percentage of 65-plus households at 6,668 (41.3 percent) and residents 65-plus at 24.9 percent. We are the most “mature” of the medium and large-sized communities in the county.
We have an additional 1,532 households with people 60-64 years of age and eligibility for our programs starts at age 50, so 50 percent of our community is eligible. All of these statics were provided by SEMCOG, which predicts 37 percent growth of 65-plus households in Bloomfield Township by 2045.
Just consider the vastness of this collection of wisdom, experience, power and connections in Bloomfield Township!
Dychtwald’s study of lifespan recently showed that the U.S. has a 12-year gap between health span and life span – meaning the quality of life is considerably reduced in one's last years. This is not the case in many similar cultures or countries. There is much to be done to equalize lifespan with health span.
Dr. Dychtwald’s call to action was to share his presentation far and wide to increase awareness of the prospects and challenges that exist within this longevity revolution. So, I accept his challenge and invite you to spend an hour contemplating longevity and the many opportunities it offers individuals, communities, professions, industries and the future of humanity.
For your personal goals of wellness in 2023 we offer our support. Each month, over 200 programs are available to you for connection, movement, learning and assisting others. Please find the winter catalog https://bit.ly/Winter2023CatalogBTSS.
Christine Tvaraha is Director of Senior Services for Bloomfield Township