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Are you ready for old age and its challenges
Senior Moments
Rich DeLong is executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

How old is old? This past Saturday Emma Morano passed away at the tender age of 117.

That’s pretty old. In fact, Emma was listed as the world’s oldest person on record. She is thought to be the last person on earth born in the 1800s. Wow!

Emma obviously experienced more than most people do throughout her lifetime.

Violet Brown, who lives in Jamaica, was born on March 10, 1900, and is now considered to be the oldest known person in the world; according to a list kept by the Gerontology Research Group. The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, recently tweeted his congratulations to her. How would you like to be on the receiving end of that tweet?

Sadly, but at the same time, fortunately, we do not get to choose how long we will live. My daily work involves me with people who are well into their 90s and above. Many of them will say they never thought they would live this long.

How long do you expect to live? Chances are no matter what age you guessed, you would be wrong.

People are living longer than ever before. The average lifespan of a person born today has risen to 79 years. Compare this to the expected lifespan of a person born in 1900; when it was only 47 years. I guess Ms. Morano was not paying much attention to these numbers. Good for her.

The ultimate question is this: Are you ready for old age? Most people are not; and most people would rather not think about it. But old age is inevitable if you live long enough.

Old age comes with a bunch of interesting stuff. Things don’t work like they once did. If you can embrace that fact alone you will be happier in your latter years. But happiness is just one piece of the puzzle.

What happens if you get to a point in life where you can no longer make choices for yourself that are in your own best interest? Have you given thought to who you would want to be making important decisions for you regarding the care you need and/or desire? These questions and more are an important part of planning for old age.

This week is National Healthcare Decisions Week. It is a reminder that you can plan for your old age today so when tomorrow comes you will be prepared with answers to some of the most important end-of-life questions. One way to do this is through the Five Wishes Program. This booklet guides the reader through five questions that lets you say exactly how you wish to be treated if you get seriously ill.

Five Wishes was designed with the help of The American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging. It’s easy to use and legal in 42 states including Georgia. Five Wishes guides you through designating a health care agent that will make decisions for you when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. The booklet also asks you to indicate the kind of medical treatment you want (or don’t want) depending on specific health situations.

You can designate how comfortable you want to be, and how you want people to treat you and interact with you in your time of need. Lastly, you can express what you want your loved ones to know before you leave this world. It’s no wonder many refer to Five Wishes as the first living will with a heart and soul. You can contact me for more information about Five Wishes, or go to

Age with dignity my friends.

 Contact him at 912-531-7867 or email him at:

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