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Being No. 1, ageism and other musings for 2018
Senior moments
Rich DeLong is the executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

It’s 2018 and I figure it might be good to share some of my thoughts for the new year.

As time ticks away, my concerns seem to grow. Maybe I’m starting to show my age, but I’m sure I’m not the only person with musings, such as the following.

It appears that people in general have a real obsession with the index finger. Everyone wants to be No. 1. Rarely do you hear someone brag about being No. 2.

My oldest daughter, who is very competitive, always said coming in second is like coming in last. I’m sure I could have done a better job parenting her as a young athlete, but I do love her zealous approach to life.

By now Georgia football fans have been resuscitated to the point of being able to drive the car again and perform basic functions at school and work. I’m not a big fan of either team, but I love football – and that game didn’t disappoint.

I’ll promise you this – every player woke up the next day being the same person they were the day before. That’s why they call it a "game."

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all fade into the fabric of life. Celebrate your accomplishments because you can.

The University of Central Florida football team laid a claim to being the National Champions because they were undefeated with a record of 13-0, and even beat the team that had wins over both Alabama and Georgia. Maybe they are on to something.

I think one of the biggest challenges my generation is facing is ageism. Ageism is stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors.

In two years I’ll be age 60. I’ve already contemplated retiring but wouldn’t mind working a little longer if I could find the right opportunity. And therein lies the rub. Long-term unemployment, defined as being jobless for 27 weeks or longer, is markedly worse for workers over age 55 than for the general population.

In a 2015 survey by the Harris Poll, 65 percent of baby boomers rated themselves as being the "best problem-solvers/troubleshooters," but only 5 percent of millennials agreed. Sometimes these perceptions come straight from the top: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once said, "Young people are just smarter."

My last big concern for 2018 involves the misuse of prescription drugs. The current opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history.

Overdoses, fueled by opioids, are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old, killing roughly 64,000 people last year – more than guns or car accidents, and doing so at a pace faster than the HIV epidemic did at its peak.

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive. Of course now we are in a real pickle.

These are real issues for 2018. What are your concerns? Write me and let me know. I’ll address them in an upcoming article and maybe, just maybe, we can help others who have similar worries.

Happy 2018, my friends!

DeLong can be reached at 912-531-7867 or

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