There is a difference between aging and getting old. The first is something that you'll do , just as a matter of course, with each and every breath you take until you make your next phasal transition. Getting "old" is totally a mindset; it's avoidable and should be consciously avoided at all costs, like anthrax or a plague. We must learn to age with grace and respect. We must learn to respect the wisdom (where it exists) that comes with the experience of aging. At the risk of sounding too cliché we've all heard that we should strive to live each day as if it were our last. We need to, as a society, as the sentient human being that we are, eliminate this 'should word and replace it with the word MUST. If we approached each day and the moments in each day with this mindset, the aging factor would become a non-factor; a non-issue.
We must, absolutely stop striving (at least in our American society) to have 'retirement" as a goal. That goal, this false goal of rewarding ourselves after a 'job well done' "age" with kicking back and doing nothing is a procrastinators way of putting off an inevitable suicide...not an initial death of the physical but definitely a mental and then an emotional one. The physical death (generally speaking) , unfortunately, follows not long after.
I see it all too often during some of my volunteer activities with seniors. I am met sometimes with vapid stares where autonomic, physiologic activity continues to take place but not much else...behind those eyes...I know, can feel even sometimes a wanting, a yearning to do, be engaged in something, anything...but just existing. A scream every now and then would be better in some cases than the deafening and crushing silence I am met with from those who are with us, continuing to age in such a less than honorable and humane manner
So, I am assisting my mother (76) and have been for the past 13 years to fight the good fight to be as vibrant of a participant in her life as the 'dementia diagnosis' continues to fight it's fight as well. In providing reinforcement for my father's fight (86 - long distance),where 'the mind is willing the body is unable', helping fight his good fight is a little bit easier.

This is where I get the mantra of 'Don't Retire; ReTool and ReNew'. This is what I know. This is what I do.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Sybil Ingram-Campbell is a respected and experienced professional in the areas of healthcare information systems and regulatory compliance issues with significant knowledge on INFOSEC, bioterrorism/pandemic preparedness & readiness as well as the impact of HIPAA and Lifespan Respite Act regulations. With twenty-seven years of healthcare experience, she has been one of the nation's foremost speakers and active consultants for the HIPAA implementation challenges, addressing all major aspects of the Administrative Simplification Subtitle and affected entities/stakeholders. Dr. Ingram-Campbell has served as a clinician, clinical researcher and instructor, emergency preparedness and readiness specialist, I.S. and software product director as well as a I.V&V. evaluator and project manager for multiple national providers of healthcare services. She has held key positions for healthcare industry leaders such as HBOC/McKesson, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Labs, the Georgia Technology Authority and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). In addition, Dr. Ingram-Campbell is nationally board certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, a former associate with the American College of Healthcare Executives, founder of Enlghtened, Inc. Consulting Firm, a certified member of the Information Security & Audit Control Association and is a BioGenesis practioner. She is the active GA. representative for the National Family Caregivers Association and currently works with the humanitarian first company, Trivani International.
Dr. Ingram-Campbell and speaks nationally and internationally on topics concerning leadership, privacy and security of health information as well as family care giving issues.