Danville Express

Perspective - May 11, 2007

There are seniors - and there are seniors

A very good point was brought up at the recent meeting to discuss results from the Danville senior survey: There's a big difference between people who are 55 and those who are 85. What people are looking for in terms of recreation, a senior center and classes may differ vastly depending on their age due to their amount of free time, interests, mobility or health issues.

Why are people clumped into the category of "seniors" as early as age 50? With so many folks now living to the age of 100, this could mean spending half their lives as seniors. The American Association for Retired Persons, or AARP, sends people an invitation to join just before their 50th birthdays, but how many actually retire at 50? Many that age are at the height of their careers and enjoying every minute. Of course AARP wants as many members as possible to lobby on senior issues. And, at 50 one can begin to foresee that old age is a possibility.

The Danville senior survey, conducted by BW Research Partnership, included about 500 people interviewed on the telephone, beginning at age 55. It would be interesting to see results from a survey of older seniors. The survey came about after seniors complained that the Town of Danville did not do enough for its seniors and it apparently was not 55-year-olds making the complaints.

The Town of Danville is beginning its study sessions to determine next year's budget, and Town Manager Joe Calabrigo says one of the top priorities is to fund and develop the senior program. You can bet that seniors will be watching the situation closely - and these are older seniors who are retired and would like a place to eat lunch and socialize. Senior discounts usually begin at age 62 or 65. Maybe that should be the age to begin calling people seniors.

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