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Aging ain’t what it used to be

It was interesting, and enlightening, speaking with noted geriatrician and rethinking aging advocate Dr. Bill Thomas for this month’s feature story, and his observations confirmed what I’ve seen for years.

Aging today isn’t what it used to be.

  Let me explain. I’ve spent a good portion of my journalistic career working on the fringes of the aging field – I’ve edited this publication now for more years than I’d like to admit – and can honestly say I’ve kind-of had a front-row seat to the shift in thinking about the years beyond what Thomas calls “adulthood.”

When I first started editing this monthly in the mid- 1990s, we were called Senor PrimeTimes, and my mandate was to gear everything to the senior center-type audience. No one younger than 65 could appear on the cover, the older, the better. Our calendar brimmed with activities from the local senior centers, and my health pages were filled with question and answer columns about Medicare and Medicaid.

In late 2000  – shortly after I came back from a eight week family leave for the adoption of our son – things started to change. We gave the cover a fresh look, dropped the emphasis on senior center events and started adding columns on computers, relationships, and travel. Oh, and our feature stories started focusing more on people who were either doing something very interesting in their lives, or a topic that the emerging Boomer market might be interested in, like reinventing the idea of retirement.

Somewhere in the 2000s, the word “Times” came off the cover. Other changes started creeping in. Health began to feature a local expert on alternative medicine. The computer column morphed to all things tech – from phones to the connected home concept to personal alert devices. I started writing about people who changed careers mid-life for a path that was more satisfying.

Those of you who’ve been readers for some time know we’ve gone through more changes in the past few years – adapting our format to look more like a magazine and broadening the focus to reflect a lifestyle more than an age. I’ve even had readers call us a bible for planning their next stage.

I like that idea, and the change has been fun for me. Where else can I interview aging rockers, explorer photographers, elder educators, yogis and career changes – and have it all work? I hope you’ve enjoyed the metamorphosis as much as I have. As I said, aging isn’t quite what it used to be.

Thanks for reading,

Debbie Gardner