By Kent Mulkey

I was mortified when I recently learned that being over the age of 50 placed me in the category of “older adult.” Oh really? Think again. Just before turning 51 I participated in a bicycle race across America with 7 other riders, completing the race in just under 7 days. Yep, 3,000 miles.

But now another decade has passed. Life is just a little bit slower. And the biggest thing I see is that life is simply not designed for older adults. Tiny screens don’t work so well unless I wear +3.0 power readers. You know, like what we used to call coke bottle glasses. Mention that to a millennial – they will have no idea what you mean. Score one for us older people!

As much I am thrilled when Amazon drops a package off at my house, it sometimes seems to take an act of God to open the box and the package inside. I blame it on the dull scissors.

Then there are broken elevators, inaudible announcements at airports, people in public yelling at and honking at older adults in the crosswalk. And yes, I always smile a little when I see an older person flip the bird to the one honking. I want to be like that.

Think of all the beige pillboxes, racks of canes, shelves of bowel relief products, all available quite readily near the counter at your local pharmacy where over $500 billion in medications are sold each year.

We have gotten it quite wrong. Birth rates are dropping. America is aging, and people are living longer. It is high time for us in the senior living arena to more fully embrace older adults as a natural progression of life and not an inconvenience.

Many of you out there working in senior communities, hospice agencies, home health, hospitals, skilled nursing, memory care, et al. are heroes. I know of no harder work. It is too bad there is not a way to publicly honor all of you.

Your work is miraculous. Honor yourself by the way you honor older adults.