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One of Brian Cronin’s physical therapy clients is in her 80s and is still skiing. Another is middle-aged, recovering from a water skiing injury. Another is a middle-school-age girl with Olympic gymnast dreams. Cronin is the co-owner of U-District Physical Therapy, which started eight years ago, focused on sports-related therapy for high school and college athletes. With an aging, yet increasingly active population, Cronin has seen his business and the physical therapy industry expand.
CHICAGO — Just like age-defying baby boomers, older folks have seen a surge in knee replacement surgeries, driven partly by a desire to stay active and by joint-damaging obesity.
At Providence Adult Day Health, elders spend the day in a safe, nurturing environment, providing a break for their regular caregivers. It is the only adult day health center in Spokane. Within 20 years, as the country’s 78 million baby boomers reach their 70s and 80s, will adult centers be as ubiquitous as child care facilities are now?
In the late 1990s, Inette Miller shed almost all her possessions – house, car, furniture, clothes, even a mink coat – and moved from Portland to Hawaii to live in cars, tents and borrowed homes with the love of her love, a Hawaiian man she met on vacation. The former Vietnam war correspondent for Time magazine – who donated journals and other documents to Gonzaga University when she made the life change – role-modeled for her then teenage sons how people can live without a lot of “stuff.” But even Miller has her moments of doubt.
Connie and Scott Brunell were living the early-retirement dream shared by many baby boomers once upon a time. They left telephone company jobs in the Seattle area to work for an oil company in Saudi Arabia. They stayed 12 years, making and saving good money. Connie retired in 1996 at 45. Scott retired a year later at 51.
Gunnar Wold strapped on his accordion in front of a room full of people at Spokane’s Parkway Village senior community Wednesday. He started playing, but then paused.
Sue Hallett of Colfax was born in 1950. She doesn’t like society’s labels for people like her who are approaching 65, labels such as senior citizen or elder. “I’m financially secure, help out with my mother and my grandchildren, volunteer in the community, swim four times a week and ski.”
About 7,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. If the fact fills you with anxiety, calm down. The coming “gray tsunami” might not be a disaster, as feared.