Paul W. Barada
Have you been paying any attention to any of the ads that dot the television landscape lately? It could just be me, but it seems like there are more and more products and services that are aimed toward the “Baby Boom” generation than ever before. You name the product and if it has anything to do with older Americans, it’s on there. Just this past weekend, there were three or four ads, all produced by law firms designed to reach anyone who worked around asbestos and, as a result, now has lung problems. Still more ads are urging people to call if they took this medication or that pill and suffered some negative side effects as a result. The appeal, obviously, is that there might be some sort of cash settlement as the result of a class action lawsuit against the manufacturing of a “bad drug.”
Another whole class of ads has to do with peddling medications that are for people who suffering from a whole range of aches and pains that, more often than not, are the result of nothing more than getting older. If one suffers from back pain, for instance, there are plenty of ads for ointments, salves, nostrums, balms, patches, and pills that claim to ease back pain. While that’s all well and good, the down side of rubbing on, swallowing, or applying any of these treatments are the possible side effects that have to be mentioned. While I suppose the percentage of people who experience any of these side effects is small, my bet would be that whatever the chances a of experiencing as negative side effect, it has to be mentioned. There’s a pill for people who have trouble, for example, sleeping. Some of the side effects include loss of memory, nausea, headaches, loss of vision, possible thoughts of suicide, violent behavior and even death. I think I’d rather stay awake than take a sleep medication that just might be fatal.
There are also ads for glorified nursing homes in some warm climate. The ads show people playing tennis, golf, dancing, frolicking in the water, and having romantic dinners. If this place is like any nursing home I’ve ever seen, there are usually progressive levels of care from totally independent living on the low end, to full-time care for those who are, for all intents and purposes, incapable of caring for themselves at all at the other end.
Whole other classes of products are promoted for people with mobility problems. I’ve seen ads for the device that helps the elderly get up and down stairs. You sit on a little seat and the thing gently hoists you safely up stairs. There are ads for canes, walk-in bath tubs, sensible shoes, walkers, and motorized little vehicles for people who have trouble walking. There must be a brisk business in these little vehicles, because one sees them in nearly every large retail store all the time. The ads show granny tooling around the house or down the sidewalk just having a wonderful time, while her muscles atrophy from lack of any exercise at all. And in real life, most of the people one sees using these gadgets are so grossly overweight that their legs no longer will support all that bulk.
Another category of ads are the ones that promote face lifts for older people so they’ll look younger. Of course they don’t call them face lifts, but that’s what they are. It’s cosmetic surgery to tighten loose tissue around the face and neck. For something less drastic, there are ads for every cosmetic imaginable to make one look younger. Of course they don’t make anybody younger, they just clams to make one “look” younger.
What’s brought all this about is the aging of the largest segment of our population, the Baby Boomers, the people born between 1945 and 1964. Nearly all of the people born during those years are, or are about to become, senior citizens and anybody who makes any product designed for older people is going all out to reach that market segment. Some of the products I’ve mentioned have real value for people who have a genuine need for them, but there are others who are putting out junk that is totally worthless. You’ve seen all the ads for the natural supplements that claim to “make you feel young again.” Well, buy them if you want to, but there’s really nothing on the market that is going to reverse the natural aging process.
Of course, nobody wants to get old, but there’s really not much any of us can do about it. The best advice anyone can offer is to exercise regularly, eat right, and stay mentally engaged in life.
Another key, at least in my opinion, is to live in the moment as much as you can. Fretting about the past does no good. The past is gone. Worrying about the future doesn’t help, either. None of us can do anything about things that haven’t happened yet. All we really have control over is now, this minute. “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet,” as they say. All any of us have is this moment and being conscious of this moment is a much better way to live and to enjoy the “now.” Having an optimistic attitude, as I’ve written before, is also a useful thing to do. Expecting a positive outcome is a much happier way to live one’s life, instead of expecting things to turn out badly.
While there are useful products being aggressively promoted to those of us in the Baby Boom generation, be careful of anything that simply sounds too good to be true.
That’s -30- for this week.