Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A New Wrinkle in Society

A couple of days ago, I was trying to read the instructions on the back of my voter registration card on how to get a new one with my address change. The print was in six-point. (Newsprint, FYI, is 9-point.)So I pulled out my handy-dandy magnifying glass and proceeded as instructed. I predict that the sale of magnifying glasses will increase steadily over the next few years as the baby bomers age. Because of the price of paper and cardboard, I am less sure that the print will enlarge.

A friend of mine-quadraplegic-was instrmental in the national movement many years ago for wheelchair accessible walks and corbs. The ramped access is also a blessing for persons who have trouble walking up steps or over curbs. That too is going to increase in the population.

Contrast colors on the edges of steps is another change I hope will happen more. As we age, the eyes of many of us fail to discriminate a difference in ground levels in dim light. We see just fine, and we can see the steps in broad daylight. We just can't tell where the next step begins in dim light without some line of demarcation. The ledge stripe makes all the difference. And, of course, hand rails. Many houses built in the past decade or more are perched on a pile of dirt requiring many steps to the front door. I have been known to stagger like a drunken sailor in my climb to the front door. Often, these homes have alley access to the FLAT garage and my
subsequent visits are through the garage.

Hearing is a complicated neurological mechanism (reference, a best seller some years ago entitled "The Man Who Thought His Wife Was A Hat". Again, my hearing seems to be as keen as ever BUT the tuning mechanism, which allows me to focus on a single sound or voice in the midst of much noise, is not as keen.

Walking for any distance, and especially standing for long times, has become really painful. If I have to go to one of the better stores, I get what I came for and leave. And I really have to want it. Contrast this with pain-free shopping at Target or Walmart on an elecctric cart, which often leads to additional purchases. I heard last week the Penney's in my town is preparing to add electric carts, and I'm thrilled. Now if only Foley's and Dillards will follow suit. I don't know what percentage of the population uses this amenity, but with nn aging population, the number will only grow. I don't need my own personal scooter most of the time, which is why I don't have one. But it is great to have the option when it is handy. I know the state fair in my state has rented eclectric carts to fair-goers for years.

I know many other changes and need for them are coming. I have the advantage of being left-handed, which means all my life I have had to figure out how to function in a righthanded world. So I'm sure I am missing some glaring inconveniences for the less athletically inclined of us aging folk, but I apparently have adapted. As we have more older members of the population, though, more conveniences will come along. For instance I already know dozens of persons with knee replacements, and the artifical knees are getting better and better. So we'll see what comes. After all, there's money to be made in this. Sounds good to me.


Randolph said...

For years I got used to every visit to the Eye Doctor resulting in a stronger prescription.

About two years ago I printed out a few short stories in 5 point Arial font, just to save paper. I have switched to 4 point Verdana for the past few months.

Crazy? Maybe like a fox! The last prescription was 0.5 diopters weaker in the left eye, so that eye is getting stronger.

Mike said...

Randolph your diet plays a big part with eye sight.