Today, I had lunch with some old friends, old in the length of time I’ve known them but more particularly old because of their age.
Of the 13 of us at table, nine, yes nine, are over 80 years, with the oldest at 85, my mother’s age!
Because of the recent efforts by the Health Promotion Board to raise awareness among Singaporeans of the growing prevalance of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the ageing population, it was little wonder that I looked at my elderly friends a little reflectively.
None of them displayed symptoms of the dreaded age-related diseases. Indeed, a few of them still drive while another few had only recently given up driving.
They are coherent, lucid and logical. They have enjoyed life and continue to enjoy it.
What’s the common denominator, I said aloud, quite rudely, I guess, but as a “youngster” in this group, I’m allowed the occasional childish outburst.
“Christianity,” said one, to which the others murmured agreement.
Later, after I dropped a couple of them home, it occured to me that there’s another common denominator: all the nine 80+ year old ladies live in large detached bunglaows, with the majority of them in the Raffles Park-Swiss Club belt.
OK, rich people do get Alzheimer’s as do those who are religious.
But from my sampling, if you are rich, religious and most importantly female, you may just stand a better chance of growing old graciously!