Friday, May 22, 2015
"Envejecer no es nada; lo terrible es seguir sintiéndose joven."
DO THE ELDERLY HAVE SPECIAL POWERS?
Many elders are respected because of highly specialized skills and knowledge. For example, Hawaiian grandmothers are revered for their unique knowledge and skill at creating ornate leis and feather accessories.
Similarly, since an elderly woman in New Guinea was the only person alive who witnessed a devastating typhoon, her people looked to her for guidance on which plants are safe to eat if another disaster were to strike. Even Western societies revere the experience associated with age — the average age for a US President is 54; the average age for a Supreme Court justice is 53.
But certain societies take this a step further and attribute magical powers to the elderly. The Huaorani people of Ecuador believe that elderly shamans, called mengatoi, are endowed with magical powers, according to this Thinkquest article. This society believes that shamans can transform into jaguars. These elderly healers sit with the infirm to channel their animal spirits a cure for disease.
Anticipating low birth rates and longer life expectancy, Germany overhauled its pension scheme more than 10 years ago. The new plan includes more private contributions from residents. According to the Index, pensions have been reduced since then, and the need for more resources for the older population will only increase.
Older Germans are among the healthiest in the world. They also are among the least likely to be poor. In Germany, just 10.5% of people at least 60 were living in poverty, compared to 14.6% in the U.S.