Don’t Make Me Use my Senior Citizen Voice! By Linda Knight Seccaspina
A few weeks ago I received a note from a top Canadian Bank advising me that once I turned 70 on July 24, that my ‘insurance’ on one of my investments, or was it a loan, would be cut off. My son explained it to me like this:”cash surrender value on the policy”. I still don’t get it.
Frankly, I never expected with my inherited health lineage to live this long, but here I am. But why did the bank pick the age of 70? People typically lose almost one-half inch in height every 10 years after the age of 40. Height loss is even more rapid after age 70. There is no doubt I am shorter, but was that one of the reasons? Three inches shorter at the bank counter and not making honest eye level with the teller anymore?
We know being a senior is not all unicorns and rainbows, but was I really going to drop dead the day after 70 and therefore be uninsurable? Maybe when I walked into the bank one day they saw my foot that has been swollen since the birth of son number one 36 years ago and realized I wear a normal shoe on one foot and a shoe box on the other. Maybe the crepey skin on my arms caught their attention. That word “crepey” is still a new one to me.
The day I turned 60 was an important milestone for me with the same bank and they sent me several letters of warm congratulations. In the lovely letters they thanked me for being a devoted client for many years. In recognition of turning 60 they were going to give me a monthly rebate of $4.00 on my monthly fees. That’s right! Instead of charging me $13.95 a month I would be paying $9.95 instead.
I sat there and wondered what I would be able to do with the extra $4.00 savings each month. Would $4.00 buy me a package of Depends down the road? As I continued to read the letter they also told me that my banking needs might change over time, yet they never mentioned the word “70”. The popular bank also reminded me that it was an important time in my life now and they wanted to help me reach my goals.
If I can get up in the morning and walk and talk at the same time I am on a roll for the day. So thank you dear bank for being so concerned. But now ten years later it seems to be another story. Honestly, if you think about it I am really 18 years old with 52 years experience— or 21 in celsius. Honestly, I feel like maybe I should put up a for sale sign that says : “For Sale- 70 year-old, needs parts, but only one owner”.
When I became a town councillor I got involved with senior advocacy groups as I have always felt seniors feel less important, and they shouldn’t. Even as a teenager when I volunteered at the Nesbitt Senior Residence in Cowansville I knew the seniors felt they were being ignored and that our society values young folks more. Did you know ageism is one of the most tolerated forms of discrimination in Canada?
I was telling my friend Toby that seniors are now treated like trying to insure any home built before 1920 and he agreed. He said, “seniors make some people nervous and twitchy” and he is right. As Dr. Seuss wrote: “You’re Only Old Once” and life does not end when wage earning capacity ends. My mind is still functioning and so is my fashion wardrobe. I am still young at heart, but slightly older in some places. I am never going to change and one day I want to be that little old lady that puts vodka in the IV bags at the retirement home.
Yes, we sometimes stumble, we suffer and we transcend, but we are positive, still have our sense of humour, and need some respect. If things do get better with age— then my fellow seniors, we are all approaching magnificence– and please don’t forget our discounts!