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Dona L. Irvin

Dona L. Irvin  
Welcome to my home page, "Celebrating the Years — Redefining Older Age!"

As a mid-octogenarian, I'm happy to make this web site available to you to visit on a regular basis. I hope that you will enjoy its stories, profiles, musings, articles, and pictures that concentrate on things that concern people more than eighty years old. My intention is to demonstrate the difference between the quality of life for older people now and what it was when I was much younger. I will also be pleased if people of all ages are able to acquire general awareness, hope, inspiration, and healing from its presentations.

"Celebrating the Years — Redefining Older Age," with its proof of the high quality of life for seniors, is a sequel to my book, "I Hope I Look That Good When I'm That Old," that declared that there is, indeed, a satisfying life after middle age.

I remember vividly that when I was very young, most men or women who lived beyond sixty or seventy years, were confined to a rocking chair, sitting on the front porch or in the living room, taking no part in the day to day responsibilities of the home. Their interests and involvements were limited, first of all by a decrease in physical and mental abilities, but to a greater degree, by the absence of activities to stimulate their attention. In the families that I was familiar with, the highlights of their week were dressing to go to a Sunday morning church service, or to a special program there during the week.

When I was a young girl and a young woman, my assessment of the age of individuals was not very realistic. This was shown by my idea that the high school mathematics teacher I adored was an old woman. I wondered how such an old lady had the energy to be such a good teacher. It startled me to learn, years afterwards, that she was, in reality, less than forty years old. As I grew older, my impressions of aging changed and I was able to take a more realistic look at the effects of age on the development of individuals.

Now I see seventy-year-old, eighty-year-old and beyond, men and women well dressed, walking with dignity, and showing that they have energy and interests, and have lives beyond the confines of their homes. They are engaged in some sort of physical and mental exercise and spend time with activities other than sitting in front of a television most of the day. It may be walking inside or outside of the home, going to a senior center for exercise or line dancing, or doing volunteer work in a community, church, or a social organization that keeps them occupied.

The genesis of the higher quality of life for seniors came in the form of the Older Americans Act, signed into law on July 14, 1965. This established the Administration on Aging, which offered services in transportation, health, home care, home delivered meals, adult day care, legal assistance, housing, senior centers, fitness/exercise, nursing, employment, house repair, nutrition, and support for Alzheimer's disease patients and their families. These were the forerunners of the present day facilities sponsored by city, county, state, and federal agencies. Community, church, and privately run organizations have similar programs. As a result, it is not difficult for seniors to find a convenient senior center or such facility to keep their bodies in good condition, and there are numerous other things to nourish their brains.

I invite you to visit this site often, and I hope that you will want to share information about your own personal life.

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Obituary for Dona L. Irvin (1917-2009)
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