In previous decades, senior citizens retired and their life's work was done. The children had grown up and moved away, and seniors no longer had to worry about going to work every day. If money was an issue, they moved in with their children. If they were able, they went to a retirement community or stayed in their own home. They were expected to take up quiet hobbies that required little or no physical activity. Many times this path did not enhance their life expectancy. Combined with a diet high in fats and processed sugars, many seniors became disabled soon after retirement.
Today, many efforts have been made to change the outlook for those who are retired. A lifetime of good dietary habits have been encouraged and promoted through the past decades. Healthy eating has become part of the mainstream and a diet low in artery clogging saturated fats has been traded in for a diet rich in fiber and vitamins. Baby boomers demanded more fresh fruits and vegetables in local grocery stores. Their overwhelming numbers forced the market for food to change and healthier eating has become more economically feasible and widespread.
Remaining active has become a way of life for seniors. Sitting in a rocking chair, waiting for the end of life, has become passé in today's world. Seniors are encouraged to start new businesses, find an active new hobby or go back to school to enhance their lives. Business has accommodated this trend by offering many choices for those who wish to stay active. Senior centers now provide activities other than spending the day playing cards or knitting. Indoor pools and areas where dance lessons are provided now dominate their advertising so they can attract more customers.
Retirement does not mean the end of life, especially in the modern world. Enhancements in geriatric medicine and healthy lifestyle changes have allowed many seniors to enjoy living well into their eighties and nineties. Attitude changes and continuing to be active have changed the outlook for those who want to keep aging gracefully.