March 7, 2012

CHINA: Elders' Problems – China and U.S.

LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon / The Elder Storytelling Place/ TimeGoesBy / March 7, 2011
By Johna Ferguson

As we age, we encounter different problems. Some of us lose weight while others gain for no apparent reason. Our eating habits haven’t changed that much, we think, so it must be something else like worry or stress maybe.

Then there is hair loss which has been covered by Ronni in one of her articles. It’s maddening, but nothing to do about it; either shave one’s head, wear a wig or just live with it. I think that’s what most of us have decided to do, like it or not.

Then there is the constant worry about increasing wrinkles. Some of us try face cream as a way to soften our looks but it’s never long-lasting.

Of course, there is always the alternative, a face lift or two or three like many women in the limelight have. But you know, pretty soon they can’t even smile and their faces have lost all their character.
Then there is the treatment that just fills in lips or whatever, but it isn’t long lasting either. I guess wrinkles are just another thing about aging that we must accept but perhaps unwillingly.

Another annoying thing is age spots. I almost want to hide my hands in gloves rather than have all those big brown spots show. When they were small I could pretend they were freckles, but now that is no longer possible. I have read they have whitening cream but I decided if that’s what’s supposed to happen as I age, I might just as well bite the bullet and accept them.

But how about all those protruding veins on the back of my hands? One look at them and one certainly knows I’m old as there is no way to camouflage them. Some have even popped out on my legs along with the brown spots.

And now with weight loss, I even have wrinkles on my legs if you can imagine. Oh, what bad shape I’m in. The only problem being I don’t feel like I’ve aged any for at least 20 years. Dream on, is what I say daily.
But now the last problem, incontinence. It’s one of those subjects no one wants to talk about but it may happen to many of us. Thankfully, I’m still okay but down the line who knows.

But I did bring an article from The China Daily, the English language paper in Beijing. The title of the article is, “How to Make an Adult Diaper Fashionable and Comfortable.”

The picture with the article is of four older Chinese woman models wearing cheongsams, those tight fitting long dresses with short sleeves and mandarin collars and slits up almost to one’s panty level. They were modeling in the Depend Cup, sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and 300 models paraded, from age 55 to 87 years old.

China Daily

There are 178 million people rapidly approaching old age in China, about 13 percent of the population and they are becoming increasingly more susceptible to conditions that cause incontinence: diabetes, prostate problems, Alzheimer’s and other chronic conditions.

Because of this, 481 million adult diapers were sold in China in 2010. The average price for an adult paper diaper produced by local companies is about 55 cents U.S. (4 yuan) when purchased in Chinese supermarkets. (An American factory worker earns on the average U.S.$23 an hour while the Chinese worker earns U.S.$8-$10 an hour and works 20 hours more a week.)

But in addition to the cost, comfort, convenience and practical use are also important factors. Elderly incontinent people want to maintain their normal lives when using these products.

Thus, this fashion show with many of the models wearing paper diapers, was a way for China to not only boost sales of its own products but also a way for the average Chinese woman to learn more about these products.

We’ll all grow old, like people all over the world, but somehow we will survive and with dignity.

© 2012 Ronni Bennett.
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