Hello. I’m Brian Ades and welcome to prime Time. This is a City Watch series about getting older. What’s your plan? Do you have one? You’re going to meet experts from every field, who will address the issues that active and elder boomers and their love ones face every day. I believe that to make good decision, you need good information, and that is what this show will attempt to provide. Now, let’s meet a celebrity turned advocate who is a symbol of the boomer generation. You may remember him as Jeff from the Donna Reed Show of the 50’s and 60’s. Today, Paul Petersen has become an expert on the topic of aging. For the last 10 years, he has hosted Aging in LA, and we welcome him here on Prime Time.
Ades: Tell me a little bit about who Paul Petersen is.
Petersen: Well, I literally grew up in front of American. I had started a kid actor career with the Mouseketeers back in 1955, and then projects got bigger and bigger and pretty soon I was on the Donna Reed Show where I was for eight years between age 12 and 20. So a lot of people in this country grew up with me. You have to find something useful to do with your life after a show like that goes off the air. It took me a while to catch my balance and prepare myself with what came next, which was a writing career – 16 books all together. And then, I started a foundation called Minor Consideration to help take care of former kid stars who were either down on their luck or facing real troubling issues, and that was 22 years ago and it has evolved into kind of a clearing house for young celebrities who are now senior celebrities.
Ades: Today you are very active in working with and helping guide seniors through, what age group do you think seniors are?
Petersen: Well I, hahaha, speaking for myself at age 66 I fit the classical definition, but the truth is, you know, the federal government, for workers, says anyone over the age of 40 is a senior worker. Um, I think 50 is kind of the break point, you know, It’s when you really do begin to notice those impairments and limitations of age and your circle of friends – suddenly hearing about people taking care of their aging parents. Life becomes a little more challenging because we have what we call a sandwich generation where a young couple in their 40s not only have aging parent s but kids in college. And you know, these statistics – this is a brutally expensive time of life, especially if there are medical issues. And I backed into this, Brian, I was helping with my wife who is a registered nurse taking care of five elderly ladies in our family, all close to age 90. And when I started my show, Aging Well in La, I went from, just I’m going to be a host and learn about these issues to a person in need. All of a sudden it’s broken hips and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and care facilities scattered all over the five counties. I was so grateful that the department of aging was there for me because I had someone to ask! It’s very painful when you’re dealing with seniors to always feel like you’re behind the curve. You know, why didn’t I make these plans three months ago? Why didn’t I look for alternative housing? Why wasn’t I looking for non-medical in home care?
Ades: As Americans, especially in California, we are ahead of the nation in a lot of ways, as it seems – and correct me if I’m wrong – in a consciousness for living longer healthier lifestyles, that the demographic of senior it’s in one way, growing up you have pre adolescence you have teenagers, young adult, it almost seems like you have demographic separations for the over 40 over 65, do you see…?
Petersen: Without question! Oh I see it face to face, especially with my work with the theatrical unions. Hollywood doesn’t portray age very well. A lot of performers kind of keep that wolf away from the door – don’t talk about age, don’t talk about medical ailments, it will hurt my career. You would be amazed at the number of people who come up to me in the boardroom of SAG or AFTRA and start to whisper “I’m taking care of mom”… Well of course you are! There’s millions of us doing that. Just looking at the numbers ought to give all of us pause. The boomers are coming into their senior years now, and there’s 80 million of them now! That means somebody is turning 60 every seven seconds, and most of those people – the pensions that were promised are problematic these days, they may have overextended themselves trying to help their children, or they may have care issues with their parents! People are living into their 80s and 90s and their not all active.
Ades: To learn more about Paul and his projects, please visit paulpetersen.com. Remember, the property you own, or the property you would like to buy should be carefully considered as part of an overall plan for you future. I’m Brian Ades from Sotheby’s International Realty, and I’m here to help.