할아버지 (My Grandfather)

While recovering from TBI (see "Brain Injury, Healing, Health" post), I spent a lot of time with my grandfather. In his 80s, with limited mobility, poor vision, and cardiovascular decline, he tries to keep his mind sharp by playing cards, computer and board games, and socializing. I realized that, at the time, we were very alike. We both had limited vision, limited mobility, and we were working hard on our brain health. We were both lonely, and we enjoyed hours of chatting and keeping each other company. I came to realize that, while I would continue to improve and go back to an active, normal life, he would remain and continue to succumb to advancing old age. I came to understand and share his deep concerns about brain health from cognitive decline which impacts a vast number of aging senior citizens. Every one of us is aging and will become elderly one day. I am grateful for the time that I am able spend with my grandfather, and proud of the wisdom that I learn from him. I am deeply motivated to actively contribute to brain and cell research, to health and healing of the brain, its cells and signaling, so that one day, perhaps by the time I am my grandfather’s age, cognitive injury and decline will no longer be a debilitating shadow for anyone.

As an only child and one of his only two grandchildren, I also think about how I am going to help take care of him, my other grandparents, and my parents when they get old. The number of older people is projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history, and this will happen before I turn 30. As the population ages, the ratio of older adults to working-age adults will rise correspondingly. There will be fewer young people to take care of ever increasing numbers of the elderly. growth of the world’s older population also presents challenges. "Population aging now affects economic growth, formal and informal social support systems, and the ability of states and communities to provide resources for older citizens. Nations must quickly recognize the scope of the new demographic reality and adjust current policies accordingly. Experience has shown that such adjustments may be painful—changes in retirement ages and medical benefits, for example, are not widely popular. But experience also shows that it is easier to address problems sooner rather than later, when the cost of waiting may become insurmountable. We can think about preparing for older age on both an individual and societal level. On an individual level, people need to focus on preventive health and financial preparedness." (

Articles Photo: Jozef Polc

+ Older People Projected to Outnumber Children for First Time in U.S. History

+ Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective

+ Two solutions to the challenges of population aging