Are Biden & Trump Too Old to be President: A Gerontologist’s Perspective

May 22, 2024
Are Biden & Trump Too Old to be President: A Gerontologist’s Perspective

Age ain’t nothing but a number. This is true in every sense of the age-old adage. The fact that President Biden is 81 and Former President Trump is 77, alone, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be President. Or should it?

As a gerontologist, I learned very early on that it’s mindset over age-set. While medical concerns do increase with age, such as cognitive impairment, that doesn’t determine someone’s ability to do things well. For example, we’ve all forgotten someone’s name, sometimes even people who are close to us, but that does not signify a medical concern. There are very reasonable explanations for normal age memory impairment; and age is not one of them.

A few reasonable considerations when assessing a person’s cognitive ability: (1) are they stressed, (2) are they taking medications that have side effects that affect cognition, (3) are their  medications causing interactions, (4) do they have an acute illness such as a urinary tract infection or low blood sugar, (5) are they getting an adequate amount of sleep, (6) are they dealing with depression, (7) are they eating a well-balanced diet with proper nutrition, and (8) are they hydrating. If any of these areas are not addressed properly, cognitive concerns could materialize.

So, in order to ensure we are not committing ageist acts, we should focus more on whether or not President Biden and Former President Trump can perform the duties that are required by the presidency and focus less on how old they are? Do you feel they can do the job? If you don’t, then what evidence do you have to support this? And remember, age ain’t nothing but a number.

Dr. Macie P. Smith is a licensed social worker and gerontologist who specializes in dementia-competent practices. She has more than 24 years of experience assessing and coordinating care for seniors.