In a Ziggy cartoon, he laments: “I wonder if the reason the news is on in every airport … is so when you’re ready to board, you’re afraid of everything but flying!”

Life is full of anguish, danger, pain, threats and unpleasantness. Some people are “fearful,” while others appear to be “fearless.” 

Scientists label fears with an endless list of phobias. People who live long lives deal with the emotions of unpleasant situations by coping in a positive manner. They take charge with trust in God, prayer, alternative solutions and the wise use of resources.

In the current environment, seniors have listed their fears in categories, including government programs and finances.

Among those are coronavirus vaccine distribution, national debt, value of insured savings and bonds, Social Security, health programs, safety of investments, market fluctuations, real estate values and concern about their money running out before they do.

Next on the list of fears are spiritual matters, medical issues, safety, and constant changes with innovations, technology, institutions and the environment. Musings on an afterlife mingle with fears of cancer, heart problems, dementia, wellness and insurance. Seniors often are targets of crime, frauds, scams, break-ins and identity theft. A few seniors are fearful of global warming, climate change and natural conditions beyond their control.

Family relationships bring fears of not wanting to burden adult children to those children continuing to be a burden with lost jobs, marital problems and the constant need for financial support.

Housing is a concern as seniors cope with rising rental rates. Others attempt to leave the large family home for a smaller one. Challenges in downsizing, concerns about property taxes and increasing insurance premiums add to their fears.

Unfulfilled dreams — travel to exotic places, cruises and time to enjoy the twilight years — are among the fears that create tension and anguish. “Why didn’t we do this years ago?”

Go forward! Give thanks!

Seniors have had a life of experiences. Many know what works, why things went wrong, and where to find assistance. They have a wider view and perspective. They deal with their fears in a personal way or seek help from family, church, community and government sources.  

For a life with less fear, stop to think. Pause. Use decision-making tools. Review alternative solutions. Know the unintended consequences. Simplify and act wisely for a long life.  SL

Ed Baranowski is an award-winning writer, artist, speaker and seminar leader. He lives in Melbourne and can be contacted at