If your plan is to grow old stay active

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Coincidence has led to several Minnesota Sounds and Voices stories of late that feature older folks and one of the lessons from all of them is stay active!

Today on All Things Considered, I’ll introduce you to Mel Dickie of Rochester. When he retired nearly 30 years ago he decided to turn a hobby into a business, selling custom fishing rods.

He also chose to teach his hobby to others, including high school kids. That experience prompted him to expand his interest in education and now Dickie is a a substitute teacher in the Rochester public schools.

At 92.

That’s Mel, above, in a very fine photo taken by Alex Kolyer recently, at the Rochester sporting goods store where he makes and sells his custom fishing rods.

The profile of Mel follows my Minnesota Sounds and Voices visit last week with 90-year-old Fergus Falls woodcut artist Charles Beck who is still making art, and then in the not too distant future I’ll introduce you to another nonagenarian who is still active – stay tuned.

We all understand the facts of life. Reaching 90 is to some degree based on the luck of the draw, winning the birth lottery, if you will.

However, we also understand that more of us will be attaining that decade, and again with good fortune, we’ll still have some of our marbles and mobility. At least that’s the picture that emerges from the Minnesota Demographer’s office which shows that aging Baby Boomers will swell the portion of Minnesota’s 85 and older residents by 240 percent between now and 2050.

Mel Dickie is one of them. His advice: “stay alive, and enjoy life.”

And, this just in. Minnesotan’s aren’t the only folks thinking and talking about getting older. Visit this piece from the BBC.

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