Florida is all a-buzz these days, preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the visit of the first European to the lush peninsula.
Legend has it Ponce de Leon, explorer and conquistador, came ashore in what is now Florida in 1513 - 500 years ago - in search of the fabled Fountain of Youth. Unfortunately, old Ponce didn't find the subject of his quest. But today, millions of seniors are seeking the same elusive treasure.
In recent years, mature folks from across the country have been drawn to Florida to rest, renew, recharge and, ultimately, retire. And, decade by decade, the mass migration is drawing growing numbers of the Baby Boomer generation.
The accepted definition of a Baby Boomer is someone born between Jan. 1, 1947 and Dec. 31, 1964. The Census Bureau, however, likes to count the years from July 1946. No matter which dates you prefer, there are millions of folks who fall into the category.
The earliest of the Baby Boomers have already passed the half-century mark. And, as they make the transitions from 30-something to over 50, the Boomers are increasingly worried about the changes they are undergoing in appearance, stamina, memory and intelligence - in short, all the things thought to result from the aging process.
It's no wonder the Baby Boomer focus on growing older is fueling an explosion in demands for miracle cures, potions, elixirs and all manner of remedies to hold Father Time at bay. And all branches of science and medicine are responding to those demands. From plastic surgeons to geriatricians, from nutritionists to pharmacists, all are hard at work on anti-aging solutions.
Unfortunately, countless con artists and "snake-oil" salesmen are also concentrating on this lucrative field. Claims range from the ridiculous to the down right weird.
One organization counsels its devotees that "people can raise their levels of anti-aging hormone by listening to specially designed music."
Other surefire methods for holding off the advance of time have included everything from "Dr. John Willard's Catalyst-Altered Water ... a Bio Enhancer" - $15 for an eight-ounce bottle - to "colloidal silver, designed to combat 650 different human disease organisms."
According to statistics, $2 billion per year is spent on anti-aging products. Authorities say the overwhelming outpouring of unproven remedies has become the nation's fastest growing health fraud. It's prime time for the old warning of "buyer beware."
The Baby Boomers who are currently rushing to respond to all this anti-aging hype will eventually learn what those of us who are already past 60 have discovered along our journey down the road of life. We've come to realize the most effective tools to counter the unstoppable march of time are enthusiasm, love and a positive attitude about the future.
These rock-solid remedies are better than any cream, potion or "colloidal silver" ever invented. And those who practice such proven anti-aging techniques will finally conclude that the Fountain of Youth old Ponce de Leon searched for 500 years ago is actually just a state of mind.