The growing signs that President Donald Trump might be in the early stages of dementia, and possibly Alzheimers Disease, based on his speech pattern and delusional behavior, brings to the forefront the issue of Presidential age and health.
We live in a time of more and more Americans working into their 70s and 80s,although most only work part time, in jobs that are not highly challenging or stressful.
There is no desire to discriminate against people based on age, but when it comes to the Presidency, the most challenging and stressful job in the world, it would seem wise to learn from the experiences of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, as well as the illnesses experienced by Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Presidency.
Reagan clearly suffered from early dementia and Alzheimers, particularly in the second term, when his wife and his staff often were there to help him in what he said publicly. His public speeches suffered, as already Donald Trump’s public utterances are demonstrating.
Eisenhower had three serious illnesses in 1955, 1956, and 1957, with a massive heart attack in 1955. When Ike retired at age 70 and three months in January 1961,the oldest when leaving office until Reagan and now Trump, he said no one older than himself should be President, and that now makes a lot of sense.
And then we have Zachary Taylor who died in office, elected at age 64 and dying 16 months later; and William Henry Harrison, elected at age 68, and dying after one month in office.
Also, James Buchanan, elected at age 65 but nearly 66, and being unable to handle the job of President effectively, and he goes down in history as the worst President ever, in most scholarly polls of Presidential experts.
Only George Herbert Walker Bush, elected at 64, and defeated at age 68, might have been acceptable had he won a second term over Bill Clinton in 1992. And even he would have been past Ike’s age only for the last two years of a theoretical second term.
John F. Kennedy was the youngest elected President at age 43 and seven months, with only Theodore Roosevelt being younger, succeeding William McKinley after his assassination, and being 42 years and almost 11 months.
The average age of Presidents is 55, and it would seem to make sense that we elect Presidents only from age 43 to age 62, when they first take the oath of office, so that the range of age when leaving office is 51 to 70.
Altogether, we have had 9 Presidents in their 40s when inaugurated, and 11 Presidents in their 60s or more when elected President.
So basically, the age of JFK when elected, to the age of Ike, when he retired, makes the most sense for the long term future.