Like questions about any other topic, the ones we ask about aging and the ways in which we choose to answer them reveal what we believe and care about.
When I was a toddler, I used to sit for hours on the floor under my maternal grandmother’s frame of stretched cloth and look up to watch her sew beads and spangles onto fabrics that became wedding gowns, banners, flags, altar cloths, and other decorative pieces.
Our relationship with aging can remain as a loving friendship throughout our lives when we understand that it’s a cumulative experience that provides us with an ever-changing variety of psychological and spiritual gifts –– if we are open to anticipating and accepting them.
If we fail to appreciate the ways in which every generation is different, we deny ourselves some valuable resources for expanding our understanding of what it means to be a human being –– of any age.
The deterioration-decline meme that defines aging in our culture originates in a narrow perception of the lifespan that is blind to the priceless assets we accrue as we add years to our lives.
Abolishing ageism is a revolutionary cause whose time has come. This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite is its inspiring manifesto.
Anyone who fights ageism by working hard to understand its internal or external character is, first and foremost, the practitioner of a noble craft. Like acting, it takes experience and perseverance to hone one’s skills.
In the course of a typical day, I and many other older adults who are retired or live in generationally segregated communities or work and socialize only with others our age have very few personal interactions with younger people. And I’m convinced that we are the lesser for it.
The longer we wait to confront and abolish ageism, the harder it will be to recover from its consequences. This is the year to launch a full-scale reorganizational effort.
All of us have a stake in handling this PR problem, but none more so than the professionals who work in aging services –– businesses, educational institutions, government departments, and nonprofit organizations whose mission is to serve the needs and aspirations of older adults.
This thought experiment should make it clear that we should actively engage older adults in all aspects of society.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about age stereotypes and their relationship to our willingness –– or reluctance –– to be ourselves.
Based on the organic structure of a tree, this activity is a fun and revealing way to explore the influences and inspirations in one’s life and how they are transformed into meaningful passions and productive actions.
How we perceive aging and the viability of older adults determines our willingness –– or reluctance –– to tackle social inequity, lack of access to services and opportunities, and other common challenges our elders face.
When science and spirituality are joined in the service of healing an elder’s body and honoring an elder’s soul, there is no more potent protocol humanity can devise.
It’s time we turn the tide on the silver tsunami myth and find a different metaphor, one that accurately reflects the huge assets older adults bring to all aspects of life.
Here are three analog habits that are simple and low-tech and reflect values that worked well in the past and can still apply today.
It seems that as a society we keep throwing out the traditional baby with the bathwater every time a new cultural development occurs, just because it’s new. Here are a few examples of analog values we should retain that relate directly to aging.
Any elder, regardless of income, physical and/or cognitive ability, level of education, or geographic location can make a productive difference in the way all of us function as a culture.
I would like to see all of us embrace a militant approach toward abolishing ageism and its three insidious forms: discrimination, neglect, and abuse.