As a culture, we have adopted a sort of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy about sexuality, which, of course, stifles dialogues about sexual health for almost everyone at any age. To complicate matters, we also place a high social premium on youthfulness. So naturally, conversations about sex and aging represent the paragon of taboo in this country.
Just as our ability to read without glasses diminishes with age, our sense of balance also changes. The difference is that we treat the loss of balance as a disease and the cure we’re supposed to adopt is to turn homes and daily life into small hospitals.
Ashton Applewhite’s new book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism is a wake-up call, especially for those who have the urge to make a difference while here, alive, and with the heart for change.
About eight years ago, Ashton Applewhite began interviewing people over 80 for a project called “So when are you going to retire?” It didn’t take her long to realize that almost everything she thought she knew about aging was wrong. So she wrote a book to set the record straight.
The tension between generations is indeed worth studying, but mostly as a red herring and a symptom of how aging has been reframed as a problem.
According to a growing body of research, the average lifespan of those with high levels of negative beliefs about old age is 7.5 years shorter than those with more positive beliefs. In other words, ‘ageism’ may have a cumulative harmful effect on personal health.
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.
Age discrimination affects our country’s business, economy, values, and human dignity. It’s time we transform our perceptions of aging, from dependency and weakness to one of proficiency and resourcefulness.
Every few weeks there seems to be a new story about how attitudes towards aging affect the way older minds and bodies function. The latest is irresistibly titled: “Karma bites back: Hating on the elderly may put you at risk of Alzheimer’s.”
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.
Unless the developers of fitness facilities accommodate older adults, not as a boutique population but as a core market for their services, it won’t be many years before their state-of-the-art complexes won’t be very fit at all.
The important loss of mental agility can also give us valuable new abilities, if we know where to look for them.
As the debate on the fiscal cliff was winding down toward the deadline earlier this week, Representative Steve LaTourette (R–OH) is said to have told his Congressional colleagues:
“We should not take a package put together by a bunch of sleep-deprived octogenarians on New Year’s Eve.”
It could be my imagination, but lately there seems to be an increase in the amount of age denial going on – particularly, an uptick in requests to review books on how to stay young forever and also, more ads…
Secondary SidebarDr. Bill Thomas Presents: Dr. Thomas’ Age of Disruption Tour visits 30 cities in 2016 to introduce audiences to a new and highly disruptive understanding of aging. Visit DrBillThomas.org to learn more — Impostor grandkids are scamming grandma and grandpa for big bucks. [ABC News] — Shrinking Medicaid funds pummel states. [CNN] — An […]