We must consider the concept of direction as we decide the next steps to take in order to disrupt aging. How should we move forward, given a new political climate?
Calls for a de-youthanized science are not lofty, liberal political appeals; they are attempts to actually purify gerontological science and practice. A de-youthanized science means a more valid, generalizable science—a science, for example, that adequately samples older adults in the service of providing sufficiently evidence-based recommendations for diagnosis and treatment
Agism cuts both ways, discriminating against both the so-called ‘young’ and ‘old,’ and turns these two seemingly innocuous words into pejoratives. When ‘young’ and ‘old’ are used colloquially rather than as they were intended (as comparative markers of time) they become profane.
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.
On any given weekday at 210 North Champion Street in Columbus, Ohio, elders and preschoolers can be seen mixing bubble solutions and puffing at them together in the activity room, caring for plants outside in the mobile gardening units, reading books aloud to one another in the classroom, or rehearsing a play in the auditorium.
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.
Erica Girgenti’s appointment as director of a senior center in Western Massachusetts was met with some skepticism because of her age. Yes, her age. Not because she is older, but because she is younger—a millennial, in fact.
The days when elders were seen as wise and important contributors to their communities vanished long ago. Thanks to advertising and social media, eighty-year-olds and up are associated with diapers, dementia, and a mountain of hospital-looking equipment that reduces them to their “Activities of Daily Living (ADL)” needs.
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.
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.
The goal of aging-simulation experiences — “to build empathy and awareness”—is commendable. But does donning an “aging suit” actually do that? Actual 85-year-olds, whose experiences are deeply variable and who are navigating the world despite a range of functional limitations, don’t think so.