Dr. Bill Thomas is a geriatrician who is leading a movement to change aging as we usually think of it. It’s a movement to fight ageism, as the civil-rights movement fought racism and the women’s movement fought sexism in the U.S.
A fundamental idea of changing aging is that the final stage of life is not marked solely by decline and decay. As people grow old, they should not be valued only to the extent that they can “still” work at demanding jobs or engage in extreme sports.
Instead, the final stage of life is a time with its own developmental challenges. Dr. Thomas calls it “Elderhood.” Recently, he spoke about changing aging at TED. His speech, “Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age,” is eye-opening, and he delivers it with passion, intensity, and more than a little humor.
What do you think? Does the idea of a stage of life beyond adulthood make sense to you? Does it make more sense than being in denial or engaging in futile anti-aging? Are your parents or grandparents elders? How about you? How do you feel about being “an elder in the making”?
I’d love to have your comments.
photo by shonna1968