PUT A PILLOW OVER MY HEAD!? Sadly, it is not uncommon for a young, healthy individual to whisper “Just kill me” or “Put a pillow over my head” upon witnessing the plight of a very old, frail and infirmed person. Two things are not taken into account, unfortunately, with such disparaging perspectives: 1) The objectionable remark is incredibly disrespectful to the individual who is challenged to value every moment of life; and 2) No one knows with certainty the value they will place on their own life, given similar circumstances, until they personally experience it.
Avoiding ageism, as with all forms of prejudice and negative stereotyping, often requires observers and communicators to carefully view situations from another’s perspective.
Aging is inevitable … and unpredictable. Walking aids, feeding tubes and memory care may not be standard issue, but for some these supports are not optional. Yet no physical or mental decline is likely to be as frustrating or challenging or sad as accepting the notion that for all the individual effort, some more fortunate observers still reflect: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”