Thoughts on Ageing
I was reading a post from Smart living 365 which focused on a review of a book, by Ann Jenkins, the CEO of AARP, called Disrupt Aging—A Bold New Path To Living Your Best Life At Any Age. As part of the post, the following 10 myths were put forward as a reason why society sees ageing as an issue. The issues raised by the post may be true and have to be addressed.
The problem I have with these statements is that they make broad statements about a group of people which are false. Try an experiment as you read each of the myths, substitute the word "women" or the word "Black" or whatever minority group you can think of, where the word ageing is placed. We have to reject myths that stereotype any group because it is wrong. However, as more Boomers retire and continue to enjoy life to the fullest as do the people I work with, these myths will slowly fade into distant memory.
To be fair, and I have talked about this before I flunked retirement after three months and decided to go back to work part time not because I had to but because I love to work. While I was working part time, I started to focus on finding meaning in things that I did to help people. I am lucky to say I found it, first through my work at SHARE Family Services and now in my role as a Workshop Facilitator on senior issues.
I focus on mature adults and seniors and helping them understand what a healthy and active ageing looks like. Over the last two years of doing these workshops, I have met with over 1,800 seniors that I had not met before, and I listened to what they have to say and what they think is important. So, I am going to address the 10 myths from my understanding of these issues as seen by seniors that I interact with on a weekly basis as to why these ways of thinking of ageing are out-dated. (My thoughts are in Italics)
Society tends to collectively believe that ageing is a huge societal problem and older people are seen as a burden or mostly a problem that needs to be fixed. Seniors don’t think we are a problem, we are too busy building or rebuilding, relationships with family, pursuing our hobbies, meeting with old friends, working part-time or travelling to worry about how society sees us. No senior I have met see themselves as a burden, we all believe we are contributing to our society.
While we do share responsibility for certain parts of ageing like taking good care of our health and our finances—the choices, options, and abilities are not equal for everyone. Depending upon our sex, our race, our education, and our socioeconomics, we either have advantages or disadvantages that should be considered. This is an interesting point, the seniors I have met, believe that at every age, the individual has responsibility for their health, their finances and choices. We know that options and abilities are not the same for everyone, but we understand that this is true no matter your age.