What comes to mind when you see the word, “Old?”
Who do you see when you look at an “old person?” What’s on your mind?
(Photo from Charmingthebirdsfromthetrees)
Passage below from Memory Lessons by J. Winakur (2009)
My [great]aunt Lena saved me that night. Her forthright words, her wisdom, hard-earned over a long and difficult life, helped me put my problems and my uncertainties into perspective. This is what families are for. This is why the elderly among us have traditionally held such an esteemed position in societal hierarchies. I fear that this is changing now in America.
Sadly today – for all of us but especially for our elderly – we live in a vain, youth-worshipping society, a society that, in every possible way, tells us that we must look young in order to feel young in order to be valued. The faces and bodies in magazine ads for incontinence products or the TV commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs do not in any way represent a fair cross section of my geriatric practice…
Many of my patients – the old, the old old, and even the oldest old – are steadfast and stoic. They are the bedrock of their families. They bring loved ones into their homes and even take out second mortgages to support their children and their grandchildren. Sixty-two percent of multi-generational households – a growing phenomenon in America today – are led by grandparents…
Seniors support art and cultural events with their time and money. They work in the soup kitchens feeding the poor and hungry. They tutor youngsters in their schoolwork…Many elders are artists, painters, and writers, leading creative and productive lives that should inspire us all.
Some things need to change.
Starting with thoughts. Our attitude. Our definitions.
Starting with us. – ITL