Do you feel overlooked, misunderstood, left out of the discussion? Do you feel
the needs and wants of Seniors are sidelined for the good of everyone else?
Well, it’s probably more than an inkling you’re feeling-and it’s not just you! Now
that you’re aware, don’t be surprised by what you discover. Age has been
weaponized and it’s being used against Seniors to make us believe the “noise.”
We’ve stood on the sideline and accepted the “noise” hook, line and sinker.
Think of a commercial that shows seniors in a capable and positive way. Even
when a commercial is highlighting something said to be good for us, it also
reminds us of what’s not so good about aging.
We’ve been oblivious, misinformed, uninformed, while adapting and adjusting to
it all. And all the perceptions and assumptions (ageism) lead to feelings of
disenfranchisement and feeling “sidelined.” And it’s all justified by the fact that we
don’t push back! Here’s a few examples of ageism we encounter and accept
daily. Some are subliminal. Some are blatant.
Perceptions: We’re too weak, too feeble-minded, and too nontechnical.
Assumptions: We can’t hear, see, or drive.
Verbal/mental abuse: It’s okay to demean and disrespect us as a joke.
Interpretations: As we age, we lose our value and capabilities.
Communication: We’re talked to like children; we need someone to speak for
Disrespect: We’re not heard and our questions/concerns are often dismissed.
Burdens to society: We offer nothing to society. We live off the government. We
need help to survive/live.
What can you do?
Be empowered! Don’t allow your age to be used against you. Don’t allow
yourself, your family, or your friends to perpetuate the negativity. Aging is often
addressed with humor, but it’s not a joke. Know the difference. Know when to
say, “that’s enough!” You can’t lean into the perceptions nor buy into the
assumptions. You must speak up against ageism and push back against the
negative images and messages used in print and social media.
Positive Aging means embracing and taking the reins of aging—and that means
fighting ageism at every opportunity.
Pat Landaker is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and owner of Living La Vida Senior.
She serves on the ASA’s Innovation and Social Impact Council, the CSA’s Certification
Council, the City of Henderson’s Senior Citizens Advisory Commission and she teaches
Positive Aging at UNLV/OLLI. Contact her at email@example.com.