In his spare time, caregiving consultant and healthcare speaker Dr. Aaron Blight is happy to answer questions on Quora about caregiving organizational development, healthcare, support for family caregivers, senior care, and many other topics. In this post, we will examine his recent answer to a very popular question. What is different about this answer, though, is that Dr. Blight tackles the question from a societal view.
What’s the hardest part about getting older?
Dr. Aaron Blight:
I have read several of the 100+ compelling responses to this question and originally thought I don’t have too much to add to what has been expressed by other writers. Then I considered the fact that the responses I read address this question on a micro-level, at the level of the individual. I’d like to address the question on a macro-level, at the level of society.
Our society is getting older. People are living longer than ever before, with chronic conditions, and there are fewer children. In 2019, for the first time in history, there will be more people over age 65 than under age 5.
The hardest part about getting older – as a society – is that we must culturally redefine what it means to grow older, as a society.
Instead of marginalizing older adults because of their age, we should revere them.
Instead of pushing older adults into retirement homes, we should integrate them into communities.
Instead of looking upon retirement as “checking out,” we should see retirement as an opportunity to contribute in new and meaningful ways.
Instead of accepting ageism as the socially acceptable form of discrimination, we should reject it.
Instead of rushing past that old person we see in the store, we should smile and say hello.
Instead of emphasizing youthful attractiveness, we should focus on learned experience.
Instead of highlighting the disease, we should acknowledge the whole person.
Instead of treating the age 65+ population as a single cohesive unit, we should recognize the broad diversity among them.
That’s all for this edition. So, what do you think the hardest part is about getting older? Feel free to chime in on Quora or email us here at info @ caregivingkinetics.com with your thoughts – and be sure to check back on our blog over the coming weeks and months for more Q&A with Dr. Aaron Blight!