ANSWERING THE CALL FOR A CONSCIOUSNESS-AGING MOVEMENT…
This critically important issue of the Digest directs our attention to the birth of what Fierce with Age is calling“The Consciousness-Aging Movement”. What the Boomer generation did for consciousness-raising around inequality for women we are now called to do around the pervasive issue of ageism.
Following is a summary of some of the important initiatives that are making their way to the mainstream. But this issue is also a call to action. Boomer women, Boomer men: Stand up to anti-aging messages and harmful stereotypes perpetrated by advertising, the media and popular culture. Shake off any residue of internalized shame, guilt or fear about growing older. This is our moment to prepare ourselves for unexpected joys and the hard-won fulfillment of our true human potential.
Where to begin? First of all, please forward this issue of the Digest to everyone in your social network–all ages. Ageism is an issue that impacts us all and that will require many hands and voices. I also invite you, as many are doing, to start a Consciousness-Aging Group in your own community. This link will show you how.
But as you read on, you will see that there are many ways and opportunities for us to make our collective voices heard. Answer the call and you will discover that aging is not the obstacle to the highest expression of what is possible for us as we assume the mantle of elderhood—it is, in fact, the very vehicle of our own as well as societal transformation. I’m gratified to count those of us who are becoming fierce with age as amongst those who are showing the way.
–Editor-in-Chief Carol Orsborn, Ph.D.
p.s. If the immensity of the issue starts to get you down, make sure you read the last wonderful entry in this issue of the Digest: “Beyond Ageism–A Glimpse of the Future” by Robert A. Jonas, M.T.S., Ed.D.
“Boycott products that are marketed in an ageist way or deliver an ageist message. Don’t watch those TV shows that depict older adults as helpless, forgetful or in other stereotypical ways. Don’t purchase ageist birthday cards or paraphernalia that was meant to be funny, but missed the mark completely. Don’t let yourself be graywashed by purchasing products that make false claims to put aging ‘on hold.’ And six other action steps that will turn you from aging advocate to activist by Kathy Sporre’s Refined by Age.
“We may think we know what lies ahead: a grim slide into depression, dementia, and dependence. But that’s just the party line, and writer and activist Ashton Applewhite debunks it in spades. It turns out that:
- the vast majority of Americans over 65 enjoy independent lives;
- older people enjoy better mental health than the young or middle-aged; and
- people are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives.”
Join in the consciousness-raising dialogue at Ashton’s Q&A blog “Yo Is This Ageist” and follow her commentary at her website This Chair Rocks.
“When it comes to battling ageism, the gatekeepers have been AARP, NCOA, ASA, LeadingAge, and various aging advocacy groups using a variety of anagrams to describe themselves. Although no one has been keeping score (well some of us have), they are losing the game. Ageism remains pervasive in situation comedies, standup comic acts, comic strips, advertising, greeting cards, and political speeches. Older adults have let others pick the battles to be fought and how to fight them…
Whenever you see an ageist ad, headline, comedy act, presentation etc. speak up. Tell those responsible that you do not appreciate being patronized, made fun of, marginalized or ignored. Tell them that you have decided to pick other companies to do business with and you will be inviting others to do the same.” – Dick Ambrosius. For the rest of this blog and Dick Ambrosius’s important website, click HERE.
“Are you tired of the diminished value society places on older people? Do you believe a person who is 45 or older can be a valuable employee? Do you get angry when you hear someone say something negative about a person, or themselves, because of their age?
If you answered yes to these questions and have the passion and commitment within you to do something about being a good role model by speaking out on the disenfranchisement and disengagement of millions of older adults, you have what it takes to be a champion; a champion for the International Council on Active Aging’s® (ICAA) Changing the Way We Age® Campaign.”
Thanks to Fierce with Age contributor Kathy Sporre for bringing this to our attention. http://refinedbyage.com/2013/08/08/you-can-be-a-champion/
For information on becoming a champion, click HERE
Go to this website-in-progress to learn the definitions; be introduced to the scholarly literature and have your consciousness raised. “Even a basic interaction with an older adult, wherein the person’s age is revealed, can trigger what seems to be an innocuous response: ‘Really? You don’t look seventy-eight!’ As though first there is a way one must look at seventy-eight and second that it is a compliment not to appear so. What does a seventy-eight year old look like, and is it any better or worse than looking five or thirty-five? These compliments actually communicate affirmation of healthfulness while insinuating derision of age. By stating something to the effect of ‘That’s great you don’t look your age!’ we are reaffirming to the recipient and ourselves that the last thing any of us wants to appear is… old.”
For more click HERE
“America is a rapidly graying society. This demographic trend has been underway for a while — and anticipated for a long while — yet some of its implications are just now coming into focus. Most notably, the aging of America will almost certainly trigger a retirement crisis, with elderly boomers competing for limited financial and medical resources — and working longer just to stay afloat.
The elderly have never been honored in American society. They have more often been stereotyped, stigmatized and pitied as outdated and weak, both physically and mentally. And according to Princeton University psychological scientist Susan Fiske, this unfair ageist stereotyping could become even darker with the new influx of seniors. Fiske predicts the emergence of new, prescriptive stereotypes — stereotypes that dictate what seniors should and should not do in an era of scarce resources. These new stereotypes will likely be more hostile than what we’ve known so far, and what’s more, they will be wielded mostly by the young in an acrimonious generational conflict.
…Benevolent, pitying ageism of the past may be supplanted by envy or even contempt if the aging boomers refuse to cede America’s scarce resources to the young.”
As the global population ages, there is an urgent need to reassess what role individual societies give to older people to ensure they are able to enjoy a decent standard of living and can continue to contribute to society as long as they wish. Shunting older people to the sidelines of our communities is not only unjust, it makes little sense for countries to miss out on the huge opportunities that longer life brings, and the asset that older people represent. Many older people continue working and also pass on important knowledge and skills to younger generations, and others act as carers to their family – in sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of Aids orphans are looked after by their grandparents.
Ageism is prominent around the world. In most countries it is still considered acceptable to deny people work, access to healthcare, education or the right to participate in government purely because of their age….
Governments need to tackle these issues head on and make sure that global human rights legislation is fit for the future and able to respond to the opportunities and challenges of ageing in the 21st century.
For the rest of this blog, click HERE.
–Chris Roles, director of Age International
“In the middle of the night I wondered why I haven’t yet focused on the topic of aging. And then it came to me that it’s because I don’t feel like I am aging.
I don’t mean that I’m in denial. I am acutely aware of physical and mental changes, dealing with pain, expecting death, and the need to slow down, etc. But my moment-to-moment spiritual practice looks more like getting younger every day. I am knowing less every day and actually becoming more curious about who I am, who others are and who this unknown Mystery who births us, is. Who am I, really? Who are you, really? And how can I be in touch with the You inside every you? It feels to me like starting my life over, but now being able to take more reality into account.
If aging does anything, it seems to raise the stakes because it shines a light on the boundary between life and death and how imminent, fragile and tender it all is. The aging of our bodies and minds is real but the real exciting thing is to see aging as a window into eternity and our belovedness in eternity. It’s a discipline that calls into question everything I have previously known. It requires the courage to jump off the edge of the stories I’ve gathered and depended upon, into the unknowing waters of the holy. Do this, and you enter the cave of your mind and heart in silence and begin to de-age, ex-age, un-age in the embrace of the Mystery.”
Robert A. Jonas, M.T.S., Ed.D. www.emptybell.org
To learn about starting a Consciousness-Aging Group, click HERE.
For a free subscription to the monthly publication: Fierce with Age: The Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration and Spirituality http://www.fiercewithage.com