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Director's Message

Am I Old? July 2010

Our culture is extremely anti-aging.  Whole industries thrive on removing wrinkles and folds. Elderhostel changed its name to Exploritas to get “elder” out of the image.  People won’t come to a program at PSRC because it is a “senior center”, which conjures images of old people sitting around waiting for lunch (clearly they have not visited PSRC).   Boomers are especially prone to age-denial.   Most have no plan to retire at all and 25 million have saved less than $1000. They do everything they can to avoid anything related to aging. 

 Recently someone from another organization asked me if PSRC would co-sponsor a speaker who is giving a talk based on his book entitled Don’t Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body.  I thought about it for several days, and then I declined. 

It was certainly very nice to be asked.  But I just couldn’t get past the feeling that there was an implied insult to older adults that I didn’t want to participate in.  What if I said “don’t let a girl move into your body?”  Or a college professor?  Or a Latina?  All of these would be considered offensive, so why is it OK to say this about OLD?
Our culture is extremely anti-aging.  Whole industries thrive on removing wrinkles and folds.
Elderhostel changed its name to Exploritas to get “elder” out of the image.  People won’t come to a program at PSRC because it is a “senior center”, which conjures images of old people sitting around waiting for lunch (clearly they have not visited PSRC). Boomers are especially prone to age-denial.   Most have no plan to retire at all and 25 million have saved less than $1000. They do everything they can to avoid anything related to aging. 
 
I understand that the central theme of this motivational speaker’s presentation is that much depends on our attitude about aging.  I agree that we can choose not to “think old,” to keep active and engaged, to find purpose and passion throughout our lives.  This is one of the things I love about working at PSRC: every day I work with people who are actively learning, doing, and giving to their families and communities.  What wonderful role models for us all!
But I do not agree with the authorthat “getting old is a myth.”  The reality is that physically we are aging.  I think those who are most successful at aging find ways to adapt to this reality.  You take gentle yoga and senior aerobics rather than a high-paced class at a fitness center.  You volunteer 10 hours a week instead of working 50 hours.    And yes, some of you are still running marathons. 
In my years at PSRC, I have also met many people who feel that you deserve some respect for your age and wisdom.  My question is: how do we change our culture to one that honors and reveres old age?  In New Age lingo, how can we “embrace and nurture our inner elder?”
Our Fall conference on October 23 will feature Willo Carey, Executive Director of WHYY's Wider Horizons, a partner in the Coming of Ageproject which is helping people age 50+ explore their future, working to change our culture to view people in the second half of life as a tremendous resource and this time in life as a great opportunity.
 
Interestingly, the New York Times has had two articles recently that relate to this issue. In “Old Age From Youth’s Narrow Prism” (March 1, 2010), author Marc Agronin, MD, points out that we often view old age through the eyes of youth,  and that by so doing, we imagine only pain and loss, but fail to see the joys of new pursuits and the wisdom and meaning that age can bring.  On May 31, Nicholas Bakalar, in “Happiness May Come With Age”, reports that a large 2008 Gallup poll found that people get happier as they get older.
So I want to be in the forefront of a movement that honors, respects, reveres and even envies old people.  In the same way that 40 years ago we changed the perception that women could not do many jobs traditionally held by men, we must confront those who think that age is all about loss and diminishment.  Confront people who use ageist language and concepts.  Be mindful of the ways that you unwittingly buy into these perceptions and perpetuate them.  Get involved in intergenerational groups so that youth get to know who you really are, and can benefit from your wisdom and experience.  Embrace your inner elder with pride!
Susan W. Hoskins LCSW
 

Previous Messages

Preferred Caregivers: Daughters

Cues & Clues

Recharging

GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!

Multi-generational Households

No One Ages Well Alone

Help at Home

Gratitude

November 2016 Family Caregiving

October 2016 Annual Report

September 2016 Corporate Healthcare

Strategic Planning

Is Your Home Age- Friendly?

May 2016 Director's Message Part 2 - We Need Your Help

May 2016 - Part 1 - Going Solo

April 2016 - Volunteering

March 2016 - Partners In Caring

February 2016 - PSRC's Strategic Plan

January 2016 - Hope

December 2015 - Gratitude

November 2015 - Helicopter Children

October 2015 - Is Princeton An Age Friendly Community?

September 2015 - Annual Report

July & August 2015 - Family and Community

June 2015 - A Gift that Keeps Giving

May 2015 60 Is the New 60

April 2015 - Spring

March 2015 - Being Mortal

February 2015 - Mentoring

January 2015 - Winter Blues

December 2014 - Leaving A Legacy

October 2014 An Age Friendly Future

September 2014 Annual Report

July - August 2014

June 2014 - Romance After 50

May 2014 - Your Virtual Estate

April 2014 - Memory and Forgetting

March 2014 - Aging in Community

Observational Stay

February 2014 - Family Caregiving

January 2014 - Attitudes about Aging

December 2013 - Giving

November 2013 - Healthcare Marketplace

October 2013 - Annual Report 2013

September 2013 - Total Brain Health® Fair

July - August 2013 My cat, My Father and Me

June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities

May 2013 - Navigating a Changing HealthCare Landscape

April 2013 - Becoming Visible

March 2013 - Navigating Life’s Transitions

February 2013 - Partners in Caring Princeton

January 2013 - Men as Caregivers

December 2012 - The Safety Net

November 2012 - Going Solo

October 2012 - Documenting Your History

September 2012 - A Journey of Transformation

July - August 2012 - Gratitude & Moving

June 2012 - Diversity

May 2012- Aging in America

APRIL 2012 - TEN YEARS

March 2012 - Patient-centered Care

February 2012 - Can you Spare an Hour?

January 2012 - Challenges & Opportunities

December - Are you Prepared for Emergencies?

November - We need YOU!

October - Chocolate for Memory

September- Looking Back and Looking Forward

July - August 2011; Ageism

June 2011 - Accessibility

May 2011 - Paper retention

Knit Wits, April 2011

Lessons and Legacies, March 2011

Independent Living February 2011

Home Safety January 2011

Witness to my Life December 2010

Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010

Retire in 3D!

Strategic Planning September 2010

Am I Old? July 2010

Memory Clutter June 2010

Aging In America May 2010

Volunteering April 2010

Spirituality March 2010

Estate Planning February 2010

Encore Careers January 2010

Hiring Home Care December 2009

Annual Giving by Sharon Naeole November 2009

Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009

Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind September 2009

A Personal Perspective on Caregiving July/August 2009

TRANSPORTATION May 2009

Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity April 2009

Write your own obituary March 2009

Hobbies February 2009

Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
January 2009

Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look! December 2008

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008

Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning October 2008

September 2008 Caregiver Dilemmas

Finding Rhythm and Purpose July/August 2008

Spring Cleaning II June 2008

V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008

Spring Cleaning April 2008

Have You Had the Talk Yet? March 2008

Get Moving with FitRhythms™! February 2008

My Condolences January 2008

Advocacy December 2007

What Are Social Services? November 2007

Sensitive Topics October 2007

Plan for the Future September 2007

The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007

Volunteering June 2007

Strategic Plan May 2007

National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007

Brain Health March 2007

Resiliency February 2007

Transportation January 2007

Season of Giving December 2006

Medicare Part D November 2006

April Hill McElroy October 2006

Civic Engagement September 2006

Change June 2006

White House Conference on Aging May 2006

Hearing Loss April 2006

GrandPals March 2006

Lets Talk February 2006

Eldertopia January 2006

Hoarding December 2005

Annual Report: November 2005

Are You Prepared? October 2005

Planning Ahead October 2005

Watch Your Language September 2005

Medicare Part D Summer 2005

Sue Tillett June 2005

The End of the Journey May 2005

Clutter March 2005

New Dietary Guidelines February 2005

Transitions January 2005

Funding December 2004

Caregiving November 2004

Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004

A New Look September 2004

Safe Driving Summer 2004

Food Safety June 2004

Communication June 2004

The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004

Seniors On The Move April 2004

Depression March 2004

McGreevey February 2004

Medications January 2004

Random Acts of Kindness December 2003

Civic Engagement November 2003

Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003

Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003


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