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Director's Message

July - August 2011; Ageism

Have you ever had someone make an assumption about you because of your age? Ageism is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups because of their age, and it is especially prevalent with older adults. Robert Butler coined the term in 1968, reflecting racism and sexism. He included three areas: prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the aging process; discriminatory practices against older people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about older people (Wikipedia).
 Ageism is rampant in employment right now.  Many people over 50 have lost their jobs and are having a very hard time getting re-employed. Research indicates that it is not uncommon to be out of work for 2 years, several months longer than any other age group.  It appears prevalent that employers fear that older workers will have chronic diseases, miss work, and not keep up with technology and developments in the field.  They also believe older workers  expect more compensation.  One would think that employers would value the wisdom and experience of older workers, who also often stay longer in a position and are better problem solvers!
Another all too common experience of ageism is with medical professionals.  I have heard people report too often that their doctor said they were just experiencing a symptom because they were getting old.  How often does this prevent the doctor from looking further into the cause of the symptom?  Or seeking a treatment that will relieve pain and discomfort?  Is the doctor listening for your quality of life goals?
What is happening when a runner says they are participating in a marathon and the response is “how long does it take to walk a marathon?” Or someone says they are getting a graduate degree at 60 and the response is “why bother?”  What does it feel like when someone calls you “dear” or makes a sweeping statement about all seniors being a certain way?
Occasionally ageism can work in our favor.  Everyone has that first experience of being asked if you want the senior discount at the movies, the grocery store or museum.  Or that the person behind the counter doesn’t even ask and assumes you qualify!  How did it feel?  Was there the sense of celebration you had when you became of legal voting or drinking age?  How do you respond when someone holds a door or offers to carry your groceries?  Did you welcome it or say, “oh no, not me!”  These discounts are now seen as an entitlement of age, absent any other criteria.  It is one of the few ways that our American youth-oriented culture honors age.
There are several people in the aging field who are trying to combat ageism.  They are making efforts to change the national attitude about aging to one which truly honors wisdom and experience, that does not urge everyone to look and act like teens.  We want to spread the message that people continue to learn, grow, and contribute throughout the lifespan.  Just as we have experienced the movements to eliminate racism and sexism, this shift will take time and take effort on everyone’s part.
First, be aware of ageism in yourself.  A Gerontologist recently told a story about attending a Dave Brubeck concert and hearing himself remark at the end “he was great for a man of his age.”  He caught himself and said, “he was great.”  Do you perpetuate these stereotypes?  Catch and change the remarks and assumptions you make about aging.
Second, speak up!  Call other people on their ageist remarks and behavior.  Don’t settle for the doctor saying you are just getting old.  The marathon runner gave his stunned audience a lecture on how running had been a lifelong passion, how he trained and how he took care of his body through nutrition and healthcare.  Do your part to educate others and change the face of aging.
 Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW

Previous Messages

October 2017: HomeFriends Celebrates 30 Years!

September 2017: Annual Report

July/August 2017: Preferred Caregivers: Daughters

June 2017: Cues & Clues

May 2017: Recharging

April 2017: GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!

March 2017: Multi-generational Households

February 2017: No One Ages Well Alone

January 2017: Help at Home

December 2016: Gratitude

November 2016: Family Caregiving

October 2016: Annual Report

September 2016: Corporate Healthcare

July/ August 2016: Strategic Planning

June 2016: Is Your Home Age- Friendly?

May 2016 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: Is 60 the New 40

April 2015: Spring

March 2015: On 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


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


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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