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Sheri┬┤s Open Forum Platform

By Sheri Doyle posted 01-31-2017 11:34 PM

Greetings fellow GSA Members -- I´m Sheri Doyle, communicating from Mexico. I´ve joined Open Forum as one of the site´s volunteer discussion facilitators.  So, let´s get started!

One of my pet peeves is that it appears to be socially acceptable to call attention to a child´s apparent age such as to say “how are you doing today, young man?!” but politically incorrect to call an older adult “old” such as through saying “how are you doing today, old man?!”.   A young person may be recognized as young but very few oldsters are in favor of being associated with a later-age-stage qualifier. While some individuals find being called an “older adult” acceptable - others lean towards an absence of any qualifier. There are times however when age-categorization is necessary or socio-culturally apropos.

I´ll present my point – why do so many adults reject/deny or attempt to conceal their chronological age and try to appear younger to society at large?   I´m well aware that mass communications, America´s youth culture and other factors often portray aging adults negatively…     When portrayed positively, older adults are often depicted less than accurately.

While continuing to support the eradication of ageism – shouldn´t professionals involved in gerontology also consider implementing an “Oldster Pride” movement?! It could take into account each aging adult´s interests, limitations and lot in life so that no subgroup of individuals would have cause to feel excluded. Based on a successful aging platform; the movement would celebrate the strengths of its membership in realization of their personal challenges. Taking pride in one´s advancing years could thus instill a new paradigm.
Read-link: Drs. Holstein, and Minkler contemplate issues which affect subjective self-worth – and those that foster a “new ageism” (p.17) through Self, Society and the “New Gerontology”. Published by The Gerontologist.

Your commentaries are welcomed, Sheri



02-10-2017 03:20 PM

                   Talking With The Very Old in our Midst

John E. Morley (J gerontol A Biol: Sc Med Sci (2004)59(1) attributed Socrates as commenting: “I enjoy talking with very old people. They have gone before us on a road by which we, too, may have to travel, and I think we do well to learn from them what it is like”.  How many relatively younger people among us talk with the very old – except perhaps, with a particularly cherished family member?

One communication tool is to “ignore age and look at the person” as Finbarr Martin has suggested through the AGE UK web publication Improving later life. Understanding the oldest old (2013). Another tool is to invite or inquire instead of to tell older adults what is what..

“Listening is a major part of communication” indicates module 4 of the online training guide “Aging & Communications: Engaging Older People - Look Closer, See Me” (University of Cincinnati College of Nursing). Staying engaged and understanding older individuals´ perspectives also facilitate conversation.

Respecting the challenges which many very old adults negotiate such as through experiencing  dual-sensory decline of audition and vision, and likely some cognitive decline as well suggests exercising patience when conversing with them. (Roberts, K.L. & Allen, H.A., 2016,  Perception and Cognition in the Ageing Brain: A Brief Review of the Short- and Long-Term Links between Perceptual and Cognitive Decline).  The module 4 training guide indicates that oft times;very old individuals are perceived as invisible during conversations  “even when the issues impact them”.

Would we want to be excluded from stimulating conversation?  It may be to our personal advantage to welcome participation across the board for sooner than some of us may think (to coin an allusion); we will all be on the other side of the looking glass.

02-10-2017 12:14 PM

Associated with gerontology, ´natch -- what are YOUR pet peeves?
Let´s explore them together!