There’s a new book out entitled “The Age of Dignity” in which the author makes the point that America had better get ready for the “elder boom”, referring to the 10,000 “baby boomers” who are turning 65 every day in the United States. The book addresses the reality that by 2050, 27 million Americans will need varying degrees of supportive aging services.
In a recent National Public Radio interview, Ai-jen-Poo, author, says the following: “The way that we approach aging and dying in this country is from a place of scarcity and fear. And what this book is saying is that getting older is actually a blessing and an opportunity. Living longer is about loving longer, learning longer, teaching longer, and connecting longer, if we figure out the supports and infrastructure to make all of that possible.”
So Ai-jen-Poo says we Americans approach aging and dying from “a place of scarcity and fear.” Doesn't the term diminishment fit here?
After articulating the positive aspects of aging, the author says that all this is possible if we ‘figure out’ the necessary supports. Doesn't the term Culture Change fit here?
What do you believe about aging? Do the concepts of diminishment and decline so totally encompass your view of aging that you see it as a time defined by depression and loss?
Do you see your future in a traditional long-hall nursing home
n That is run like a mini-hospital,
n Where one’s days are determined by staff-imposed schedule and staff convenience,
n Where a common sight is slumpers in wheelchairs -- those are residents who have totally withdrawn within themselves because the external environment is unbearable,
n Where meal time is spent in interminable waiting at assigned tables, where waiting time and meal time are spent in silence,
n Where “Activities” have replaced what really gives life: Engagement?
If you see aging and/or aging services in the ways described above, then you are among the multitude of Americans who view aging from scarcity and fear.
What are you willing to do to change the culture of aging and aging services in our society? If one is not changing the culture, s/he is sustaining it.
Come on, Prophets, let’s “sing to the lamentations the music that is in the Heart of God.” (Carol Zinn, CSJ, Presidential Address, LCWR Assembly, August, 2014)