Do Unto Yourself as You Want to Do Unto Me

Do Unto Yourself as You Want to Do Unto Me:

Aging in America is a process of becoming invisible. The ‘voices’ of the older population in America are muted and overshadowed by our focus on the value of ‘young’.  In fact, Aging in America is a Process of Liquidation, i.e., of resources, interests and individual choices.  Collectively our view of older adults is overshadowed by what value we place in aging.  For example, as was all of America, the recent tragedy in Arizona of the senseless wounding and killing of citizens brought sorrow to many of our lives. However, I was also struck by the interest of the media coverage. There was a major focus on the shooting of a Congresswoman, a Federal Judge and the untimely death of a 9 year old child. There are no words that can describe this horror. However, I was also struck by the absence of focus or media interest on the death of the older adults that were killed. In fact, little is known about them. I think this is another example of how, as a society, we discount age.   

The paradoxes of ‘what we say about the value of aging and how we act’ are found in a number of arenas. I always found it interesting that as program planners and policymakers we have little hesitancy to recommend specific treatment protocols, programs and services for older adults and their families. Although, I do believe that our intent is genuine and heartfelt, as professionals, we would rarely follow our own advice. We have the greatest intent in “doing what we think is right for the older person” but would rant and rave if somebody was trying to do this to us- as individuals.

Isn’t it time, as individuals and a society, to increase our sensitivity and understanding of how we will feel as we age ourselves? Again, Do Unto Yourself as You Want to Do Unto Me, and then we will talk.

Please feel free to comment. 

Dr. Force