From the National Council on Aging...
Did you know that 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day? Ironically, the boomers are the generation whose anthems were "Hope I die before I get old" and "Never trust anyone over 30." But many boomers renounced those sentiments, moving beyond their youthful prejudices to take charge of their aging in new and creative ways. They've learned some good lessons from "The Greatest Generation," their parents. And this activist generation is also addressing ageism with some of the same social justice tools they earlier used against racism, sexism, disability prejudice and other social ills.
"Consciousness raising" is part of the solution. Many boomers are examining their own negative stereotypes about aging. Rather than seeking cosmetic surgery to look younger, they are working to dispel the negativity that would make a senior feel the need to look younger. They are examining out-of-date assumptions, ways of thinking and talking about aging that carry an overt or hidden value judgment about age. (Think about phrases like "70 years young" or "you look great for your age." Swap that out for the less-patronizing "70 years old" and "you look great!")
The boomers are also calling for more positive images of older adults in the media and not only silver-haired tennis players, but also seniors who happen to be dealing with health challenges.
Today we are seeing efforts on the individual, institutional, national and global fronts that aim to fight ageism and impress on everyone that every stage of life is valuable. Intergenerational programs break down barriers between age groups. Innovative empathy-building exercises use special glasses, gloves and rigid clothing to help younger people understand the physical challenges of aging and, hopefully, to also see the person inside. To encourage young people to prepare for their own later years, "age-advancing" software programs present them with a simulation of how they will look in the future and for many, this helps make tangible the idea that most all of us will pass through the stages of life with a never-changing need for respect and individualism.
Along with attitude, our infrastructure, too, must increasingly embrace "senior power." According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, over the next two decades, the number of Americans over age 65 will double, from today's 35 million to more than 70 million.
Here are some of the goals of government agencies and other organizations who serve seniors:
* Increased support for people who wish to work past the traditional retirement age
* Promoting volunteer opportunities and other ways for older adults to remain visible and active in the community.
* New senior living models that allow for greater choice, such as the "village concept," increased in-home services and a more person-centered model of nursing home care.
* Enhancing the safety net for vulnerable and frail seniors.
* Improved accessibility in public spaces that allows access for people of all abilities.
* Recognition and support for family caregivers.
* Encouragement and better compensation for medical students who specialize in gerontology.
Eventually, the average age of our population is expected to decrease. But the baby boomers have a great opportunity to create a legacy for Generation X, Generation Y, the Millennials and future generations not yet named. While the boomers will not be and have not been exempt from the challenges of aging, it is ultimately up to them to create the version of aging they desire. Maybe someday, no matter what we call people over 65, the words will have fully reclaimed the sense of pride and accomplishment.
Thanks for help
Many thanks to all the volunteers who delivered Meals on Wheels last week. Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.
Thursday, the TOPS Club will meet at 9 a.m., followed by art class at 10 a.m. Gentle exercises start at 11 a.m. The Ambassador Singers practice at 1 p.m. Skip-Bo begins at 1 p.m. A Domino Tournament begins at 1 p.m. Yoga begins at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, the day begins with line dancing at 8:30 a.m. A nurse from St. Catherine Hospital will be here from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge starts at 12:45 p.m. The monthly covered dish dinner with the Finney County Senior Citizens Association will begin at 6 p.m. Come for dinner, fellowship and candy bar bingo.
Saturday, the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.
Sunday has duplicate bridge at 2 p.m.
Monday begins with walking at 8:30 a.m. Double pinochle begins at 12:30 p.m. Duplicate bridge starts at 7 p.m.
Tuesday has gentle exercises at 11 a.m. Pitch starts at 12:30 p.m. Bridge begins at 1:15 p.m.
June 12 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Pinochle starts at 12:40 p.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance featuring Craig Stevens begins at 7:30 p.m. The recommended donation is $5.
Lunch is served at noon.
Thursday: Bierock casserole, beets, Scandinavian vegetables, rosy applesauce.
Friday: Pepper steak, rice pilaf, carrots, strawberries and pears, wheat bread.
Monday: Meat loaf, au gratin potatoes, winter mixed vegetables, wheat roll, mixed fruit.
Tuesday: Roast turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, wheat bread, fruit gelatin salad.
June 12: Barbecue beef on bun, potato salad, creamy coleslaw, peaches.
Celebrating 35 years at the Senior Center of Finney County. Check out our website at www.seniorcenterfc.com.