Getting beyond age bias

I received an interesting comment that I thought I would share with you regarding my recent column in the TJ on aging.   I talk about leveraging the deep knowledge and skills built up over a lifetime by older New Brunswickers but society needs to embrace this.  If people – both young and old – have this view that everyone over the age of 60 should go gently into that good night (even if it takes 30 more years) we won’t ever be able to properly take advantage as a society of a very important group.  If ’70 is really the new 50′, as I was told by someone recently, we need to act accordingly.

 

I have read your article ” Recasting the Aging population as an Opportunity”. I am utterly excited to read your reaction to the older gentleman who told you in blunt term that he was tired of hearing that older people are a problem.
I feel exactly the same way he feels, and like this gentleman I rebuke everyone who dare saying that old age is a burden. Sure, it could be, but it is far from being the majority of us. Most of us want to be independent as long as we can. We also take the initiatives to stay healthy, physically and mentally.
We contribute to the economy of the province with our taxes, we were in the generation who save for our future. now we have money to spend which now can benefits the generation after us.

Yes, aging could be an opportunity if there were not so many biases against old age. I am 75 years old. I worked until I was 73 years old. I retired, not because I couldn’t work anymore but because I was then living 3000 plus miles away from my native New Brunswick. I returned because I wanted to die among my own. Naively, I thought I could also contribute to the wellbeing of those deared to me.
I am a retired nurse, have a master Degree in Nursing, I have worked in the health field all my life. During the last 20 years of my career, I taught in a USA Nursing School. I am fluent in French and in Enghish. With all that experience which I am willing to offer in contribution to help in my province, I don’t feelthat I am wanted. And the best I can do is to Volunteer for the Red Cross. They make me feel useful and and in return that makes me happy.

I totally agree with Robert Hormats, the United States’ Undersecretary of State for Ecomonic, Energy, and the Environment, who you have quoted as saying “we need to transform our vision of aging from a time of dependency to a time of continual growth, contribution, andsocial and economic participation”. Wow, what a refreshing thought.

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