Sickness, poverty, deterioration – these and other depressing images are all part of a negative stereotype of aging in America. But these preconceptions can and must be changed, and a consortium of leading U.S. aging organizations has joined forces on a “fierce mission to change it.” That’s according to a new and timely article on the web site Next Avenue.
The piece is called “The Other 2016 Campaign: Reframing Aging,” and you can click here to read it and find out more.
The article cites research funded by AARP and other groups that revealed this persistently dark view of growing older. Many of those interviewed for the study began with an ideal image of the happy, healthy, financially stable senior, but (in the words of the Next Avenue article) “ultimately reverted to their ‘real’ image, focused on deterioration and helplessness.” This reinforces what the article cites as a “deep sense of fatalism” concerning aging.
According to the article, there is much more at stake in this negative and inaccurate image of aging than mere public relations. The fear is that, if the inaccurate image of seniors as a frail group who are in physical and mental decline is allowed to persist, public and political support for vital programs including Social Security, Medicare and senior centers could erode. This erosion could have devastating consequences for the 14 percent of Americans now 65 years old and older – a percentage expected to grow to 21 percent by 2040.
The new initiative to change the way Americans think about aging is called “Reframing Aging,” and it has brought together a long list of powerful associations and foundations including AARP, the Gerontological Society of America, the American Society on Aging, and others. By this fall, says the Next Avenue article, you may start seeing a new tool kit to be provided to these various groups that will include a host of new ways to help shift the public’s perception of growing older. The goal is not only to change political perceptions, says the article, but also to cement the image of “older Americans as central rather than marginal participants in our collective life as a nation.”
Here at Aging Options we see firsthand the vitality and the energy of the thousands of clients we have served. We strongly reject the negative stereotypes of aging and we hope this new campaign begins to shift public opinion. There’s a great deal at stake!
There’s also a great deal at stake when it comes to preparing for retirement. Planning for a vibrant retirement filled with new discoveries and opportunities is central to our mission. That’s why all our energy is focused on helping you plan now to achieve the future you have worked and hoped for. Our LifePlanning process includes all facets of a comprehensive retirement plan: your housing choices, your legal affairs, your family communications, your health care choices and your financial preparation. Like any journey of discovery, it’s good to have a guide, and that’s what we want to be for you.
Why not start by attending a free LifePlanning Seminar? These information-packed events are held throughout the region, at various times. For a complete listing of future seminar dates, and to reserve your place, click on the Upcoming Events tab on our website. Then if you wish we will meet with you in person. It will be our pleasure to help guide you into a rewarding and well-planned future.
(originally reported at www.nextavenue.org)