If solely, when folks hear Joe South sing “Walk a mile in my shoes,” his poetic and inspiring metaphor for empathy would meaningfully transfer all who “abuse, criticize and accuse.” And, if solely, older adults had been amongst the meant beneficiaries of such understanding and help.
That is greater than wistful pondering. Notably in these divisive occasions, we all know how tough it’s to modify folks’s attitudes and actions towards something or anybody. With one thing existential as the growing older expertise, phrases and songs could also be what’s wanted to assist transfer the dial. In that case, South’s metaphorical folk-rock anthem is heading in the right direction.
Based on the FrameWorks Institute, related messaging and metaphors often is the most empowering means in our tradition to reframe “growing older” as optimistic and purposeful. The aim being to beat ageist inequities and counter-productive assumptions. Amongst them, rising previous just isn’t a illness, an inherent drawback, or one thing to worry.
Whereas persistent stereotypes feed societal issues about our more and more growing older inhabitants, it’s a bit ironic that research reveals adults of all ages routinely push again the age they contemplate to be “previous”; and say they really feel 20 % youthful than they are surely. At what level will we embrace slightly than deny the plain? The reality is:▪ “Growing old is about us, not them.”
Nevertheless intelligent the alliteration “silver tsunami” could also be, this foreboding metaphor is as inaccurate as it’s dangerous.Humankind’s longevity ought to be an inspiration — outlined by optimism, inclusion, compassion and generativity.
INSPIRED MESSAGING AND METAPHORS
Past the colloquial “age is sort of a fantastic wine …” there are many constructive interpretations of what it means to get older. Dr. Mardy Grothe, in his ebook i never metaphor i didn’t like, shares these examples:▪ “Life is sort of a play: it’s not the size, however the excellence of the performing that issues.” (Seneca)▪ “The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.” (English proverb)
Research reveals there’s a symbiotic relationship between the actuality and notion of growing older. Enhance on one and the opposite advantages as properly. We will promote this intrinsic interdependence with messaging:▪ “Everyone seems to be growing older. A few of us merely have extra expertise.”▪ “Aging is an active verb”▪ “Growing old is a matter of thoughts over matter. Should you don’t thoughts, it doesn’t matter.” (Mark Twain)
FrameWorks recommends advocates try and advance systemic modifications that reinforce the “message that older age, like every other time of life, entails each challenges and alternatives.” Older adults have to be handled as equals;in any other case, the Institute warns, “we’re marginalizing their participation and minimizing their contributions.”
We should foster inclusivity — by way of insurance policies and practices corresponding to age-integrated communities and providers; together with intergenerational relationships and packages — the place we stay, work, be taught and play. That is how we break down ageist obstacles and construct mutual respect:▪ Older age is a time to repurpose life, not retire from it.▪ Older adults are our most precious renewable pure useful resource.▪ Our growing life expectancy is a plus, a “longevity dividend.”
Residing longer takes private effort, for positive. In addition to others’ empathy, good deeds and form phrases. There can be alternatives to exploit and challenges to beat — inevitably and unpredictably. That’s life, for all ages, for all of us.▪ “Previous age is like climbing a mountain. You climb from ledge to ledge. The upper you get, the extra drained and breathless you turn into — however your views turn into extra in depth.” (Ingrid Bergman)