You Can Be a Champion

Changing the way we age-logo

Are you tired of the diminished value society places on older people? Do you believe a person who is 45 or older can be a valuable employee? Do you get angry when you hear someone say something negative about a person, or themselves, because of their age?

If you answered yes to these questions and have the passion and commitment within you to do something about being a good role model by speaking out on the disenfranchisement and disengagement of millions of older adults, you have what it takes to be a champion; a champion for the International Council on Active Aging’s® (ICAA) Changing the Way We Age® Campaign.

The International Council on Active Aging® has identified the concept of active aging as being engaged in life to the fullest extent possible within the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational. We must be intentional about our lifestyles as we age if we are to maximize the results in each of these dimensions and build our “dimensional muscle”, as I like to call it. Developing each dimension is very important, as they play an important part in the scheme of life.

Let me give you an example of how the dimensions interact with each other. I had a recent surgery which made me feel like I was a prisoner in my own body while I recuperated. During the time my physical dimension was on “lock down”, I leaned heavily on a few of the other dimensions. They helped to compensate for the loss I was experiencing in my physical dimension. Having someone around during that first transitional week at home was crucial to my healing process. Knowing I was not alone (social) put my emotional and intellectual well-being at ease, as I knew if something happened that there was another person there to help. That person was my husband.  I got in close touch with the spiritual side of life during that time, and my faith became a big part of my recovery. The emotional and intellectual sides played a big part as well. My intellect told my more emotional side that having a good attitude would serve me better in my recovery than any pity party I could throw for myself. Thereby, my emotional self was more upbeat in order to be the optimist that my intellectual side knew was the best environment in which to heal. Soon my physical dimension returned and I was free once again.

Speaking of attitudes, part of being a champion is to help build awareness of ageist stereotypes. These negative perceptions of aging can stand in the way of a fulfilling life. Believing them by having a negative view on aging can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Speak up when you hear someone say, “I’m too old to ____________ (fill in the blank). ” Self-talk is all-important to what we see manifested in our lives. If we believe in positive outcomes, our chances of experiencing positive outcomes are much better. Become aware of that inner self-talk, Instead of, “They don’t want old people here,” say, “I’m entitled to go where I want.” Instead of I can’t learn anything new at this stage of life,” say, “I want to tap into my full potential and learn more about ________________(fill in the blank).”

I am just beginning to hear a song softly rising within the pack of society, and it’s getting louder every day; every day a new champion begins his or her work. What is that song? It’s more and more of the anti-ageism activists  joining in, one by one, singing a song by the rock band Twisted Sister, “We aren’t gonna take it! We aren’t gonna take it! We aren’t gonna take it, any more!”

If you’re interested in joining ICAA’s “Changing the Way We Age” Campaign, and turning it into a worldwide movement, this is the place to start: Changing the Way We Age Campaign.

AGEISM: Prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly.

11 Comments

  1. Kathy

    We are linking you your posts on the Senior Learning Network. Keep up the very important work!

    • Ellen, I am honored that you are doing that. This particular post also be on Carol Orsborn’s “Fierce with Age” digest containing the best content in boomer wisdom, inspiration and spirituality on the web in September. Be sure to watch for that because there will be many other champions of ageism like me featured there. Thanks for reading. Best regards. – Kathy

  2. Ah, but you have a husband – someone who cares in the house – so many elders are alone, and have become bit players if that in the lives of those they love most – their offsrring. I’ve long been banging the drum against ageism and also age apartheid.
    There once was a bonafide movment mostly begun by NOW but unfortunately it got derailed. Ageism is eerywhere but disastrously, most elders don’t even know htye’re oppresedd. And incidentally, there’s plenty to feel sad about in elderhood burt we’re tol to grin and gear it, and worst of all ot hage a pity party. Oky for other age groups to air their problems but elders are called whiners or complaiers if they do. And yes there is research to back up these unpopular claims
    .

    • Bette, Yes, having a wonderful, caring husband has helped me tremendously in difficult times. Having a husband doesn’t guarantee caring – one must chose wisely. I can’t imagine the despair one must feel if their children are not “there” for them when needed. I was there for my mother for nearly 25 years after my father passed away. I understand not all families stay close throughout the lifespan and that saddens me. I agree with you when you say, “most elders don’t even know they’re oppressed.” People have bought into stereotypes about aging being a time of decline and diminished value. I urge you NOT to grin and bear it, but to continue speaking out about it. The louder the better. There are people listening!

  3. Dear Friends and Passionate Elders …My name is Philip F Crouch and have just landed on your web site …in search of information for my “Soul Work Ensemble” project http://www.soulworkensemble.org. on the other side of the Planet – in this case Tasmania. The issue and empowerment of older persons is often further eroded in community work by the very ‘Community Industry’ which purports to represent those of us who are 50 plus. As someone who is 66 and passionate about Age related matters through Meditation, Dreams, Spiritual (non-religious) Sageing and similar – we as Ghandi pointed out must become the change. Congratulations to individuals and groups who are NOW achieving this.
    Philip F Crouch
    -global citizen 2013

    • Philip,
      You are spot on in your comment that the “Community Industry” which purports to empower older adults often erodes that power. Even if it’s unintentional, it shows a lack of education and knowledge about the reality of aging today and those they serve. It’s time for societies everywhere to leave behind the outdated stereotypes that oppress people as they age and replace them with the vital place older adults hold within our societies and the possibilities that are still there for them to discover. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Philip. Best regards, Kathy

      • Kathy, THANK YOU so much for your kind words and response to the previous ‘Community Industry’ comment. Its great to know the issues are the same in America as in Australia -or in my particular region, Tasmania. YES! Individually and collectively “we are that change” as Ghandi is purported to have said. Currently finding positive responses to my project, and its good to know that there are ways around the ‘status quo.’ Even if these might seem at first, to be rather different channels. Again thank you Kathy.
        Philip.

      • Philip, Please check out the website of Gaea Yudron, “Sage’s Play” at: http://sagesplay.com/ She might be doing something similar to what you are doing and be a great contact for you. Also, Carol Orsborn, PhD at “Fierce with Age” at: http://www.fiercewithage.com. She has a digest which includes the best Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration and Spirituality on the web. Let me know if these are productive contacts for you and your work. Best regards, Kathy

      • Kathy, THANK YOU for the previous information – particularly relating to Carol Osborn Fierce With Age, this is an excellent resource and very appropriate for this 66 years passionate person. Its great to know that networks are circulating around the globe digitally-bringing the Spirit of Like Mindedness together. Although nothing beats a coffee/sandwich conversation. Best Wishes. Philip

      • Philip, I just finished looking at your website and see you already have sagesplay.com listed. I LOVE your logo!! Kathy

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