You Can Be a Champion
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.