Why We Must Fight Negative Assumptions About Aging


Synergy HomeCare - Boulder

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Synergy HomeCare - Boulder

Posted on

Apr 28, 2023


Colorado - Boulder County

I’ve spent the bulk of my career focused on building strategic partnerships that enhance service delivery in several health care sectors, including homecare. I’m a self-professed “nuts and bolts” kind of guy where small tweaks can often make big changes.

But I’m focused on the big picture as well. And something came into my view recently that is sure to make a significant impact on our industry.

That is, how we talk about aging.

As a society, we often don’t like to talk about aging and all the things that come along with it. That may be why we experience pervasive ageism and a negative connotation to growing older.

A recent conference sponsored by the trade publication Advertising Week attracted members of creative industries such as marketing, technology and culture to bring key issues and ideas to the forefront. This four-day event with more than 800 speakers drew thousands in the advertising industry.

I noticed that AARP was involved in two prominent sessions: “The Rise of the 50+ Tech Consumer” and “Why Ageism Must Be Part of the DE&I  (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Discussion.” Martha Bourdreau, AARP’s chief communications & marketing officer, was joined on the stage by Kristin Flanik, who is president and CEO of the advertising agency power BBDO NY.

First of all, congratulations to AARP for bringing these topics to the forefront. It is fantastic that ageism is being addressed by the advertising industry, which tends to ignore older demographics because they are not considered “target markets.” As they wrote in their session description, those over 50 make up 47% of the U.S. population and drive more than $8.3 trillion in annual economic activity. Clearly, the aging demographic should not be ignored.

But the aging population is hindered by stereotypes in advertising. It wasn’t that long ago that E-Trade received negative reactions to its “This Is Getting Old” commercial during the 2018 Superbowl. The following year, Fast Company noted that ads geared toward older consumers tended to be condescending at best and offensive at worst. More recently, author Ken Dychtwald addressed the continuation of ageism in advertising in an AARP article, saying “ads that show contempt for older people are still far too common.”

That’s why I appreciated a recent article in New York Magazine’s recurring column, “The Strategist.” Staffers put together a 57-question survey for Strategist readers 65 and older. Included were questions about their most beloved clothing brands, their most coveted electronics and the gifts they love to use.

Guess what? They are busting stereotypes! They are interested in looking good and feeling good. Sixty-one percent shop online at least once a week. The stationary bike is a big post-retirement buy. Hoka and Nike are mentioned as prominent shoe brands. They debate the merits of Kindles vs. iPads.

This doesn’t sound like the end of the road for an aging population. And that’s great, since we know that by 2035 there will be more people 65 and older than those 18 and younger for the first time ever.

Those of us working on the front lines with an older population should pay attention to these trends and share them broadly. We are the ambassadors of the aging process, which is why we’re in a great position to influence how we talk about aging. Here are some ways to do it.

1. Change the language. Take a look at “Words Up: A Guide to Inclusive Language,” a report from an advertising agency that tackled numerous aspects of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), including ageism. After addressing stereotypical ads, they came up with a series of words that should be welcomed and those to avoid:

Adopt these words: “older,” “an elder,” “mature,” “wise,” “seasoned,” “experienced”

Avoid these words: “old person,” “golden years,” “elderly”

Personally, I’m on a mission to eliminate the use of term “elderly.” Getting older is part of life. “Elderly” connotes an affliction, not a life stage.

2. Focus on later semesters. Our SYNERGY HomeCare gerontologist Dr. Macie Smith refers to aging as “another semester in life.” Think about high school and college. Weren’t our last semesters so much better than the early ones? Aging is part of life’s education. Our clients are still learning, doing, growing, caring and loving. Let’s work to always share these examples. And we should always be trying to learn from them, and then share their wisdom, as we all work to show these later semesters should be welcomed, not feared.

3. Embrace positivity. Unfortunately, many of us are dealing with older people who have physical and cognitive concerns. But that shouldn’t stop us from saying wonderful things about our clients and what they have achieved—and are achieving—in life. Let’s emphasize the joys we bring our clients, the joys they bring us, the pleasures in their days and the things they’ve done and learned. During our “SYNERGY Effect” ad campaign, we focused on how we “propel lives forward.” We all do that every day. Let’s make sure we share it.

4. Say something. I was on a video conference recently and one of the participants on the call said, “I was in a store and this old cashier lady…” I stopped the call and politely said, “Why did you say ‘old cashier lady?’ Isn’t it great that she’s able to live her life and still work?” Sure, it’s not easy to correct someone, but we should all do it.

I’ve concluded that even though I’m not a marketer, I am in marketing. The interactions we have every day provide us with great insight in the positives of aging. Let’s commit to showcasing them.

If you have any questions, please call Synergy HomeCare - Boulder 303-465-4663.

Other Articles You May Like

The Freedom of an Active Adult Lifestyle

The boundaries of aging are constantly being rewritten. Retirement is no longer synonymous with slowing down. Instead, its a chapter that beckons us to discover the abundance of life in new and exciting ways.An active adult lifestyle embodies the spirit of curiosity, the joy of movement, and the richness of human connections. Its a lifestyle that celebrates the freedom to engage with the world, cultivate passions, and create lasting memories.Read on to learn more about the freedom of an active adult lifestyle and how Riverpointe can help you get the kind of life youve dreamt of.Your Gateway to Vibrant LivingRiverpointe is a testament to an active adult lifestyle. Offering a range of amenities that cater to diverse interests and passions, this community is a sanctuary for those seeking vitality and connection:Diverse Fitness ProgramsAt Riverpointe, the journey to active living begins with tailored fitness programs. From the tranquility of yoga to the energy of low-impact aerobics and the vitality of cardiovascular exercises, residents can move at their own pace. The community recognizes that each individuals journey is unique, and the fitness programs reflect this understanding.Group Excursions and EventsFor those who seek adventure beyond the communitys bounds, RiverPointe offers an array of group excursions. Whether its exploring museums, attending theater performances, or embarking on shopping trips, these outings infuse life with new experiences and shared moments.Cultural and Social EventsStaying within the community doesnt mean missing out on cultural and social engagement. With a Full-time Activity Director at the helm, Riverpointe orchestrates a tapestry of events with everything from concerts, dances, book reviews, speaker programs, movie nights, and more. This vibrant calendar ensures that theres never a dull moment.Onsite AmenitiesRiverpointes onsite amenities are designed to enhance every aspect of life. From garden spaces that invite reflection to an in-house foot clinic that prioritizes well-being, every amenity is a testament to the communitys commitment to holistic living.Apartment ComfortsThe embrace of an active adult lifestyle extends to the very living spaces at Riverpointe. Innovative floor plans offer breathtaking views of the Front Range, immersing residents in the beauty of their surroundings. Meals are more than sustenance; theyre an opportunity to connect over casual lunches or elegant dinners.The apartments at Riverpointe are designed for comfort and convenience. From weekly light housekeeping to basic cable TV, individually controlled heating and air conditioning, and complimentary laundry facilities, every amenity is aimed at enriching the living experience.Embrace Freedom, Embrace LifeThe freedom of an active adult lifestyle isnt merely about the absence of limitations; its about the presence of opportunities that empower us to live life to the fullest. RiverPointe encapsulates this essence, providing a canvas upon which residents can paint their stories of vitality and connection. Its a community that encourages exploration, nurtures connections, and celebrates the beauty of every moment.With Riverpointes offerings, an active adult lifestyle becomes a journey that unfolds with every step. Find joy in a morning yoga session, the thrill of a museum excursion, the laughter shared during a dance night, and the comfort of a thoughtfully designed living space. Find the true embodiment of freedom: the freedom to choose, to connect, to move, to be, and to live.If youre ready to embark on a journey of active living and embrace the freedom to thrive, Riverpointe welcomes you to a community where every day is a canvas for new experiences and cherished memories. Contact us today to get started!

Self-Care for Seniors

Chances are, most senior citizens have spent much of their lives taking care of others. From raising children to caring for their spouses to eventually helping their own parents, caregiver has probably been one of the big titles theyve held. But what about caring for themselves? In the past several years, the phrase self-care has become a part of the English lexicon. While it might seem self-explanatory - caring for oneself, it can go a little deeper than that. Self-care is not only doing things such as caring for your body; it also means caring for your own mental health and taking care of your overall well-being. Some seniors, whove spent their lives working to help others, might view it as selfish. But it is the opposite. It is important for the enjoyment and health of their lives. For example, for seniors, it can mean making decisions that improve the overall quality of their lives, their health care and their living situation. Prioritizing this can be especially important for seniors who are facing many changes in their lives, many highs and many lows along their aging journey.Here are some ideas for self-care for senior citizens.Relieve StressWhether it is a walk through nature or a steaming hot cup of tea, finding something that helps relieve stress is important for senior citizens. Maybe your stress relief is watching a funny television show. Take an afternoon to binge-watch one of your favorites and help relieve some of your stress as you laugh it away. Dont feel selfish for taking time for yourself that will make you feel better.Saying No When NeededWhile many seniors jump at the chance to have some fun with family or friends, sometimes they just dont feel like it. While they might love Fishermens Village on a normal day, sometimes the thought of leaving the house and all of that activity might be too overwhelming. It is okay to say no once in a while. If the idea is overwhelming, you can skip some events or tasks. Maybe your grandchildren are asking you to help sew their Halloween costumes, but you just cant do it because of your painful arthritis this year. It is ok to ask for some help with the task if you arent feeling up to it or if it will stress you out too much. Instead, maybe suggest doing it together and teaching someone else in the family to do the task and the parts that might be hardest for you to do.ExercisingA wonderful form of self-care is exercising your body. It makes you feel better afterward when you do it both physically and mentally. Take time out of your day for a leisurely walk or to splash in the pool. Getting your body moving is self-care.Hobbies for FunMaybe there is a hobby youve always wanted to try, such as photography. For you, picking up a camera and shooting beautiful pictures is a way to soothe your artistic soul and a form of self-care. Or maybe there is a hobby youve always loved but never had the time for while the kids were growing up. Take it up again to make your soul happy. Go fishing and spend hours on the water. Or start making mosaics again like you used to. Do something that you enjoy doing.Time OutsideTake some time to feel the sun and warmth on your skin. Feel the breeze in your hair. Maybe even slip off your shoes and ground yourself in the sand or on the grass. Getting outside is a form of self-care. Put the tasks you feel you need to complete that day aside for a bit, and take some time to enjoy the outdoors and the scenery of beautiful Southwest Florida.We Can HelpAt Visiting Angels, our professional and compassionate caregivers can help the seniors in your life focus on self-care, and anything else they might need help with. If you are looking for help caring for your senior Visiting Angels Punta Gorda is here to help. Our in-home caregivers provide a variety of home care services, including helping seniors get ready each morning, helping them do the things they enjoy each day, and helping with specialty care, including fall prevention and dementia care.Our highly-regarded team of caregivers serves clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Granda, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To use our services or to learn more, call us at 941-347-8288, or fill out an online form here.

Holiday Fun With Your Senior Loved Ones

The holidays are quickly approaching, and no matter your age, the excitement and anticipation often build around this time of the year. It is a great time of the year to plan fun and special events with your aging loved ones. From tried and true family traditions to trying out the new, there are many ways to have holiday fun with your senior loved one. Here are some suggestions.Warm From the InsideNothing says the holiday season like a cup of hot cocoa or a specialty holiday coffee drink, even in warm Florida. There is just something about a warm drink that exudes comfort. Taste test some of the fun holiday concoctions, such as a gingerbread latte or a black and white peppermint mocha, with your senior loved one. If tea is more your thing, you can try a Holly tea, with tea harvested right in Florida by Youpon Brothers at Downtown Kava. The cafe, which, of course, also serves coffee, is right in the heart of Punta Gorda. You can even sip your hot drink on the outdoor covered patio Florida style and look at the holiday decorations adorning the nearby palm trees. If your senior loved one would prefer to sit on the patio full of poinsettias at home, you can make your own creations there, too. From hot cocoa infused with candy cane pieces to eggnog-spiked coffee, the choices to put in your mug are endless.Hit the TownFor some holiday fun, there are plenty of things to do with your senior loved one in the area. Many of the activities can even be done within the comfort of your car if your favorite senior is having mobility issues. For example, you can simply head out when its dark outside and drive through the neighborhoods looking for Christmas lights. Make your own contest among the passengers in the car, voting for your favorite, the brightest and most gaudy.For a more intense light show all in one spot, head to the Charlotte County Fairground this year for the debut of The Wonderland of Lights. There will be hundreds of dazzling light displays shining brightly from December 1 to 30. It will be open each night from 6 to 9 p.m., and the cost to enter is per vehicle.Other ways to have fun with your senior loved one on the town are to hit the local shops or special holiday fairs, including the Thanksgiving weekend craft festival in Punta Gorda, where you can start or try to get all of your shopping done in one outing.Cozy at HomeOne of the best holiday feelings is being at home surrounded by your loved ones in a house decorated for the season. Plan some cozy fun at home for your senior loved one this year, especially if they are having mobility issues and feel safer in the comfort of their own home. You can decorate their space with lights and ribbons to make it more festive, and then enjoy the atmosphere snuggled under a cozy blanket watching a holiday film. Ask them about their favorite holiday film growing up, and then watch that classic. Maybe youll want to introduce them to a more modern favorite of yours. Even if the weather is fairly warm outside, you still can hibernate indoors in a cozy atmosphere with candles and lights.You and your senior loved one can do holiday crafting at home. Making decorations for the tree is fun, whether it is construction paper chains of red and green or pipe cleaners twisted to make stars or antlers on a reindeer.Baking up holiday favorites is a great way to enjoy the season with your aging loved ones. You can bake favorite Christmas cookie recipes that are a tradition in your home, or you can try some new recipes youve found while flipping through magazines or browsing the internet. Find out if theyd really like to make the fruit cake again that no one likes, or maybe theyd like to try to bake a homemade pot pie. Have fun and taste-test the results together.We Can HelpIf youre looking for help with your senior loved one this holiday season, we can help. Our professionals at Visiting Angels Punta Gorda provide a variety of home care services, including companionship during the holiday season, which can often be lonely for seniors. We also can help with personal care to get your loved ones bathed and dressed for holiday events. Visiting Angels also has specialty services, including respite care, safe and steady fall prevention and dementia care.Our professionally trained caregivers serve clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Grande, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To learn more about our services at Visiting Angels, call us at 941-347-8288 or fill out an online form here.

Local Services By This Author

Synergy HomeCare - Boulder

Non-Medical 8771 Wolff Court, Westminster, Colorado, 80031

At SYNERGY HomeCare, "CARE" stands for Coordinated And Responsive Engagement. We provide an integrated total solution to meeting your specific care needs. Whether for family members, friends or for yourself, you can be assured of the very best and highest quality care available. As loved ones experience the physical and emotional effects of aging, such as memory-related disorders (dementia and Alzheimers), chronic or acute illness or physical injury; our highly skilled caregivers are there to provide safety, comfort, and dignified assistance. We provide peace of mind and ensure that life at home will continue to be as independent and safe as possible.Call us now, at (303)465-HOME, to learn how our comprehensive CARE approach can help those with supportive needs, continue to live in their own home for as long as they like.