I received a shocking digital photo by SMS; the attached words read, “this is hysterical”.
I could hear the sender’s laughter echoing through the digital connection. It was a person’s face that looked inexplicably familiar, but I couldn’t quite place the person.
He’s my grandfather, maybe? Strangely, I had this same short-sleeved shirt. Then reality hit me like a ton of bricks; it had to be me.
You may have predicted that this was my first introduction to an aging app. My good friend kindly took my picture and put it in the app, and in an instant I was 82.
I sat down and wondered, as I often have, how I would feel when I turned 82. I raise this question because as I seek to be a more thoughtful pastor, I have undertaken further study and research.
I spent a week at Mount Royal University taking summer courses a few weeks ago. It had been a long time since I had slept in college dorms.
One course focused on the study of aging, featuring current research from a younger, talented professor; she challenged me on the danger of stereotypes and ageism.
Ageism is bias or discrimination based on a person’s age. Here are eight misconceptions about older people.
First, people naturally know when they are old; The answer is no. I just met my mother-in-law; she didn’t get her first tattoo until she was 60.
Most adults over the age of 65 face a steady decline in their physical and mental well-being. E-bikes have proven that wrong and the masters of late-night scrabble.
Older people are similar in their habits, beliefs and ideas. Bad; they are as diverse in their views as the rest of us. As people age, they are less able to adapt to changes in their world. Please reject this idea.
How many seniors now own iPads, use social media and drive across North America? Older people become more irritable, critical and demanding as they get older, that’s not true. Being irritable and judgmental has nothing to do with age; look around your workplace.
Most older people have little or no interest in sex or sexual activity, not the older people I’ve met. they are as cheeky as the next person.
Older adults are usually alone and would like to live with their adult children. now I know that’s not true. Older people end up becoming a financial burden on their adult children or society, yet another misconception.
I had my thinking errors, but research shows that these attitudes discriminate against people for being old.
You will discover that on this Canada Day weekend, if you treat a senior as you would like to be treated, as a unique person, there is a great blessing in connection with our seniors.
As Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31)
This verse, known as the Golden Rule, will serve you well in your golden age.
Phil Collins is a pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.