In June of 2020, over half of the “gray wave” or the baby boomer generation in the United States will have turned 65. With this, we have seen enormous changes in how our society functions, creates and sells products, acts and reacts to various situations, politics etc. In this, and the following blog postings, we will look at why aging matters in various parts of our society.
In this post I want to address “graceful aging”. There is something sweet about the notion of aging gracefully, like a sweet elderly woman sitting in her rocking chair or baking cookies and hugging her grandchildren. Ok, this is a nice thought and I’m certain it really does happen in some places. However, I would say that a vast majority of the elders in our society have not been given the opportunity to age gracefully. In fact, there is often a daily struggle to obtain proper medical care or pharmaceuticals. There is a pervasive sadness or lonely feeling that seniors feel as our family systems spread farther throughout the county. And sometimes there is fear: fear of violence, financial fraud, diseases like Alzheimer’s or other diseases of age.
Perhaps we should rethink “grace” when we consider aging, maybe it is not the elder that should be showing grace, but those supporting and around our elders. Grace can be shown through assistance with transportation, alleviating isolation by consistent visitation or even facetime calls. Aging gracefully should perhaps be a societal movement, not something left to just the elderly.
When our culture truly embraces aging, we stop fighting it and see it as something that is not only inevitable but beautiful, then perhaps our society can find grace in age.