COMBATTING AGE OPPRESSION
There is a stigma against the terms ‘old age’ and ‘elderly’ which we need to eliminate. Instead we should promote the words ‘respect, wise, useful, helpful citizens’. Our best citizens have age, wisdom, knowledge, practical skills and are capable of making a valuable contribution. They make up a majority of registered volunteers. Many contribute without any recognition and there are no statistics on those who work silently helping people in their community.
So there is a need to use better terminology which is much more positive that everyone, when they see these words, change their thinking about mature people eg. using the word ‘useful’ instead of ‘burden’, ‘knowledgable and wise’ instead of ‘slow and doddery’. Physically you cannot hide the effects of age but mentally people can offer so much accumulated knowledge. That is a helpful, useful thing to have in a society. Then the young who are struggling with their lives can feel supported by the older community and think of them as mentors and support people instead of being past their due date etc.
The words ‘entitled’ and ‘burden’ are bandied about a lot in Australia these days to justify funding cuts to services. This can have people dreading and fearing what they perceive as a bad thing that will happen to them one day. This is age oppression at its worst. It can have the effect of people, instead of feeling good about aging, feeling depressed and fearful about it, the young becoming angry and disrespectful because of it. This terminology is a cruel tactic to save money and lacks any sort of decency, respect, tolerance, compassion or integrity on the government’s propaganda agenda and is outrageously offensive to the whole society.
Old age can be the best time of your life because all that accumulated life experience can give you confidence and fearlessness to try things and succeed in your dreams that did not eventuate earlier in your life. I’m talking about giving back to the community and that is what the aged do in one way or another. Each and everyone is important because you are never too old to succeed and contribute to the diversity, cohesiveness and fabric of society.