A 70 Year Old Can Change Their Ways
Jim Krueger, BA, Executive Director of North/Eastside Senior Coalition
I recently read a blog for Changing Aging by Jeanette Leardi, entitled Age and the Potential to Change, expressing frustration about our society’s perception that a 70 year old cannot change their ways. Changing Aging is a multi-blog platform that challenges conventional views on aging.
Leardi contends that many Americans believe “a person’s age is inversely proportional to his or her capacity to change.” She feels that society has “developed the ageist assumption that our values, beliefs, and behaviors, like our arteries, harden with the years and that if we live long enough, most of us will morph into the caricatured grumpy, stubborn old man or lady”. Leardi concedes that “some elders are determined to hold on to the lifestyles they have grown accustomed and continue to treasure,” but stubbornness, ignorance, and fear can inhabit a person at any age in life.
Many older adults today do not fit this personality and they are embracing change and developing different values and beliefs about how they want to live their later years. NESCO offers technology assistance for older adults most of whom are 70 years or older. These older adults have no desire to feel old or be labeled as old. They are curious and motivated to learn and explore new ways of doing things. They want to be connected with today’s society. Leardi reminds us that “personality traits can be developed at any time and, in fact, are more likely to grow as we age.”
Leardi concludes society “must realize that age in itself is not a factor in the evolution of an individual’s personality.” Older adults are changing and we need to better educate ourselves and our community about the many inaccurate assumptions on aging.
Happy Thanksgiving from the NESCO Staff!