It's hard growing older in a culture that refuses to accept aging. For women, the challenge is doubled--they're ignored entirely.
The understandable response is rage, insists gerontologist Ruth Harriet Jacobs, Ph.D. But she advocates another approach entirely: be outrageous.
Sure, older women are frustrated, ignored, hurt, and treated as second-class citizens. Still, she says, you can choose to reject negative stereotypes of aging and make life more enjoyable and productive than ever.
In a recent report in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Jacobs puts forth recommendations for late-life renaissance:
- Do not internalize negative images of older women. Instead, look around at the real, wonderful, older women.
- Start volunteering, creating, traveling, expressing political views, and doing the things you never had time for. It is time to live for you.
- Let go of guilt and overnurturance and be your own first priority. You've really earned it!
- Don't give up your job. Age discrimination worsens every year of a woman's life.
- Keep up your female friendships--don't overrely on your spouse.
- Stay active to avert physical impairment.
PHOTO: Older woman on roller skates.