When you are open to be moved by another, to be amazed by another, and when you listen to another with nothing but your heart, there is much to be gained in spending time with oldest-old adults. As Mark Twain noticed, “wrinkles merely mark where smiles have been.”
Based on the TED talk by Chimamanda Adichie, this post explores how a "single story" of aging can affect our understandings of and interactions with older adults. I propose starting to combat this "single story" by looking inward and first noticing non-judgmentally exactly how we conceptualize this population.
Storytelling is a lost art in many families, and yet many older adults still feel a deep drive to pass on their knowledge, skills, and culture to younger generations. In a written life review, older adults have the opportunity to capture their unique stories on paper, while gaining confidence, enjoyment, and fulfillment.
Would anyone be offended if two young adults dressed up as older adults and paraded around a park on an "old person date"? Surprisingly not. However this type of media can actually be quite harmful to older adults in the United States, who may come to believe that these stereotyped images of aging are accurate.