Bob Miller on Ageism


An essay from Advanced Style: Older and Wiser

I’ve never been 90 years old before, nor had I ever been 89 or 79 years old before, but I have been, am now, and will be. Not all things were a surprise. I had the advantage of observing the age-related changes and modifications of movement, thought, and physical appearance of my parents; a dynamic, involved, loving couple who were together from ages 16 and 19 and who lived to be 92 and 95 years old respectively. In their case, only in death were they separated.

We spent many hours discussing the ‘’ageing experience’’ a major portion of which was about how to people that they came in contact with—had dealings with, interacted, and dealt with—suddenly they were their ages first and their given names secondly.

Ageism is the discrimination towards the aged and ageing. I urge you to pay attention to too comments such as, ”Oh you forgot,” or, “You don’t remember.” That’s ageism. When you are passed over or ignored, when you are spoken to as if you were a child, when in any manner or means you are belittled or insulted because of your advanced age, that is age-ism at work. When your doctor talks to his assistant about you and your concerns instead of talking directly to you, his patient, that is ageism at work.

I want to see political involvement in a program that informs a course of action to correct these ills; outreach that advises when to call the better business bureau, or the dept of discrimination, and what to do when your complaint is ignored. I feel that ageing can be insulting, belittling, and diminishing. It destroys one’s sense of self, ones quality of life and good health. You must make a noise to have things change. Call and write your representatives—your senators, the president, all elected officials—advise them that they will not get your vote unless they help cure this disease.

In the meantime, be sure that you are involved in life and living. Know what is going on in the world around you. Listen to young people, do not lecture them, and you might just learn something you didn’t know or consider before. Avoid spending all your time with your age group; you’ll not learn anything you don’t already know. Make an effort to be well groomed and polished at all times; you’ll like yourself more, you’ll want to take “you out.” (Your clothes and grooming should and must be age appropriate.)

Life is an adventure. Get out there and live! – Bob Miller