... Call me Sherman

You don't have to be in the business to recognize ageism.

In fact, we've all been guilty at one time or another. Our elders sometimes give us a nostalgic feeling and it is human nature to ‘get the feels’ when we interact with someone who reminds us of our grandfather. The questions I ask: How does that make the elder feel? Does he feel like your grandfather? Does he get the vibes of love and devotion? The answer is probably not.

The person you are talking to has his own experiences, values, and perspective. Ascribing things to people because of age can be detrimental. That being recognized, why do I see this behavior EVERYWHERE?!? Too often, I overhear people ‘baby talking’ a senior. I see both layman and professional placating and patronizing elders. Is it that we don’t actively listen anymore or is it that we don’t feel like elders have anything to say?

Though commonplace, this is not okay with me. I maintain that our elders are our betters. The seniors in my life have seen war, economic depression, social change, and culture shifts. They have been where I haven’t and impart wisdom that I cannot glean anywhere else.

The other day, I was having this conversation with a friend. We decided to call her dad and ask some questions. Do you mind being called a senior? An elder? How should people address those in your age group?

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He answered, “just call me Sherman”. How absolutely powerful.

Let’s make a pact. I challenge you to hold a high esteem for the older adult and in doing so, approach each interaction as one with potential value. Call people by their name and glean meaning from their individual value.

For them,

Katlyn