Seniors and Invisibility

Invisible, a word that most of us strive not to be in life, but as we age, that’s often how we become. Seniors tend to disappear in the eyes of the public, both literally and figuratively and as people get older, seniors keep getting pushed further and further back behind everyone else.
It’s not only demeaning and angering, but also detrimental because just like everyone else, people who are aging want to be a contributing member of society. If we don’t encourage (or allow) people, who are 65, 75, 85 and beyond to step up and contribute it leaves out a large group that in most cases, is still fully functional and capable of everything.
So how do we address this?
The first thing is for the public to realize that this is an issue. For those of us who don’t spend time around seniors, or don’t see seniors, we might not understand some of the more complex issues that a person who is aging faces, invisibility being just one of them. Schools, work, and the government needs to take a more significant interest in an aging population and teach that seniors are useful and that most leave normal, active and productive lives.
The second thing to do is to encourage independence and confidence. Now, this is not stepping away from getting help with basic needs, but often seniors become reliant on someone who is younger for fear of making a mistake or making a fool of themselves. One of the most prominent examples is technology, and often, someone who might not have had experience with computers or smartphones before will delegate what they need to a child or grandchild. We need to emphasize learning, trying again and not being afraid to do things on your own. When seniors are confident in their abilities to work on new things, there is less need to rely on other people who might take their voice.
The biggest thing though probably is to encourage seniors to remain productive citizens of their community. Seniors have decades of knowledge and experience behind them that is so useful. Even when one stops working though, there is so much they can do, from running food bank drives to teaching people how to read, to volunteering at a seniors centre and let’s not forget about the 9 million hobbies.
Getting out every day and doing something is good for everyone. It’s great for the senior, but it’s also perfect for the public as well. Not only can they benefit from their volunteerism and expertise, but the public can even get a broader grasp of what being a senior actually is instead of just going off the general misconceptions that we often see in the news or the stereotypes we see on TV.
Seniors, nor anyone really, should ever be seen as invisible and the more we encourage them to get out and be part of society, the stronger we become in our communities.

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