We continue to have embedded in our culture a fear of growing old, manifest by negative stereotypes and language that belittles the very nature of growing old, its complexities and tremendous variability. As a nation, India is yet to grapple with the longevity issue and we proudly say that we are relatively younger. Unlike the west, any small fraction getting into old and very old is a bigger number. Remember, across the world policymakers are struggling to keep financial and health support systems in place. It is a matter of concern for us too.
It is true that people are very reluctant to talk about getting older. I take classes (Retirement Readiness Program) in various forums. My experience everywhere is same. It quickly became clear I was free to contemplate growing old, but not with them. This may be due to the negative aspects often associated with aging, such as illness, memory loss, an inability to drive, an end to sexual activity, a struggle with loneliness and depression, and dependency or poverty and over above fear of disability and death. Media can play a vital role in diluting such negative myths and bring in a reassuring outlook. Media coverage of the longevity and other aging issues can bring in preparedness among the elders and thereby they can manage the twilight years in a better way. But this is no priority.
Older adults have the right to fair and accurate portrayal of their stories and their issues. The objective of writing these topics is to represent older adults and the aging process in an accurate, contemporary and unbiased manner. As practicing social gerontologists, we have varied experiences and here in this blog, we will highlight each such experience.