As I eavesdropped, the woman on the Metro spoke about comments from younger colleagues, the tendency of some to roll their eyes when she speaks, and remarks about her retirement, still about five years away if she waits until she is 65. “I feel so unwelcome,” she commented,” that sometimes I make jokes about my own retirement just to counteract what I hear.”
Yet as the conversation went on — my apologies for listening in — it was clear that this woman loved her job and was engaged in her work. Lots of people in their late 50s and 60’s can identify with this situation.
So I read with interest the November 10, 2013, Washington Post article, In an Era Plagued by Ageism, NIH Prizes Older Workers. Written by Post reporter Tara Bahrampour, the report details how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a work environment that accepts — and even celebrates — its older and veteran staff members. The article also includes a link to the AARP 2013 list of best employers for people over age 50.
A group of British retirees, most seeking lower costs and a bit of adventure, ends up as the guests in a seedy, formerly grand hotel in Jaipur, India. In fact, the hotel is terrible. It’s not what they expect, but the endearing, entrepreneurial proprietor draws them in. As the movie zooms in on the characters’ personal stories we found ourselves gazing through familiar late-in-life prisms. Did I mention some of the fairly obnoxious adult children?
Marigold introduces a woman who was let go after training her own replacement, the parents who invested in their daughter’s start-up (yes, boomers everywhere are giving lots of money to their kids), and the woman who trusted her beloved husband who then left her in debt. We become acquainted with a retired attorney, drawn back to the place of a great love affair, and several others who just want to be less lonely. Because these are British characters, the frustrations tend to be understated — but frustrations, none the less. The Indian characters are just as engaging, fully developed, and far more exuberant.
I am tiring of “the boomers are coming” dire warnings that seem to be everywhere. Boomer bashing is nothing new — it’s been going on since it became clear that the demographic cohort would be a large one.
Yes there are problems with so many people growing old in one generation, but it also means there are lots of people who have time and energy to give back. In my life and in the lives of the boomers I know well, we have time after time given more than we’ve received. I expect this giving to continue.
Whether we were fighting for civil rights, starting careers later than usual because we worked on projects that supported other types of change, or continuing throughout our lives to contribute major amounts of community service, giving back has always been a theme in our lives.
What a delight to read Dorothy Sander’s April 11, 2012 post in the Huffington Post describing a “new way of aging” that involves deepening a vision about the many things that are left to be done even as we grow older. Sander, the founder of Aging Abundantly, expresses ideas that many boomers share.
Adult children try to do it all. Adult daughters sometimes do even more and take risks with their health.
Spend a minute reading this short, succinct article, reminding those of us who are mothers, adult daughters, and daily workers that we need to take time and use a bit of our energy to care for ourselves.
In Superwoman Could be Healthier, writer Nancy Rudner Lugo reminds us,” that women ages 45 to 64 have the lowest well-being of any age group or gender, and are worse off than women a generation ago.” She points out that just adding a bit of exercise several times a week can make an enormous difference in our quality of life.
A nurse practitioner and public health professional, Rudner Lugo consults on workplace health and nurse coaching. She has published quite a few shorthealth and wellness articles in the Florida Seminole Voice and has a knack for filling her articles with information while keeping them short and to the point.
For some time now I’ve listed Jane Gross’ book, A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents — and Ourselves, as my current read, even though I finished reading it two months ago. I’ve kept the book posted because it is a compelling and real-life description of what it takes — the agony, challenge, love, collaboration, and commitment — to support an aging parent when that person needs additional, day-to-day, support from an adult child.
Jane Gross was a guest on Krista Tippett’s public radio program, On Being. The episode, The Far Shore of Aging, features Gross discussing her book, and she also describes how we caregivers need to take care of ourselves as well as our parents and family members. The program is available as a podcast via iTunes, or it is possible to listen right at the On Being website, where additional resources and reading recommendations on this program and many others are available. Gross created the New Old Age blog at the New York Times.
It was long past midnight when my husband and I drove toward the Shenandoah Mountains and Harrisonburg, Virginia. My father was in the emergency department at Rockingham Memorial Hospital (RMH), due to complications from congestive heart failure, and we were on our way to help. Concerned, I took the time to fill my book bag with all of the official papers an adult daughter may need if decisions are required when a parent is hospitalized.
As we drove, the two of us talked about what might be in store for our family over the next 12 hours. We expected to arrive at the hospital, go to the emergency room, and find my dad on a gurney — uncomfortable, irritated, and who knows what else. We knew from emergency trips with my husband’s mother and father that the long waits, loud noises, and ER confusion (perceived through elder eyes) led to extreme discomfort and disorientation, no matter what time of day the visits occurred. In fact, I wrote a post for this blog describing just how long it takes for the confusion, once it sets in, to go away. Continue reading →