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Aging With Dignity

My definition of aging with dignity is exhibiting admirable attitudes and characteristics as we age. Aging with Dignity, a national non-profit organization based in Tallahassee, Florida, states their primary focus is to improve end-of-life care by encouraging people to make medical decisions in advance of a serious illness. They should consider changing the name of their organization to Dying with Dignity.  

Aging with Dignity was started by Jim Towey. Jim worked for Mother Theresa for twelve years. Mother Theresa is the epitome of dignity. She exhibited the characteristics I listed below. (But you guys in the Vatican…just get over it and canonize her.)

The Center for Aging with Dignity is “devoted to keeping people “SAFE After 60” by advocating for, advancing and developing best-practice programs for the prevention of elder abuse, exploitation and mistreatment. Recognizing that safety risks increase with age, we focus on enhancing the ability of professionals to empower older people, families and organizations to maximize heath, wellness and independence.”

These are exceptional programs but clearly my version of aging with dignity isn’t in sync with theirs. (Except for the safety risk thing.)

Some of the characteristics and attitudes I admire in people as they age include the following:

  • Rarely whines. (Think Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption.)
  • Exhibits self-control ninety-nine percent of the time.
  • Rarely worries.
  • Doesn’t yell “No, no, no I doan like it” after the two year-old throws her plate on the floor and yells “No, no, no I doan like it.”
  • Doesn’t worry about math homework ten years into the future—will it be new, new math or Apple Mac math?
  • Exhibits self-confidence. (Think Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption.)
  • Doesn’t make fun of women who’ve had work done while secretly wishing you looked ten years younger without having work done.
  • Shares their wisdom with younger generations. (Think Morgan Freeman…)
  • Speaks in a soothing, calm voice. (Think Morgan Freeman…)
  • Doesn’t screech “No, no, no I doan like it” when the two year-old uproots your orchid and paints the carpet with a mixture of charcoal, bark chips and dirt.

Two conclusions can be drawn from this list—the first is it's difficult to age with dignity when you’re raising a toddler. The second is obvious. I want to be Morgan Freeman.

Comments
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re: ageing with dignity

Thank you for highlighting ageing and access to resources to ensure a dignified life. In any age of life, dignity is vital. Without a sense of dignity we debase ourselves. Even more so, when we are entwined in vulnerable circumstances. Through education, awareness and access, dignity is possible as a way of life and living. 

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Dignified Life

Ming,

(My apologies if I didn't get your surname right.)

You're welcome and this subject, although I make fun of myself, is important to me. There is, in my opinion, a lack of respect for older people in America. Too much energy is used in the futile pursuit of youth and beauty. If a person is in denial about their mortality, they have trouble facing the fragility of the elderly.

It makes me mad. Aging with dignity means we treat all people with dignity, whether they are two or ninety. The hardest thing to do sometimes is to treat ourselves with dignity.

Thank you for commenting.

Jules

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"Soul Clap Its Hand"

Jules,

Important topic!   As an old person, I gather at least part of your blog is written satirically or with "tongue in cheek," prompting me to observe that it's helpful if one can maintain these attitudes in old age:

1. A sense of humor:   As the song goes,  "whatever will be, will be," and one might as well smile and roll with the punches because not doing so will only add depression to your other problems. [Similar to your counsel against whining]

2.  Love of life:  Even if life is diminished, highlight and celebrate what you've experienced and what is left to experience.  As Yeats wrote,  "soul clap its hand...and more loudly sing for every tatter in its mortal dresss."  

3. Persevervance:  Press on in the face of adversities and salvage something from each moment, because once you give up, it's over.

Additional thoughts on aging are in my blog, "Aging--Reaching Shore After a Long Swim"

Brenden

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reaching Shore

Brenden,

Yes, this blog was written "tongue in cheek" so to speak. (Aargh, rhymes when she shouldn't.) Actually all my blogs have a satirical slant but my poetry, on the other hand, is not funny. It is so serious it almost tips the scale and lands on top of satire.

Seriously, your insights are valuable reminders; goals I strive for on a daily basis. Humor is my saving grace. It allows me to recover from my failings more quickly.

I read "Aging--Reaching Shore After a Long Swim." Your observations of the effect aging has on your self-confidence is something I've also experienced. My favorite line is "I am more a passenger now in the vehicle or ship of life; maybe we always are in that predicament throughout life but only have increased awareness of it in old age."

We like to think we're in control.

Thanks for reading.

Jules

 

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Appreciation

Jules,

My appreciation for taking the time here and under Rodell's blog on JFK to add your  supportive insights. 

Brenden