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Ageless Aging - July 2013
July 08, 2013
Last month told you that I was heading to an American Philosophical Conference - to argue for changes that would make it easier for older [emerita, emeritus] philosophers to continue their work in philosophy. The paper was well received!! A number of persons said they would ask the APA to institute some of the changes I suggested. .
Of course the first change I want to see implemented is that all philosophy groups offer SKYPE [or other Internet video connection service] at their meetings. Those on this list know how important I think this is. I foresee the day (and I hope it is coming soon) when we can go to a local play or concert, pay for 1 ticket + a small amount for our lap top or tablet with video camera. Take our seats, hold the device a chin level and send the entire program to a friend or relative who normally could not get there. Just imagine!
Elderhood againOK. I live in a society where 'old age' is not a preferred state. (as a result there are whole industries dedicated to hiding the signs of growing old)
But this can change. We can change it just as we did it with the women's movement, the civil rights movement in the US and all movements to end discrimination by skin tone that occurred around the world, movements to change the perception of disability etc. .
So yes, I am a perennial optimist and I have always gotten engaged. There are ever so many things we can do....things that maybe you and others are already doing. (If you have some examples, do send them to me and I shall publicize them.)
. We who are entering elderhood, old age, senior status need to learn from one another how to raise our status in society as a whole. (When we have done this, adults seeing the first signs of old age, will no longer react in horror. Instead they will react like 12 year olds to the first signs of adulthood.)
Economics of senior home ownersI may have written of this before but I still think it a good idea for showing the SENIORS are not 'just people in need of services' but that we really contribute to the economy and save younger people money. YES, save. .
Project #1. .
1. Can you, or a small group of friends, or your office of aging or???? Find out how many seniors own homes, apartments or condos in your school district? In other words, how many pay school taxes? .
2. Now for some math. What would it mean to the school district if all those seniors, who have no children in school, were to sell their homes to young families - those likely to add 2 or 3 students to the school population? .
- what would be the increase in the number of students in the district? .
- since most districts publish 'cost for educating each student', it should be easy to calculate the increase in the over all school budget if all the seniors in the district were to leave. .
You now have the amount that the senior homeowners in your community save your school system. Publish it. Make sure everyone knows so they all realize that having and keeping seniors in the community, reduces school budgets, saves homeowner school taxes. .
Can you do it? Can you convince a group of seniors to join you in doing this study? If not what about your office of the aging or a local college faculty member in business or in the social sciences seeking class project to take this on? If none of those seem workable, what about a local politician who wants to seem 'senior friendly'. This is the sort of study his or her staff could wrap up in a week ---- AND he or she could take full credit in the press for showing our importance in local schools districts.
Economics of senior volunteersLast month I noted the importance of senior volunteers for non-profit groups in our communities. This month I want to suggest how to monetize that so society as a whole can see our real economic contributions. .
HOW? Initiate a survey of how many hours senior volunteers donate to your community. This means contacting religious and secular non-profits, asking if they have volunteers and how many of those are seniors. Then you either find out if they keep record of volunteered hours and what these are OR contact the seniors and ask how much time they volunteer. (This second might be more time consuming BUT it could be more accurate because a person might do volunteer work in some other group(s) not on your list.) Besides unless the non-profit has time clocks for their volunteers, it is very likely they will UNDERESTIMATE the number of hours ---- it is just human to do so. .
After finishing the survey, add up the total number of hours donated by all the seniors. Assign a monetary value (This could be as simple as assigning minimum wage or it could be more sophisticated by assigning 'probably real wage' for different categories.) .
Believe me - if your town is anything like my own, I think you (and the local newspaper) will be flabbergasted at the economic value of work being donated to your community by seniors. ( And yes, the numbers might come in handy the next time local or federal government is talking about cutting programs FOR seniors.)
Further publicizing the results of your study would be one more step in getting people to value older persons.
Conclusion. If we want to turn around society's view of old age, we are the one's who will have to do it. Economic value is one of the easiest things to document.....and in 2013, the economy is on everyone's mind. Can you get involved? Will you talk it up, prevail upon others to help? What of your office of the aging? a local college (social science teachers often look for practical projects AND students could get a publication out of such a study). If none of these are interested, maybe a local politician wanting to seem 'senior friendly'. Staff could probably do this easily since they have computers access and clout.
EndingWe all know that great social movements depend on the efforts of those negatively affected by current attitudes and conditions. We are the ones affected by the negative images of old age. So it is we who need to initiate the change in public perception ----
AND we, as well as the generations after us, will benefit from our efforts to change the current perception of elders in our societies. YES!
. Hope you'll join me in the task.
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