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Posted on Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019 at 8:55 am
Mar 7, 2019
In a self-driven environment we think forward to the future, but as we’ve learned from history books, a good indication of the future is our past. For the past year, I have gotten close with five older adults ranging from the ages of 60-96. Through my conversations with them, I’ve learned about challenges they’ve faced throughout their life including divorces, deaths, and moral acceptance of issues.
The biggest struggle they face, though, is aging in today’s society. The current outlook on older adults is not a positive one. Many of them are isolated and told they are consuming large sums of money. This negative viewpoint hurts the concept of a unified society. Respect for older adults has noticeably been decreasing over the past 50 years as more baby boomers retire. These retirees are individuals who fought in our wars, raised our moms, contributed to the economic sector and so on. Yes, there were faults along the way, but when it comes down to it they are people too.
You can’t say you support human rights and not support the rights of a population who has lived through it all and greatly contributed to the society we have today. As we push older adults into nursing homes on the outskirts of town, decrease resources available for an adequate quality of life, and leave them to suffer from alarming rates of depression and loneliness, we ask ourselves: Is this how I want to be treated in the future?
This letter appeared in the Capital Times on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Mikayla Kelz is currently an intern at the Madison Senior Center