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Honor our Elders

July 03, 2018

“Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have.  Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy.”
—John Hoeven – North Dakota U.S. Senator.

Life is too short to always be in a hurry. When was the last time you had an entire day or even an evening with no plans? It’s in those moments where inspiration and creativity thrive. During those times we stop to reflect, smell the roses or reach out to our elders to remind them they are not forgotten.

What is “ageism?” It is stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age.  The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors.
Why do we continue to fight the aging process? Do we fear aging? F.E.A.R. has two meanings: Forget Everything and Run OR Face Everything and Rise.  The choice is yours. Fear of death and fear of disability and independence are major causes of ageism; avoiding, segregating, and rejecting older people are coping mechanisms which allow people to avoid thinking about their own mortality.

Bernaus-DSC_5886-4x6-720x477-52db95a4-5119-4c33-bf5c-ce41287d6070.jpgAccording to Ariana Huffington, “Aging isn’t just a biological process — it’s also very much a cultural one”.
Different cultures have different attitudes and practices around aging and death, and these cultural perspectives can have a huge effect on our experience of getting older.

While many cultures celebrate the aging process and revere their elders, in Western cultures — aging is regarded with distaste and is often depicted in a negative light in popular culture.

Native American elders pass down their knowledge. Though attitudes towards death in contemporary American culture are largely characterized by fear, Native American cultures traditionally accept death as a fact of life.

In Korea, elders are highly respected. Much of Korean regard for aging is rooted in younger members of the family caring for the aging members of the family in the home.

In India, elders live in joint family units with the elders acting as the head of the household. The elders are supported by the younger members of the family and they help raise their grandchildren.

In many African-American communities, death is seen as an opportunity to celebrate life. The African-American culture views death as part of the “natural rhythm of life,” which lessens the cultural fear around aging.

Although, westernization has lessened the importance of aging and elders, adult children are still expected to care for their parents as they age. Making sure they are well taken care of and valued. Elk Run can assist adult children in making this happen. We offer many services, activities, meals, and monitoring to make sure your aging parent is valued.

Elk Run embraces aging and has active and fun senior residents. To learn more about honoring our elders by volunteering, please contact Clorinda Heyl, Life Enrichment Director, at 303-679-8777 and/or via email at cheyl@augustanacare. org. Volunteers at Elk Run are encouraged to nourish our Residents human spirit, affirm their worth and draw on their wisdom.