A study on ageism by Professor Donna Wilson at the University of Alberta indicates, at last, the difficulties of growing old while being accepted as a viable member of society.
It’s no surprise that the images of the “sweet little old lady” are so strongly embedded in the nation’s psyche. We won’t address the “dirty old man” stereotype here! Just to say, that is not true, either!
Folklore and the media perpetuate this myth, as do some of the “old ladies” themselves.
Many years ago I sought help at the local mental health clinic for a personal problem. Being over 60 years old at the time, I was immediately shunted into a Geriatrics program and counseled by a registered nurse who first asked me what year it was, who the Prime Minister was, and if I could count backwards from 20. Annoying and demeaning as that was, I asked to be placed into a regular program where I could consult a doctor or psychologist and the nurse told me that for anyone over the age of 60 this was the only option. She told me also that all she could do for me was support me in my endeavors. Helplessly, she shrugged her shoulders.
Another situation arose when in my fifties I applied for what seemed like a fun job in a bird shop. The owner asked me first how old I was and although there is a law in Canada against discrimination on the basis of age, foolishly and passively I answered.
Since then, my own medical transcription business, first started in 1999, has become rather successful and this is how I support myself, with the help of a few royalties from writing books and – of course – a pension from the Canada Pension Fund and Old Age Security. That is called WHAT??? Yes, Old Age…Security… there are perks to being old!
There ARE perks to being old, like subsidies in apartments and for bus passes, and movies, and all sorts of people giving up their seats for me.
We live in a society where the population is rapidly aging. In a few years we will make up an alarming percentage of the country.
Grey Power, anyone?