Today I would like to begin an important discussion for older adults to encourage everyone that our time is now.
This post has been on my heart for months now and I believe it is important that I begin this conversation for all of us…particularly those who are 60+.
I am deeply concerned about how we are coming through and out of recent times.
As a professional communicator, I am sensitive to messaging, and some of it, for us, has been discouraging.
WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR OLDER ADULTS
So, often during our lives we run up against challenges we are not quite prepared to face. I do not know anyone of any age who was prepared for the world to completely change in 2020, but it did.
When I left for work the day of March 11, I had no idea I would be sent home to work and would find myself home to stay. I had no idea a worldwide pandemic was underway and of particular danger to older adults. I had no idea that the entire world as we knew it would suddenly stop.
The silence on March 12 was deafening. We live near a major freeway in San Antonio, Texas and not that far from the airport. On most days, when my husband and I sit outside, we can hear cars and planes. But not that day or days immediately after. The world had come to a halt and it was eerie to say the least.
COVID-19 has proven itself to be a formidable foe….a prison guard locking us away in our homes from family, friends, work, and the activities we loved so much. Depending on where you live, the sentence may still be in progress. The pain of losing loved ones has also been shared by many throughout this difficult time. Either they passed from contracting the disease, or they had to stay away in order to assure older adults in the family were safe.
The University of Exeter in the United Kingdom shared results of a study in January 2021 with conclusions that “loneliness in adults aged 50 and over during the COVID-19 lockdown was linked to worsening depressive and other mental health symptoms.”
That is no surprise, especially when we are being told our value is no longer appreciated. Retire…stay home…don’t be a burden….stay away from loved ones…. you are most vulnerable….
I HEAR THE VOICES OF OLDER ADULTS DAILY
This is no surprise, and I see it in the messages and emails from the audience. You can hear the frustrations, loneliness, fear and sadness from many women who are just trying to process everything.
I recently ran into another local blogger for this age group, and someone she knows told her “Our time is done.”
That one comment made me bristle and inwardly shout…NO WAY! Can you imagine a world without the wisdom, maturity, influence and history of its elders?? To me that is frightening.
Then I was asked to participate in a special Instagram Post for women over 50. The questions really took me aback…did you fear the future after you turned 50…do you fear death…how do you stay optimistic….I was honestly shocked. Usually, questions for social media posts like this are more upbeat. Fear has ruled the day and shut down too many.
OLDER ADULTS MUST NOT STOP LIVING
Our Time is Now more than ever before….we must find ways to make a difference in the lives of our communities, families, and friends. We cannot allow a disease or politics from the disease to quite our voices or shut us down. By the way, this is not encouraging you to break laws or get out if you are not ready. It is simply to say…let’s have a plan and not sit idle.
RENEWED PURPOSE is what can stop depression and even help to deliver joy to our daily lives. There are many purposes for Women 50+ in this current world….we are not done.
This is a new mission for me personally… To inspire you to realize our involvement is needed now more than ever before whether it happens from a kitchen table or eye-to-eye.
I am working on ideas of how to show you that we are critically important to our cultures and our communities. I know this has been hard for everyone, but the idea that some may use it to quiet the voices of “the experienced” really, really concerns me. We are ALL influencers in some ways…and it is time to snap out of it, dust ourselves off and get back in the game. No matter your current situation with lock downs, you can still make a difference. You have value, perhaps more than you know.
Watch for more to come, always be hopeful and….
By Pamela Lutrell