Older adults must not be silenced…our time is now!

Older adults must not be silenced...our time is now!

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

Older Adults Must Not Be Silenced...Our Time is Now

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

Older Adults Must Not Be Silenced...our time is now!

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

Older Adults Must Not Be silenced...our time is now

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….

 

KEEP SMILING!!

By Pamela Lutrell

48 Comments

  1. Yes, you go, girl! It’s very late here (or very early, depending on your angle to the clock) so my support will be short but emphatic. I love this, Pam. It is SO important. I’ve never been Nice & Quiet & have been fighting to have women’s voices heard for 4 decades. Now I’m in my 60s, I’m experiencing a whole new realm of people attempting to silence me. Not gonna happen. I look around at all the strong women lifting their voices in your country & mine these days & how those who fear them & their ideas keep trying to shut them up. A lot of them are older women & they carry the wisdom of our history — look at all those powerful Black women speaking up now about the hard reality of a racist world. A lot of people would REALLY like them to be quiet! But everyone of us has something worth saying & we must not allow anyone to convince us to keep it to ourselves or think “our time is done”. Heck, my time at this new age & in this “new” world has just begun!

    1. Yes…we all do have something to say. Thanks Janet. In this space, I will focus on how we all can encourage others to love all people without labels.

  2. I completely agree with you. Proverbs 31:25 perfectly describes how I have felt about this whole past year. I continued on with life, continued to go out, looked for opportunities to be out and not locked away in fear. My trust is in God and His plan for my life. He alone has numbered my days and has not called me to live in fear. I believe I have wisdom to offer my family (when asked)). I believe I have purpose and my life has meaning. I believe, as long as God gives me breath, He has things for me to do, there is fun to be had and there are new experiences to embrace. It’s very sad to hear older women say they are washed up, so to speak. I had a friend over last week who basically said that, also bemoaned little signs of aging. It was sad and out of character, but she was sincere. We talked about the differences in our outlooks, and I seriously will continue to get out and live, embracing the fact that God is giving me more life to enjoy. I will be safe, but I’m not waiting for some change that may never come. There is a lot of life to enjoy. It’s a gift!

  3. Thank you so much for this “Monday Motivation”. 2020 was definitely a hard year for many. With all the restrictions we could not be out as freely as we wanted and many service agencies were closed due to the pandemic. Now that things are slowly opening back up and I have had my vaccine, we can get out there and serve others. I agree with Karen’s comments, we could not let fear and depression get hold of us. Our trust has been in God to see us through this. I am in a new stage in life as I retired at the end of 2020 in the midst of all of this and moved on top of that. So we are finding our new purpose in a new place and home with new opportunities to serve others.

  4. Enjoyed this post today, I totally agree that women especially feel silenced and invisible when they read the 50+ age. I have felt this way for a very long time and I am 70. To me it is very hurtful and demeaning and makes me feel that I am invisible to man kind. I know my mind works all these things for my feelings. I look forward to reading more concerning this issue and hearing from other women. Thank you

    1. Dianne, you have so much to offer. Do not shrink back. Enjoy life each day and look forward ways to engage with others. You are special!

  5. Pam, you are absolutely right! And, now is the time we need to support each other! We have the wisdom and strength to help society be better. Thank you for providing an outlet of support.

  6. Good morning Pamela, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for everything you shared and your view points on what we have all been through. It’s not been easy and at times very difficult on so many levels. At the end of the day no matter what our circumstances are what is left is how we respond to what is. I really like your way of viewing a situation and to try and rise above all the negative news that has been surrounding us for the past year. Depression is such a difficult thing to deal with because we can’t see it, and for those that struggle with this the Pandemic such made their issues so much worse. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so important to never lose HOPE.
    Thank God for science and people like Dr. Anthony Fauci that gave me peace of mind and made sense of what is and know we will get through this together.
    YOU are appreciated, so enjoyed your wisdom this morning and keen insights. I really like Proverbs 31:25, it speaks to me.

  7. Another wonderful post this morning, thank you so much! I appreciate reading your positive view of the world. I found you through Jennifer Connolly’s blog whose style is more aligned with mine but I keep reading your posts because I feel like we are friends having a conversation over a cup of tea. Your warmth and caring comes through on each and every post.

  8. Very important message, Pam! I think 2020 has provided an opportunity for women of a certain age to be examples of resilience and encouragement to our families. For my 30something children, last year was their “9/11” and it was important they they understand that our country has endured through political strife, tragedy, health crises and that we will endure and evolve. The challenges of distance learning for the grandchildren while my daughter and her husband work from home has been daunting. The fears of my first responder son and his health care professional wife of being out in the community has been tremendous. We were fortunate to be close by to provide childcare for their babies, some supervision of the school age kids, and plenty of reassuring advice. It’s important for our mental health to tune out angry rhetoric, be positive and life affirming in crisis, and demonstrate the wisdom that comes from a life time of experiences. My voice may not be heard by a large audience, but I believe it is still valued in my family, which is the most important community in my life. We found new ways to connect with family and friends, and reduced contact with negative or angry people. There have been painful losses, illnesses, anxieties, but there have been many blessings, too. Let’s carry on!

  9. Great post! Our society is one of the few that doesn’t appreciate the wisdom of it’s older citizens.
    I’m becoming more vocal with age. I simply will not be silenced. I continue to speak up and out, whether they want to hear it or not. I am aging out loud.

  10. I am interested in this conversation, though my voice may not be what you want to hear. I have always been “nice and quiet”. An introvert. I like myself that way. I have a sister three states away, no other family. My medication suppresses my immunity. The doctors say the vaccine only “modestly” protects me. I am not the only one in this situation.
    Yes, I feel some fear each day, but I am not “living in fear.” I follow careful procedures. I have begun attending some small outdoors gatherings, masked. I do not know if I will ever again attend indoor events, including church or my beloved theater.
    And, yes, I am done with some things. I love my clothes and jewelry, but I have no need for them, and I am no longer interested in make-up and hair.
    I feel good in the mornings. I have adopted a plant-based diet this year and have lost 50 lbs. I walk an hour a day, masked. I read, cook, clean and listen to podcasts. I love keeping up with my women’s blogs. I enjoy your fashion and style vicariously.

    1. Of course we want to hear you! All voices around this issue should be heard! Good to here you are working to be healthy with diet and exercise!

  11. Pamela, you’ve chosen a very valuable topic, both timely & critical. As a woman in her mid 80’s I see those who are in their 50’s & 60’s as being in their real prime of life; for many this will be when one hits their stride in multiple ways.

    I spent decades with responsibilities to others, actively involved in family, work & community; now these past few years is “my time”…I am grateful for it’s freedoms.

    That said, I recognize how important it is to have a strong core of self-esteem as others can be dismissive, as well as demeaning, with little understanding or interest in what we did or who we are. Strong, flexible boundaries need to be in place to be able to emotionally “let it go” without capitulating to such. No matter the age, we are individuals with a host of talents, experiences, needs and wants. Be respectful of them.

    Pamela, whatever you do to bolster the recognition of ourselves first is essential; being far more important than seeking it outside ourselves. Being in touch with our most authentic selves while giving ourselves choices that feed self expression..leads to truly satisfying days.

  12. Thank you for your post this morning. I completely agree with you. I am a 73 year old woman who is a widow and retired. So going from employment where I had daily contact with the public and moving to a new city and into a condo which I have found people to not be very friendly was quite a challenge. It has forced me to step out of my comfort zone by volunteering, finding a new church and forging new friendships. When Covid hit I realized there are many people who live alone and do not have much daily contact with people so I started waving and smiling to all the people I drive by in the condo area or who walk by my place. It was a slow start but I am starting to see people smile and wave back instead of looking at me like I was crazy. It may sound silly but if it makes someone feel like they are being seen as a person then it makes my day brighter.

    1. I love this! Something as simple as a smile and a wave can make a huge difference to so many right now!

  13. Wonderful post. Can’t wait to see more of these. As long as God keeps us on this earth, there is a purpose and we have important things to do. Sometimes all we need to do is be there for someone, or to just serve the Lord by doing something to make someone’s day brighter or lighten their load.

  14. When the pandemic hit us in March of 2020 and I was off work for several months, my husband and I embarked on a YouTube channel about our efforts to restore our family woodlot. It has been a learning experience for sure, as I have taught myself video editing, but an exciting new endeavour. We not only can, but must, stay engaged and active in our communities. We are needed more than ever in these trying times. Keep up the great work you are doing, Pam.

  15. Such an excellent post today, Pam! I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments here — and am gladdened by this positive place for women of our age!

    Thank you!

  16. Bravo! These are words the world needs to hear. All of us are at different places in our lives, but we all have value & matter. Each of us must decide for ourselves how we will handle today & each day moving forward. I refuse to live in fear, but that doesn’t mean I will reckless. As the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. (2Timothy 1:7)

  17. Prior to the pandemic, as a woman in her 60’s, I didn’t feel silenced, I was beginning to feel ignored. Maybe it’s the same thing, but watching a lot of TV as I do, I was noticing that most shows, commercials etc. were focused on young families, that is mothers, fathers, with young children or babies. It seems that the focus/marketing was/is on young families, as if the older population didn’t count. As if we were never mothers or fathers and didn’t go through all the same things that the younger set (our kids and grandkids) are going through now. Frankly, I’m insulted by that. The only commercials for that set is for medications! How insulting. Whether we feel “silenced” or ignored via TV or otherwise, I won’t have it! I still have a lot to live and a lot to give and will live my life helping and doing for others the best I can. That’s why your post, Pam, is so great! We are not “done.” There is so much to look forward to. We have a voice and we must lift up other voices as well. I look forward to more to come from you on this. BRAVO!

  18. I wasn’t sure if I got your point. Nothing about the last year has made me feel “less then”. Then I remembered Texas’ Lt. Gov. suggesting seniors die off for the economy.

    1. Hi Lily, I am not going to go too much into what Dan Patrick said, but you have taken a headline that was wrong. Listen to the entire interview and you will understand the point he was making. Dan Patrick is a grandfather who supports these age groups. As to your question about my point? Well, as I said I have heard from many who feel sad, shut down and done after the pandemic hit those 60 and above so hard. It concerned me that so many feel like their time is over anc they are no longer needed. So I want to encourage all that we are needed and need to stay active and in the game!

  19. The worst thing I have seen during the past year is that so many people are living in abject fear. Many are much younger than I am and they seem to think they are living during the time of the Black Death. They have no underlying health issues and yet are terrifed. One friend told me that I was “so brave” because I go to the grocery store and get out and about. I suggested she turn off her constant round of doom and gloom on TV but she said she had to “keep up with the news” and TV was all she had. The virus seems to have impacted the mental health of this country and many others in a way that is appalling. Love your blog. Thank you.

  20. Well Done – I have been out and about during this past year heeding my my mother’s advice “Wash your hands, don”t touch your fact, if sick stay home, don’t stay around sick people – Some people are living in fear – I know some who have NOT been outside their homes since last February. Here in Honolulu we can be outside 365 days a year!!! Ladies – Keep it up – don’t be foolish, don’t live in fear, GET OUTSIDE!!!

  21. So agree with you, Pamela. As in my mid seventies, I have absolutely no intention of becoming silent … ☺…. as may come by it honestly since my Great Grandfather was the proprietor and editor of his own newspaper for fifty-four years; during which time both he and my Great Grandmother also weathered two World Wars, the Spanish Flu – Typhoid -Diphtheria – Polio and a host of other adversities. Briefly and fast forward; as I explained to a friend of mine at the beginning of the pandemic; ‘we were once the pupils of previous generations but now it is our time to be the teachers and express our voice of reason as well as encouragement during these unsettling times’.
    -Brenda-

  22. At 60 I woke up in a world that I no longer knew where I fit in. Yes affirmations from
    friends who were much more excited about this birthday than I was…and articles celebrating this milestone made me feel somehow less than….I wasn’t excited. This is for those of us out there who need time…time to grieve our youth, childbearing years, lost loves and divorce. I suggest gently, we quietly smile and remember what made us laugh, cry, smile, and dance to the Stones all night and know it WILL be alright….one day ❤️ Because way deep down? We know it will be alright.

  23. Thank you for the Proverbs verse! It made me realize that it’s time for me to shed my fear-based life. I also appreciate your wisdom and the wisdom of your followers. At 59, I’ve found myself becoming a shrinking violet at work–that will change, beginning today!

  24. Thank you, Pamela. I’ve been looking all morning for blogs that focus on something other than how women can feel better about themselves as they age by LOOKING better and/or trying to act or feel younger–women bring such incredible value to the world and each other AS we age, so I’m thrilled to find your site. You’re right that countering the messages we receive about aging has become even more difficult during the pandemic–and the messages more alarming–so I do what I’ve done for the last twenty years: look to women older than myself for inspiration and advice. I found my voice, a renewed sense of confidence, and the freedom to walk around the limiting messages I had grown up with when I interviewed six women over 80 as I approached middle age (I’m 66 now) and wrote a book about it. These days, anyone who suggests my value has diminished will find they’ve said that to the wrong woman, although I’ve learned how to respond with less emotion, more clarity. and even with compassion. Thanks again for your thoughts.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Jenney! So happy to have your join us…we do love to talk clothing and beauty, but I have lately felt like there is much more to say and focus upon. I hope to encourage women who are shrinking back.

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