People are living longer, and the baby boomers are aging. More than 77 million baby boomers are now 52 to 70 years old. In a little over a decade, the youngest of them will be 65.
After all these years, one would figure that the stereotypes about seniors would have lessened. But there is still that misrepresentation that the younger population can’t shake. Looks can be very deceiving to people who have not yet hit the senior age range.
One interesting thing about today’s senior population is that they are different from the generation before them. They grew up in the ’60s, which were full of experimentation. The ’70s were filled with political awareness. People became more open about what they felt they deserved in life.
The baby boomer generation wanted to break away from the way their parents and grandparents lived. They believed in a freedom that was never truly discussed previously. They wanted to speak out.
They saw and heard the likes of Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Rosa Parks, and so many more who used their voices to cause positive change.
Growing up in a world full of change has given the senior population a certain hipness that enables them to relate to younger generations.
But stereotypical views of senior citizens are still alive and well. Younger people sometimes think that seniors are mentally incompetent, they can’t learn or change, they are grouchy or boring, do not like romance, are not interested in sexual activity, and that they act and feel old.
Certainly there are many seniors that have physical and-or mental ailments from aging. There are many that are grouchy and resist change. But to lump all seniors in one bowl is unfair and ridiculous.
It is time for the younger generation to let go of their false notions.
Like generations before them, today’s seniors want to be able to live in their own homes as long as possible. They want to be safe and to be treated with respect, free from prejudice.
In-home care gives seniors the choice of remaining in their homes. It is up to the caregivers to give senior clients the respect they deserve, to treat them with kindness and maybe even listen to their stories. A lot can be learned about history from someone who lived through it.
If you are a caregiver on the younger side and meet a boomer client for the first time, do not think in a stereotypical way. Ask him if he went to Woodstock.
An experienced caregiver, Zena Smith holds a master’s degree in Administration of Human Services and is the co-owner of At Your Door home care agency.