According to Matt Thornhill, When we as older adults change how we think, feel, and and act about getting older we can change the culture around aging.
It's no secret that we live in an ageist society and whether we know it or not, contribute to perpetuating ageist attitudes. In doing so, we continue to perpetuate the last bastion of the isms...ageism.
Central to the issue is that though we may feel lovingly about the older adults in our families or amongst our friends, as a society we don't feel the same way towards the older adults in our communities. They are not valued as they are in other cultures where elders are viewed with respect and sought out for their wisdom.
How can we turn around these negative attitudes towards older adults?
I agree with Matt Thornhill. We must embrace our elder hood years, embrace our longevity journey. This involves changing our mindset about how we see ourselves.
I'm sure we can all identify words or phrases we have heard that reflect ageist attitudes. We see and hear them all around us but we probably don't realize the things we say or think about ourselves. Stigmatizing societal attitudes become internalized long before we reach the senior years of our lives.
When we describe ourselves or refer to ourselves as old, we are merely reinforcing a stereotype. However, irrespective of a person's age, old can be thought of as a mind state or mindset. One way to counteract this mindset is by choosing to live an engaged life. This must be a purposeful and intentional choice, a choice to live every day to the highest potential or ability at any point in time. People who live in this way are not in denying the reality of the end of life, but rather realized that life is meant to be lived.
We are the ship in our life’s journey. It is our attitude that is the driving force steering our ship. We have to remain intentional and mindful, caring for and tending to our attitude. If not, we allow ourselves to fall prey to the pitfalls of life, as with a ship that strays off course when encountering rough waters, we will drift into a kind of holding pattern letting the water and waves take us where they will. This is an act of surrendering.
Embrace your elder hood years. Join the movement at: openlygray.org.
For 40 years, Matt Thornhill has been studying consumer behavior and trends, first as an advertising executive on Madison Avenue, then as an interactive marketing pioneer and for the last 20 years as a futurist and the nation’s leading authority on Boomer consumers.
He has advised companies and organizations across the globe, including Walmart, Google, AARP, Proctor & Gamble, Verizon, and the Social Security Administration, and he’s delivered memorable keynote addresses at national conferences and company events across dozens of industry sectors.
Matt has provided commentary on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, CNN, CNBC, and PBS. He’s appeared in articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and countless magazines.
A serial entrepreneur, Matt has left his think tank and consulting to create and build a new type of community of smaller homes for middle-income Boomers at this stage of
life called: Cozy Home Community, which addresses the largely unmet need of affordable housing and community living that encourages social connections with
neighbors helping neighbors.
You can find more information about these communities at cozyhomecommunity.com.
Matt has also launched the Openly Gray movement, a nonprofit fighting age discrimination by encouraging older adults themselves to change how they think, feel, and act about growing older. Change our attitude, change the culture around aging.
Join the movement at: openlygray.org