Ageism and Rhetoric: Challenges Across Generations

For the second month in a row, the remarkable Hallmark Retirement Community hosted the Chicago Bridge monthly event. At the May event, the ever-hospitable Chris Driesbach graciously welcomed Bridge members. The group that gathered was small, but closely knit and all were able to get to know each other better while munching on delectable mini quiches and fried cheesecake. ShyAnne Sanders, Eldercare Consultant with LivHome brought her colleague Cheryl Kuba, Manager of Professional Services at LivHome, who presented on ageism found in language.

Cheryl, the author of Navigating the Journey of Aging Parents, further punctuated the familial feel of the event with her welcoming nature. She invited Bridge members to contemplate how we speak to and about older individuals and advocated that we show reverence to them through language.

The presentation was not only educational, but also entirely interactive and enjoyable. It included a brainstorming session on names that we were called when we were younger which yielded names like carrot top, or buckeroo, and others that will go unmentioned. Attendees were then engaged in a Jeopardy game that introduced common terms from a by gone era. Healthy competition, prizes, and laughter abounded.

By the end of the evening, all in attendance were left with a grave reminder to meticulously select our verbiage. Truly, words hold an immense amount of power and leave a wake of emotions with them. Sometimes we forget the influence we have when we open our mouth and form words or use our fingers to type our thoughts into the world. This presentation helped us to improve the way we talk to and about older adults and reminded us to do so with a great deal of respect.

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