Why Age is Just a Number: Resisting Ageism in all its Forms
Close your eyes and picture someone you consider to be a senior. What do you see? What do you think? Do words like worldly, intelligent and experienced come quickly to mind? Or do you more rapidly think of words like infirm, vulnerable and frail? Unfortunately, many people consider the latter description, a phenomenon that has been described as “ageism”, a term coined in the late 1960s to describe a way of thinking about older adults based on negative attitudes and general stereotypes not grounded in reality.
According to research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), ageism has become increasingly prevalent in our global society. The WHO believe that ageism may now be more pervasive than sexism or racism and has been found to have serious consequences on individuals. Ageism has been associated with poorer health, social isolation, earlier death and significant negative impacts to global economies as the contributions of older adults are dismissed or discounted.
In March 2021, the WHO released a report identifying ageism as a global challenge and called for urgent action to combat ageism and to implement reporting to expose ageism for what it is, “an insidious scourge on society.” The report specifically identified the age-based stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination that manifest through the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, when ageistic attitudes aimed to limit opportunities to “secure the health, well-being and dignity of people everywhere.” The WHO called on all countries to use evidence-based strategies to change “how we think, feel and act towards age and ageing.”
At Tapestry, we firmly resist ageism and efforts to define people by the number of birthdays they have celebrated. We know from experience that age is only a number and that sweeping generalizations about physical and cognitive ability based on age are wildly inappropriate.
We couldn’t agree more. In Tapestry communities, we have residents over 80-years-old that regularly run 10 kilometres, teach classes, mentor students and participate in philanthropic activities. Our residents are beacons for shifting the paradigm on aging, demonstrating that you can remain physically healthy and mentally alert by living in a wellness-focused community that offers endless opportunities for social connection and engagement.
What makes Tapestry’s focus on wellness so different from other seniors’ communities?
- Tapestry takes a holistic approach considering all 7 Dimensions of Wellness and anchors this perspective into all aspects of community operations.
- Our culinary program balances exceptional taste with nutrition recognizing that how we fuel our bodies is an essential ingredient in staying healthy and well.
- Our employees partner in the creation of our wellness environment, inspiring opportunities for shared experiences that enrich mind, body and soul.
One thing you will never hear at Tapestry is that an activity or program is impossible due to age. We don’t place limits on life experiences because others believe they may not be age appropriate. We know as individuals age, they want to continue to pursue their purpose and passions, share their time, talent and treasure with others, and contribute to the community in a powerful way, remaining personally relevant and sustaining their resiliency.