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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Journey of Meditation

Mindfulness is a somewhat complex therapeutic description of using meditation as a primary health factor. Over the last several years I have strengthened my understanding of of meditation by following the doctors” informational presentations on their website.

For more info visit their site.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Compating Ageism Step 1

          Combating Ageism   Step I

   Larry Anderson ,   Yongjie Yon

Some time ago Yongjie and I, using Erdman Palmore’s Ageism Survey, conducted a research project that examined the prevalence and patterns of ageism in British Columbia  In 2004 Palmore gathered information in partnership with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) news Letter.  Our research project was started in 2006 using senior’s recreation centres in suburban British Columbia.  In the spring of 2007, we expanded our scope to cover the rest of British Columbia.  This included survey publication in The Senior Connector, a survey distributed by the Council of Senior Citizen Organizations (COSCO), participation by a large seniors trailer park and by some senior’s organizations outside the Lower Mainland.
Combined responses from these sources were rank ordered and patterns of correlations found. This study is a step toward understanding the prevalence of ageist experiences in Canada. 
Now I would like to use my blogspot to take another step toward ageism reduction.  First I will display Dr. Palmore’s Ageism Survey and wait several weeks before I print up the ageist correlations found in our study. To me it would be very exciting to have persons from all over the world examine their lives using the ageism survey.  I’m not expecting you to send your ageist experiences to me; although that would be great, but I do hope that looking at the results of Yongjie and I’s project (step 2) will help increase the opportunities for you to discuss this topic among with your friends, family and others.  So here is the survey (Step 1)

The Ageism Survey

1. I was told a joke that pokes fun at old people.
2. I was sent a birthday card that pokes fun at old people.
3. I was ignored or not taken seriously because of my age.
4. I was called an insulting name related to my age.
5. I was patronized or “talked down to” because of my age.
6. I was refused rental housing because of my age.
7. I had difficulty getting a loan because of my age.
8. I was denied a position of leadership because of my age.
9. I was rejected as unattractive because of my age.
10. I was treated with less dignity and respect because of my age.
11. A waiter or waitress ignored me because of my age.
12. A doctor or nurse assumed my ailments were caused by my age.
13. I was denied medical treatment because of my age.
14. I was denied employment because of my age.
15. I was denied promotion because of my age.
16. Someone assumed I could not hear well because of my age.
17. Someone assumed I could not understand because of my age.
18. Someone told me, “You’re too old for that.”
19. My house was vandalized because of my age.
20. I was victimized by a criminal because of my age.

Survey © Copyright 2000 by Erdman Palmore. (Use permission granted)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting Past Ageism Continued

10. Build intergenerational bridges to promote better understanding.

Ageism often builds in the context of ignorance. The more generations realize they are connected to each other throughout the lifespan and affect each others' wellbeing, the greater the opportunities for reducing negative attitudes against young and old, alike.

  11. Provide support for organizations that address ageism.

There are a number of organizations that advocate for better treatment and greater acceptance of older adults. Their influence and effectiveness depends, to some extent, on their membership size and the adequacy of their finances. Join. Be involved. Be part of a positive solution.

12. Push for changes from your elected representative.

Policies that perpetuate ageism can be changed if enough people let the appropriate politicians know that they want this change. Keep informed on key aging issues and policies. Know the names of government officials to contact

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting Past Ageism Continued

  8. Watch our language.

Most of us, including health professionals, health advocates and consumers use terms and expressions that may perpetuate ageism. We depersonalize older adults by referring to them generically as "the elderly" or "our seniors".

 9. Talk openly about aging issues and ageism.

The more ageism and age discrimination remain hidden, the more people believe it is acceptable to act this way. Show and recognize the heterogeneity of seniors. Older adults are not all the same. Let
others see real older people - people who are resourceful, articulate and creative, who are familiar as valued friends or coworkers. Also include older adults who have conditions that may limit their abilities in some ways; they are not limited in other ways. People who do not fit the stereotype are a powerful way to fight ageism.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Journey with Mediatation

    My initial understanding of meditation came through a relationship with one of my former students several years ago. He was raised in a Buddhist household and is still a good Buddhist on his way to a PhD.  Christian parents raised me but I am not a religious person now. This does not reduce my commitment to meditation.  I mention this because the process of meditation has been connected with religious organizations for centuries. 
         Most of my adult life I have not been a religious person. But for the last five or six years I have made it a point to study and frequently practice meditation. Examples of its importance to me are briefly discussed below[i]
         There are two factors that become more transparent through the practice of meditation; breathing and mental processes. From our births effective breathing and healthy hearts are the primary forces that keep us alive.
         Being a psychologist I was and still am very interested in mental processes displayed by meditation. More recently, as I age , I have also come to understand more about the foundation of deep breathing and its relationship to living a healthy life. 
         On one hand the importance of breathing is so obvious to non- medical persons that we seldom “think” about slow relaxed deep breathing.  It does come up in social relationships when someone tells us to “take a deep breath” and slow down.
         On the other hand deep slow breathing is a key factor in meditation.  It helps us become aware of our “attachements” which are thought processes such as our names, what we do for a living and strong feelings such as fear, anger, and pride. 
         I have different types of word patterns to help me lessen my attachments and return attention to my breathing.  For instance when I am walking I count my steps. As I breath in I count 1 2 3 4 steps. With a couple of seconds in between I then breath out I counting 5 6 7 8 steps. When I am driving my car I silently chant a Buddhist chant “Nom Me-a-ho Renge Kyo. “ Using these two tools I become more aware when “attachements” arise like worries or memories and attempt to take over the “here and now.”
         Another way that I “use” meditation is when I wake up during the night and am having a difficult time getting back to sleep. I begin to use the “Nom--- “ chant and soon fall asleep. 
          I would like to mention that I have Tinnitus, a ringing in my ears. There are two sound patterns. One is a steady whistle and the other reflects my heartbeat. Particularly when I am returning to sleep I like to listen to my heartbeat and am now listening to it as I close this short essay.
         I think that I may have made practicing meditation sound too easy. It takes time and dedicated effort. During my journey I have read several very useful books.  Two of them are listed below[ii]

[i] Goddard, Phil H. Maharishi International University (1992) Transcendental            meditation in the aging of neurocognitive function: Reduced age-related             declines of P300 latencies in elderly practitioners. Order number 9228949
[ii]  Tolle, Eckhart, (1999).  The Power of Now: A Guide to spiritual enlightenment,             Namaste Publishing and New World Library, Navato, California

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Further Steps to Combat Ageism

  7. Speak up about ageism.

When someone you know uses ageist language or images, tactfully let them know about the inaccuracy. Educate them about the correct meaning.  When someone disparages a senior, tells a joke that ridicules them, or makes disrespectful comments about an older person, we can let them know that this is hurtful and that as seniors or advocates we find the comments offensive and harmful.

  8. Watch our language.

Most of us, including health professionals, health advocates and consumers use terms and expressions that may perpetuate ageism. We depersonalize older adults by referring to them generically as "the elderly" or "our seniors".

Friday, January 13, 2012

More information about combating ageism

6. Monitor media and respond to ageist material.

Changing the typically negative ways in which older adults are portrayed in news programs, commercials, films and television shows that reach millions of people on a daily basis is necessary if ageism is to be reduced. Write a letter to or e-mail the editor, TV sponsor or movie producer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

  4. Learn more about ageism and discrimination.

It is very common for older adults to face discrimination in housing, health, and other key  services. They may be treated as burdens on services, excluded from or simply refused admission to services.  Learn to recognize when "neutral policies" are not "neutral" in their effect on seniors. Also recognize how ageism intersects with other "isms" such as sexism or racism. and

5. Listen to seniors who have experienced ageism.
They are in the best position to tell us how ageism affects their lives.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

3. Learn More About Aging

The better informed we are about aging and what to expect, the better we are able to evaluate and resist many of the inaccurate and negative stereotypes of aging. (For instance Erdman Palmore who is one of the experts on the topic has just released a new book on aging called  “Older can be Bolder”: One hundred and one answers to your questions about aging).  For more information go to Erdman has done a great deal of work in helping us to understand the major factors of life as we age and it was his work a number of years ago that got me into the study of ageism.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2. Go Beyond Stereotypes of Aging

     Recognize that a label like "elderly" or "seniors" tells us little about what to expect from the person. These labels do not tell us whether the person is kind or uncaring, healthy or her health is diminishing, mentally capable or mentally incapable, a reliable or an unreliable worker or volunteer. Labels do not tell us about the person's capacity for friendship or creativity or accomplishment. Address ageism by highlighting older adults' individual, collective, and lifelong contributions to our society. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Do We Get Past Ageism?

This material was provided by the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.  There are twelve points made. I will be putting them on my blog over the next few weeks. If you are in a hurry to read them you can google the Network cite.

 1. Identify the myths and mis-information.

Recognize the myths about aging and negative attitudes about older adults. Start challenging the myths. There are many erroneous beliefs in our society - e.g. that older adults' lives are less valuable and older adults are less deserving of having their rights respected; that older adults feel emotional pain less or do not have sexual feelings; or that older adults are largely responsible for growing health care or other social costs.