Translate this page

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ageism and Youth Continued

More About  Ageism and Youth[i]

         This post is an addition to a recent one dealing with the experiences of young children that may lead to adult attitudes of ageism.  Most of the research was gathered in Taiwan but Western material is also considered. In the beginning of the article it is stated that in Taiwan elementary schools “…older people are often portrayed in school textbooks as insignificant, unhealthy, sad, passive, and dependent. That is, ageism emerges in school textbooks in subtle ways.”   The study also reports that “…Taiwan, in fact, has aged faster than any other country in the world.”  The article goes on to state that ‘under the atmosphere of ageism, younger generations, on one hand, discriminate against older people: and on the other hand they are anxious about their own aging.”
         Analysis finds that few older people appear in Taiwan’s textbooks. “Over 96% of textbook pages contain no older characters or aging issues.” Is this true for the textbooks of your children?  The article cites other studies, which assert “…that older people are always portrayed as grandparents or as passive and minor characters.” As far as work is concerned “…older people in textbooks are described to be engaged in leisure and unproductive activities , such  as fishing, walking, gardening, or sitting in a rocking chair.”
On a positive note it is reported that “… 82.4% of older people are characterized with positive personality; only 2.1% are characterized negatively.” 
         At the same time some sexism appears; “…knowledgeable and active roles were always older men and never women…older women, under sexism and ageism are doubly peripheralized. Actually, older women are more active and positive than older men in real life.”  The article cites a study from the UK that that tells us “…women participating in the University of the Third Age outnumber men in the UK by a ratio of four to one. Therefore, the textbooks should present the real images and pictures of older women to avoid aging and gender stereotypes.”
         In the  Conclusion Section of the article it is stated that “First of all, Taiwanese textbooks, similar to the textbooks of western countries, pay little attention to aging education.  Over 96% of elementary school textbooks in Taiwan have no older characters or aging issues.  Secondly, older women under sexism and ageism, do not have equal status with older men.
         Finally , the majority of older people in textbooks are described as being engaged in leisurely unproductive activities…. But the a difference from western societies is that they do not often describe older people as sick and dependant people.  They also see elders as having positive personality characteristics and finally “…intergenerational relationship is recognized in Taiwanese elementary school textbooks, albeit the relationship between the two generations is very narrow and limited.

[i]  Chin-Shan, H. (2011). Aging Education in Elementary School Textbooks in Taiwan. Educational Gerontology ,37: 235-247,Copyright C             Taylor and Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 0360-1277 print / 1521-0472 online
             DOI: 10.1080/03601271003608837

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Retirement Workshop

Retirement Workshop Advert!!!!!!!!!

         This Fall Mr. Aidan Reid, a manager at Edward Jones Investment Company and I will be presenting a four-hour retirement workshop, Living Well in Retirement for Third Age Learning at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (TALK).
Retirement has different meanings to different people. Some people stop working completely with levels of ambivalence. Some people cut back on their hours gradually and consider themselves semi-retired. There are also those people who cut back on their hours and say they will keep working until they die. On the other end some people can hardly wait to retire, Planning involves not only financial but social factors. Consider and be prepared to discuss the following questions. Dr. Anderson will concentrate on the non-financial factors and Mr. Reid will help participants improve their understanding of the financial side of retirement.

What are:
a. the three most important financial questions  necessary for the successful retirement 
b. the three most important non-financial questions necessary for successful retirement
         If you are interested in having a retirement workshop with your organization please contact me at

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paying Attention To What We're Doing

“Haste Makes Waste”

         For a long time I have heard the above phrase and from a cognitive standpoint I thought I knew what it means.  For instance, if you’re in a hurry you may forget to do something.  I imagine that we have all been in that kind of a situation.

         Also, if we follow the phrase “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.”     Where in the h…  did I put my car keys??
People may say: “Time is Gold” which means nothing would be considered as valuable as time. Loosing time and money would be doubled since the person should start from the start point. From and academic standpoint there are myriad of ways for saving money and time favor of researches and contacting experts in the related fields.
Again haste makes waste. We are not machines. We can't rush through things mechanically. If we do, we might forget something; we might take shortcuts. By taking our time, we can do a chore carefully, completely, and correctly.
         In the contemporary world where, everything is happening so fast most of us rush badly to get his or her things done faster. This is very true in some cases but in today's world all the things seem to be moving fast. So one has to be fast to get into the competition, though it doesn’t mean that you should become impatient and do the things hastily and just mess it up
         Most of my life I have depended on well-learned activities and my behaviour often happens “automatically” without thought. But over the last six months I have acquired a deeper personal understanding of the term. Time is the “here and now” And it’s very important that I pay attention to what I’m  doing not matter how many times I do it. 
         For example taking a glass out of the cupboard. If I don’t slow down I might drop it; I have.  I don’t talk on my cell phone when I’m driving and I don’t listen to the car radio. I need to pay attention to what I’m doing. 
         But further than that I have become clumsier and make mistakes when doing things A couple of days ago I walked into the large tent we have in the side yard, went over to a chair, turned around and sat on it.  The chair immediately fell backwards with me in it. I hadn’t taken the time to check it’s firmness and the back legs were three inches further down than the front ones. I wasn’t hurt but I was embarrassed 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Retirement Stratagies

Along The Paths of Retirement

         Retirement is defined as leaving the paid labor force. Many people think that it is a single event; a happy one if they are financially secure and are retiring voluntarily and not so happy if they are financially challenged and/or are being forced to leave social connections and/or their work identities behind. 
         I voluntarily retired at the end of last August. I had been preparing to do so for some time, including the creation of this blog and workshops including humor, wisdom and retirement  The workshops are created for both those doing pre-retirement planning, and those who have already have already left work.  And I have not left Kwantlen entirely. In the spring 2012 I signed up as a substitute teacher and have been called once so far.
         According to Robert Atchley, a highly respected gerontologist, rather than thinking of retirement as a single event, it can be better understood as series of adjustments[i].  Not everyone goes through all of them.  See if any of the following three possible paths may reflect your experience. They are:
     1. The honeymoon path is a happy time; especially for those with good financial status when a person attempts to do all the things that he or she never had time to do while working.  Traveling is a frequent choice. (Not me)
     2. Another option is immediate retirement routine. Many of us already have activities besides work.  For instance I volunteer and the local seniors centre and am creating a series of workshops that will not only benefit the community but also help me financially. I’m keeping busy with my blog and workshop activities. My next workshop with be presented to TALK.  In words it’s Third Age Learning At Kwantlen
     3. The last option is rest and relaxation during which individuals sit back, relax and catch up on their reading. This period may last several years and then we pick up on our previous level of activity. I have been reading a lot of novels but I am also following research articles and I am following my wife developing Acrylic Painting
         Retirees may also experience disenchantment.  Honeymoons don’t last forever. We may miss our work and feel a lack of productivity. Or we might experience the death of a loved one or be forced to move from our neighborhood and community. These experiences may last several years before we can return to our previous level of activity. In extreme cases we may experience depression. Fortunately the proportion of people who become depressed is reported to be quite small
         The return to activity is seen as a reorientation period during which we re-evaluate our situation and become more realistic in our choices.  We can then develop more satisfying routines.
         In planning for retirement it’s important to remember that, as a society we are increasing our longevity.  Retirement can last a long time and continues to require adaptation. 

[i]   Robert Atchley --  Retirement as a Social Institution

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Possible Origin of  Ageism

         There are several sources that I have used to explore this post #1[i] and #2.[ii] And 3. First we need to define Externalizing Behavior?
         “Externalizing behaviors are actions that direct problematic energy outward. In other words, a person who shows externalizing behaviors does things that harm others as opposed to lashing out at the self (which are internalizing behaviors). Externalizing behaviors include physical aggression, verbal bullying, relational aggression, as well as defiance, theft and vandalism.” Quite a range!
         Now Ageism: “Ageism is a type of discrimination that involves prejudice against people based upon their age. Similar to racism and sexism, ageism involves holding negative stereotypes about people of different ages. Gerontologist Robert N. Butler, in order to describe the discrimination of older adults, first used the term ageism. Today, the term is often applied to any type of age-based discrimination, whether it involves prejudice against children, teenagers, adults or senior-citizens.”
            We will briefly explore the lives of young children in their early years and make reference to the first article. Under the concept of Mutual parent-child attachment several research questions are asked; “1. How much do you admire and look up to your parents? 2. Do your parents believe in showing their love for you? 3. How much time do you spend doing recreational things with your mother? And 4. How much time do you spend with your father on an average Saturday or Sunday?”
       It would seen likely that if children have uncomfortable relationships with their parents, as the both age and the young people become adults that they will project negative attitudes toward older members of their family and other older people in the wider community.
       And while this study had to do with much stronger than ageist attitudes including aggression and bullying it seems like subtler things like attitudes toward older people could my included.
       The next article specifically focuses on the potential intergenerational roots of ageism.  The authors begin with the statement “…age-based prejudice remains an understudied topic of social psychology.” They go on to say that this is a…”crucial gap in the literature, potential intergenerational tensions, speculating how a growing-older population—and society’s efforts to accommodate it—might stroke intergenerational fires, particularly among the younger generation.”
       Next we are told that; “This article represents an attempt to bring ageism into the scientific psychology mainstream through a sociostructural, intergenerational lens.”  The article is very extensive and I spent some time searching through and see if I could find material related to our topic.
       Example #1 “For instance, just as people address small children, “well meaning” (quotations marks mine) people unwittingly (really??? My comment) speak to older people using benevolent yet patronizing baby talk and demeaning, exaggeratedly slow and loud over accommodation.”
       While there is a section entitled “Intergenerational Tensions.” A careful reading indicates that differences and tensions on an intergenerational basis are investigated within the framework of social psychological factors rather than interpersonal developmental; “we” experiences not “me” experiences.
And then I think about personality factors like those of Alfred Adler[iii]
  “The fundamentals of Adlerian Individual Psychology are:
1.   Humans are social beings whose main desire is to    belong.
2.   All behavior is purposive. One cannot understand the behavior of another person unless one knows to which goal it is directed and behavior is always directed towards finding one’s place.
3.   Human beings are decision-making organisms. We decide what we want to do often without being aware of it.
4.   Holism – each of us is a whole being who cannot be understood by some partial characteristics. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We can perceive a pattern of behavior.
5.   Human’s do not see reality but only what he/she perceives as reality and that perceptions may be mistaken or biased

These factors are developed in early childhood. 
a.   I am…….
b.  The world is…….
c.   In order to have a place I must…

          Intergenerational family factors are translated into a perception of how the world works and what we “must” do to survive.

[i] J.S. Brook et al, Published online April 2011. The Association of Externalizing             Behavior and Parent—Child Relationships: An intergenerational Study, J.             Child Fam Stud 21,: 418-427.  DOI 10.1007/s10826-011-9493-9

[ii] North M.S & FiskeS.T. Ageism and its Potential Intergenerational Roots             Prinston University.  Correspondence concerning this article should be             addressed to Michael S. North, Princeton University, Department of             Psychology Green Hall, Princeton, NJ08540. Email mnorth@princeton
[iii]  Compiled by Linda King, Maple Ridge BC Family Education Centre

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Post From ICAL

Intergenerational Relations in Europe[i]

“Using people’s confidence about discussing personal matters as a litmus test of intergenerational relationships, the survey (cited below) looked at three different contexts, friendships, families, and the workplace.”
“When it comes to friendships, most countries showed that people tend to have friends among people of a similar age and tend to feel more comfortable with their peers.  It is striking that 80 percent of people aged 15 to 24 have no friends in their seventies. The majority of respondents are members of families that contain children or grandchildren between the ages of 15 and 30 and relatives over 70. Across Europe, people feel quite comfortable talking across generations. More people in the UK have family members over over 70 than have children or grand children under 30, and 88 percent of respondents talk confidently to both groups, so their family intergenerational contact is positive.”
“In the workplace, perhaps unsurprisingly, all survey respondents had more contact with those in their 20s compared with the over-70s. Those under 64, perhaps predominant in the paid workforce, spend their time with colleagues under 20, while those over 65 – who are perhaps more involved with voluntary work – spend more time with those over 70.”
“If on balance, intergenerational contact seems to be at least modeistly promising, most people do not see younger and older and younger people as part of a common group with a shared ethos. Rather, they are seen as two separate groups with distinctive attributes within one community.  Although this is a somewhat negative conclusion the different age groups also regard each other as individuals (led by Croatia and Sweden at of 40 percent, the UK and the European mean of 30 percent, Poland, Estonia and Hungary at about 15 percent), which mitigates a tendency to display prejudice to age groups as a whole.”
“A body of research[ii] had firmly established that a very powerful way to overcome prejudice is to foster close, honest and personal relationships is the key.  We need to be alive to trends which appear to be supportive of age segregation, and seek initiatives which can bring different generations together around issues of shared interest and importance.” 
My wife Elizabeth and I have been working on this goal for several years with our organization ICAL.Ca.  Full name: Intergenerational Centre for Action Learning.

[i][i]  The above material comes from Professor Dominic Abrams et al, The European Research Group on Attitudes to Age.  The data comes from  The European Social Survey 2008.  It was published in Marck 2011 by Age UK

[ii] T.F. Pettigrew and L.R. Tropp (2006) “Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes – A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, m 90(5): 751-83.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Journey Continues

Walking And Aging

         What a wonderful beginning of a new day!  I just returned from my hour-long morning walk.  During the hours when I walk I use a form of meditation, which concentrates on my deep breathing as I count my steps (perhaps it’s more like marching than “walking”)
1---- 2-----3-----4 (during which I breath in one deep breath)  
5---- 6---- 7-----8 (during which I breath out completely)
         It sounds simple but like other forms of meditation thoughts emerge during the process and I have to keep detaching from them and getting back on track. 
                                       Over and Over Again.
         The breathing part gets much needed oxygen into my brain and walking helps me keep my body in order and I’m  loosing weight.  The journey itself is wonderful; some but not all of it is along a path called Willoughby Trail. I then cross over a major highway on a walking bridge and I also like saying “hi” to some members of my neighborhood who are also out for their morning walks.
         Today, as is typical for me, I began surfing around the Internet to see if could find material about aging and exercise.  I found one!  I will cite some material from it in this blog entry.  The Article’s title is “On The importance of a positive view on aging for physical exercise among middle-aged and older adults
         The article begins by telling us “Physical activity is one of the most important health behaviours associated with the prevention and management of chronic diseases in older adults.”  The question the authors ask is whether or not a positive view on aging (PVA) may contribute to a higher level of physical activity.  They examined some information from the German Aging Survey. One of the things they found was that “ For older adults PVA was particularly associated with more regular walking and increases of walking over time.” And check this. “..even older people with worse health walked just as regularly as those with good health, provided they had a positive view on aging. The results shed some light on recent findings about the importance of PVA for health and longevity.
         Finally the authors tell us that “…the finding that a PVA can motivate older people to physical exercise suggests that it remains important up to old age to see the gains in life – regardless of the age-related shift from striving for gains to balancing losses

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Ageism Concept

Origins of the Ageism Concept[i]

         Many of the just fewer than 11,000 page views of this blog have indicated a strong interest in Ageism.  Recently as I was exploring around in the Internet, I came upon this material, which in addition also has interesting information about aging and intelligence.
         I intend to examine it thoroughly and it is likely that several blog posts will be created. It is important to remember that this was written in 1984, so this information as been around for a while. 
         To continue…”studies reveal that many people see the elderly as predominantly sick, tired individuals who are often grouchy, withdrawn, and self-pitying. According to this stereotype, they are also mentally slow, have trouble learning and remembering and have little interest in sex.  Robert Butler, the American founder of the National Institute on Aging referred to this stereotyping, and the discrimination that accompanies it as ‘ageism’.  He liken’s ageism to racism, and sexism, noting that it allows young people to ‘cease to identify with their elders as human beings.’”
         “Why has ageism come about?  There are a number of reasons, not the least of them being our own fears of growing old. This fear, no doubt, has prompted much of the prolongevity research mentioned earlier.  But there are other explanations as well.  Robert F. Almeder,…attributes ageism to materialism.  Almeder notes that in a materialistic society where people are judged according to their productivity and wealth, it is not surprising to find that ‘the elderly lose their right to respect’ as they abandon their economically’ productive role.”  (This gets me thinking as I retired Aug 30th last year)
         “Donald O. Cowgill, University of Missouri, Columbia, claims that ‘modernization’ has lower the status of aged individual. He reports that the elderly tend to be revered in more primitive societies where they are relatively rare, and where their experience can benefit younger people.
         “One of the most harmful outcomes of this obsolescence may be that it reinforces the stereotype that the elderly are less intelligent than the young.  Such stereotypes, particularly regarding elderly people’s supposed inflexibility and inability to learn new things can cause job-related discrimination.”
          I would be interested if you let me know if you have found this useful        

[i]  Essays of an Information Scientist (1984) April 2, Vol:7 p. 97-107.  Social             Gerontology, Part 1 Aging and Intelligence Found online

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keeping our Brains in Shape: An Exciting Book

Sharpening Our Minds[i]

The book cited below is full of very important information about our lives particularly about having healthy brains. I will cite several passages that are most important to me but the whole book is wonderful.
Page 19  “The idea that psychiatric or neurological  “diseases” like depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and dementia can be effectively treated, not by administering psychoactive medication, but by altering dietary and lifestyle influences and repairing the body’s systems, which affect the entire Body-Mind System in which the brain functions, is resisted by conventional psychiatry and neurology.”  A basic summary

Pp.153-154   “Our bodies normally produce insulin to “food in our stomach particularly sugar.  Our genetic code evolved at a time when we were eating twenty teaspoons of sugar a year. This means that our insulin response is designed to handle vastly lower levels of sugar than what we consume today.
“Here is what too much insulin really does to your brain body and health:
v   It stimulates the growth of Cancer cells
v   It increases inflammation and oxidative stress and ages your brain, leading to what is called type three diabetes (also know as Alzheimer’s disease.)

Page 155  “A New York Times report on Alzheimer’s echoed research that makes it clear how powerfully our lifestyle impacts brain aging and how much we can reverse it:
         For years, the prevailing notion was that Alzheimer’s was a disease of brain-cell death…. But now, many researchers are asking   if that old hypothesis is correct.  If they are right, it may be possible to stop Alzheimer’s

Page 275 Effects of chronic stress over time:
v   Increases inflammation and inflammatory cytokines and immune response which have been linked to depression, bipolar disease, autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s

Page 57 lack of sleep has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Page 321  “ In a study of over 450 adults over 75 years old it has been shown that reading books, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and board games, playing a musical instrument or dancing can all reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”
“So mental workouts also are needed. That is doing something new and challenging with your brain.  You want to sprout new neural and wake up sleeping parts of your brain.”
What follows are some ideas that can get you started.”
v   Be creative—write in a journal, paint, make music dance
v   Seek out new ideas through attending lectures and local classes
v   Try a new hobby
v   Do math in your heard instead of on a calculator
v   Memorize all of you friends’ phone numbers and all your credit card numbers
v   Play word games, do crossword puzzles or Sudoku
v   Join a study group, or book club or start a conversation dinner where you pick a topic and everyone has to engage and share
v   Practice mental aerobics (see Resources for more recommendations on products you can use.

[i]  Hyman, Mark (2009) The UltraMind Solution, ISBN 978-1-4165-4972-7             (paper back;             ISBN 978-4565-6605-2 (e-book)