“We miss too much when we treat all seniors as helpless.” (Unsplash/@unitednations/Lélie Lesage)”
by Sally Chivers
“‘Unprecedented’ might be the word of the COVID-19 pandemic. But for many, especially older adults, life has taken many abrupt turns. Maybe it’s their first pandemic, but it’s not the first time they’ve pivoted without calling it that and created a new normal.
“Yet, we persist in treating people over 70 as an undifferentiated blob of neediness and vulnerability. When we do, we once again miss what older adults contribute.
“As an aging studies scholar, my focus is on the portrayal and treatment of older adults in literature, film and popular culture. During COVID-19, dire fictional portraits of nursing homes as places to avoid and escape appear to be coming alive. We hear a lot about them, but less attention lands on older adults living and making do at home. Public health issues reminders to check on what they call “elderly neighbours.” Those reminders ignore what older people in and out of nursing homes offer to the rest of us.”