|At 4 years old in a kimono, posing with my neighbors.|
You may wonder how my experience relates to my interest in working with older adults? I believe being treated differently because of what I am has made me sensitive to the way we treat older adults. Ageism is ingrained from childhood and we're not always aware of the prejudicial attitudes we harbor and how it affects people on the receiving end. In the past, I have asked older friends whether they had ageist views in their younger years, and many said they did. One friend who is in her early 70's admitted that as a youth, she disliked older drivers as she often thought, "Get off the road! Get out of my way!" Today, she realizes the irony as younger persons say similar things to her on the road.
It may seem that older adults are separate from us, but in a sense, they are our future selves. Most of us will eventually become old. The inclusion of older adults in all aspects of society, therefore, would benefit all of us as we learn to create new possibilities within intergenerational environments.