In 1965, a federal initiative cataloged us as the “Older Americans Act;” in response to concerns by policymakers of a lack of community social services for older persons. Over time, like modernizing a nineteen-hundred’s Edwardian coattail, assorted modifications are made to the Act; in-vogue until a trendy designer once again influences the blueprint.
Each alteration stitched into the fabric of an Older American’s catalog:
- Identifiers: seniors; baby boomers; aged; vintage, and disadvantaged elderly.
- Classifications: Medicare; Medicaid; elder abused; indigent, and forgotten.
- Dwellings: multi-generational; assisted living; elder day care; respite care; shelters, and the streets.
- Caregivers: volunteers; kinship caregivers; community; friends; spouse; doctors; church parishioners, and sometimes strangers.
- Accountability: congress; taxpayers; states; councils; counties; media; families; lawyers; financial planners, and criminals.
- Recognition: our society is aging; diseases of the aged are hot topics; political clout endures, as does our abiding deference for America.
Yet, this inventory begs the question: Are Older Americans nothing more than trade names, identifiers and a burden on society? I don’t presume to answer for you. But I can share with you that we lived our formative years alongside History as she made her own world-wide alterations—gashes to the framework of what we fought and died to safeguard. Still, our vital heartbeat persisted long enough to shape a country better than what we inherited.
Imminent Inheritors: My hope is that together your vital heartbeat will benefit those who trust in a future you are shaping!