Aging is not a calamity, nor a ‘Silver Tsunami’
The Rochester Business Journal provided an important resource (subscription required) to the #ROC Rochester, NY community with the recently published Senior Living and Long-Term Care Services Directory (Nov. 8, 2019). The listing of community resources that will assist older adults and their caregivers to remain independent and in their own home, if that is their preference, is helpful to this growing demographic.
Of concern, however, is the use of the term “Silver Tsunami” in the headline of what was an otherwise positive article illustrating how our community is developing more innovative home care options for older adults. This term, “Silver Tsunami,” evokes a negative and disastrous image of the increased number of older adults turning 65 each day in Rochester and our nation. The good intention of the article to outline the importance of alternatives to nursing home care was overshadowed by the repeated use of a term that casts the “Baby Boomer” generation’s aging as a catastrophic occurrence.
The Rochester/ Monroe County Aging Alliance does not believe that it was the RBJ’s intent to create an image of aging as a calamity. However, the words and images used to describe our growing older adult population can inadvertently reflect an implicit bias about aging. Use of negative stereotypes of older adults can lead to ageism and result in discrimination in how they are treated by health care providers, employers and the general public. Representations older adults as integral members of society who continue to contribute to our economy and community are preferred.
The Aging Alliance, a group of 13 local public and private agencies working to make Rochester and Monroe County a more livable community, believes that improving home care services that were highlighted in your article will provide an opportunity to value and enhance the lives of our older citizens. Rochester and Monroe County is a resourceful community and creative planning to improve home care, transportation, city and county parks, housing, recreational opportunities, and health care will make our community better for all.
Our community is fortunate to have a growing population of older adults who are living healthy and productive lives and now is the time to embrace the opportunities to make our city and county a community of choice for older adults. Thank you for highlighting the resources and organizations that make this possible.
The Monroe County Aging Alliance, which is comprised of the following 13 agencies and public entities: AARP, Action for a Better Community, Inc., Alzheimer’s Association, Catholic Family Center, City of Rochester, Common Ground Health, Episcopal Senior Life, Home Leasing, Jewish Family Service, Lifespan, Monroe County, The Rochester Area Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Rochester