ILC GA NY representative Muriel Beach served on the main panel of the annual Pfizer innovation gathering known as nEXt – “Building Bridges to the Future” on November 1, 2016 in New York.
The event drew an audience of several hundred from over thirty counties and reached a further three thousand people through live streaming. Muriel was invited to respond to the statement " how do older adults stay young?" Muriel responded by saying:
"I reject this question on the grounds it is ageism. Older adults age it is the normal process of the life cycle. We do not stay young. We are old but continue to live full and vibrant lives as older adults. We are a gold mine of assets, talents, experience, and continue to make substantial contributions to our communities. Robert Butler coined the expression ageism to describe the negative views of older adults and when you ask a question like this, it is ageism.
I believe the question you intended was how do older adults stay healthy? Alex Kalache wrote that healthy aging is active aging. I would like to see Pfizer reach out to older adults and develop programs utilizing their services keeping them active and healthy. We need your collaboration and your partnership.
Fellow panellist and Executive Director of Older Adults Technology Services, Thomas Kamber observed," it was the best answer I've ever heard anyone give on a panel. It was electrifying. She called them out on their bias, explained how they were wrong and how they might think differently about things and then she asked for their partnership. "
Since this was a young audience, increased intergenerational understanding of elders and aging was achieved through this response by Muriel.
Author: Muriel Beach
Conference photo courtesy: Tom Kamber
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