28 February 2009
The advent of a possible means to delay aging and extend longevity is a great intellectual and social as well as medical achievement. The added years of life that are now available for so many is requiring that we as a society change obsolete mind-sets and attitudes about growing old. The social construct of old age, even the inner life and the activities of older persons, is now subject to review and revision. The very words we use to describe people are undergoing greater scrutiny.
It is ironic, then, that at the same time Americans are beginning to see an unfolding of the entire life cycle for a majority, we continue to have embedded in our culture a fear of growing old, manifest by negative stereotypes and language that belittles the very nature of growing old, its complexities and tremendous variability.