Reflections on Aging Well

Author, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room) and Columnist, Aging Well, United Methodist Reporter

Do young adults skip posts about older adults? June 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 12:06 pm

As I took my walk this morning, a question popped into my mind. I wondered if young people generally skip articles, blogs and tweets that have to do with aging. Now when I say young adults, exactly who am I talking about? The Thirtysomethings? College-age or recent grads? Teenagers? Anyone born after 1970?

Just for discussion’s sake, let’s use the “anyone born after 1970” definition. Now let me restate my question. Do people born after 1970 generally skip over articles, blogs and tweets that have to do with aging or growing old? I don’t have a definitive answer, but I can speculate that the answer is yes. Can’t say that I blame them either. Aging is something even Boomers don’t like talking about.

While making the last lap through the park, I started thinking about feedback I’ve received from my Aging Well column in the United Methodist Reporter and other writing venues. Almost always, I get responses via my website/ e-mail. Almost always, they are generous comments of appreciation, thanking me for taking an interest in older adults and the challenges they face. Almost always, they are written by self-described older adults in the 70-95 age crowd.

Our population is aging quickly, and the church, even faster! How will the church respond? If we take our calling seriously, it seems an important topic to discuss. Maybe reading and talking about aging is a bit like taking yucky-tasting medicine. You don’t like to do it, but you know it’s likely going to make you better.

So next time you see a headline about growing old, don’t be quick to dismiss it. After all, there’s a good chance that you’ll be old, too, one of these days.


3 Responses to “Do young adults skip posts about older adults?”

  1. John Leek Says:

    Short answer: Yes.

    I know I pay far more attention than most and I don’t pay attention or care much.

    Middle aged to older adults dominate church committees of many local churches and there are older adult ministries and visitation and other church activities focused on elderly parishioners.

    How many churches expound that much effort on reaching the young.

    Older adults can further their influence by mentoring younger members. Many young folks would love that opportunity.

    Also I can’t imagine myself as 70+ when it’s close to 50 years away. I haven’t tasted a third of that yet.

  2. i fit your young adult definition.. and i payed attention. do young folks not pay attention to older aging thing? i’d say no.. percentage wise they probably spend time on stuff they understand and experience more. maybe we can say is more to their developmental stage.

    your responses might be more of a thing that as i, or younger folks read older adult articles/postings/research/etc. they have no experience to relate that too. and those experiences are what most people share when they comment on articles/postings/etc.


    • missybu Says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Gavin. I appreciate your thoughts. I wonder how we can help younger people better understand and show compassion toward older adults … AND vice versa. It seems there is much frustration from each camp, and I would like to use my platform to help old, young and in-betweens to be more empathetic to the experiences of the others.

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