Experience is a degree (II)

     April 16, 2014
    By Javier Garcia

    Defending the value of experience and the need for all-encompassing social inclusion, we recently published an article in an effort to recognize the importance of our seniors in the development of our society. Without repeating all the pros, both those on a personal and a wider societal level, we believe it is vital that these benefits are shared for the better functioning of society as a whole, including those generally unaffected areas, such as the economy. 

    In the development of this perspective, it became apparent that different actions are required to achieve the full inclusion of seniors in everyday life (these will be discussed further in a forthcoming post). Today, this has much to do with closing the digital divide, but is also related to a much more profound and enduring element: our own views.

    Serious comments along the lines of “the elderly are using up all the resources we generate”, or even jokes about pensioners watching the activity on building sites,  encourage a way of viewing our seniors that does not correspond with reality and leave an impression over time. Whilst we do not believe this is the majority opinion, it is damaging all the same. Therefore, it is necessary to break down these myths about old-age and, above all, give a voice to those who have much to say, yet are so often muted.

    An effective way to fight these views, which attack social values, is to break down stereotypes. Here, we are not just talking about certain language or myths, which are easier to topple with more positive references or simple reasoning. The underlying problem is that there are more vulgar stereotypes that are often referred to in banter, but which, nonetheless, make a mockery of the elderly and, in the worst case, affect how we see this sector of the population. Thus, beyond the jokes, we reach more serious scenarios, such as a healthcare system that does not have the means to detect the symptoms of dementia in patients under the age of 65, because they associate this condition with older patients, as explained in this interesting document.

    It is not obsession, it is conviction. Therefore, far from limiting ourselves to the (important) task of diffusing this message, we take action on a daily basis, seeking to improve our platform, which is destined to better seniors’ quality of life from a health point of view, but without forgetting the important role of leisure, communication and social participation. However, it is the responsibility of everyone, which is why we will soon show some examples which set us on the right path to a society which recognizes that “experience really is a degree”.