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The Official Blog of Episcopal Retirement Services

Breaking Stereotypes Around Aging at the 50-Plus Cincy Celebration

Posted by Kristin Davenport

May 9, 2019 7:00:00 AM

breaking-stereotypes-around-aging

Given that lifespan is increasing with each generation and the massive population of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 have reached or are nearing retirement, one thing is abundantly clear: the future is 50-plus. So isn’t it time we abandoned harmful stereotypes about seniors and celebrated the many contributions they make to society?

Enter the 50-Plus Cincy Celebration, co-sponsored by Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Here’s a closer look at this event, why it matters, and how you can be a part of it.

Setting the Record Straight

Sickly. Senile. Cranky. Irrelevant. Feeble. Incompetent. These are just a small sampling of the negative stereotypes about seniors perpetuated by television, books, the media, and cultural bias.

Unfortunately, these stereotypes aren’t just misguided; they’re also dangerous. According to research published in the Journals of Gerontology, they may become self-fulfilling prophecies that “impose unnecessary limitations” on older adults. In other words, when seniors themselves start buying into stereotypes around aging, these beliefs can negatively impact both their physical and cognitive health.

The good news? Just as exposure to negative age-related stereotypes has a detrimental impact, exposure to positive age-related stereotypes has a beneficial one. This shift not only changes how the world perceives seniors, but it also alters how seniors see themselves. Rather than internalizing the negative stereotypes, they start to internalize the positive ones.

It’s a win-win for everyone. Exposure leads to more favorable views of aging, increased sense of unity, and a better quality of life for all.

Challenging Senior Stereotypes at the 50-Plus Cincy Celebration

Psychology professor Patricia Devine recently shared several specific strategies for challenging biases to support positive aging with CNN. These tactics include becoming aware of stereotype-based assumptions; embracing images of seniors who embody positive aging; acknowledging senior individualities; switching perspectives by imagining ourselves as seniors faced with these stereotypes; and promoting interactions between seniors and other populations of people.

The 2nd Annual 50-Plus Cincy Celebration is an opportunity to do all of the above. Held by the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Aging and Accessibility, this exciting event is the Queen City’s chance to show its appreciation for its seniors.  

The 2018 inaugural 50-Plus Cincy Celebration was a huge success, with more than 300 attendees and 20 exhibitors. This year’s event promises to build on last year’s festivities and will include a full schedule of activities, including recognition of the 50+ Cincinnatians of the Year; a “Fun Zone” with games; line dancing; music; giveaways and prizes; and a fire truck for photo ops. HIME Wellness will also be on hand to get everyone up and moving. Attendees will even have the chance to create a collaborative piece of art with the Cincinnati Art Museum.

And did we happen to mention that it’s all FREE and open to everyone? Plus, if you pre-register online or by calling (877) 926-8300, free lunch will be provided by the AARP until they reach capacity.

We hope you’ll join in the fun at Fountain Square on May 15th from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm as we come together to acknowledge our aging loved ones while simultaneously learning about the many community services available to Cincinnati seniors. In addition to co-sponsoring the 50-Plus Cincy Celebration, ERS will also have a booth at the event, so be sure to stop by and say hello.

The 50-Plus Cincy Celebration is just one of the many things the city is doing to make life better for older community members. Also underway? Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati, a collaboration between the City of Cincinnati, ERS, and the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati.

This ambitious initiative fulfills Cincinnati’s dream of being a dementia-inclusive community, defined as “one in which people with dementia are empowered to have high aspirations and feel confident, knowing they can contribute and participate in activities that are meaningful to them.” It also aims to make the Queen City America's "Most Dementia Inclusive City" by 2025.

There’s no denying that aging gets a bad rap. But we’re far from powerless to change how we think about seniors and, in doing so, change how they think about themselves. Attending the 2nd Annual 50-Plus Cincy Celebration this May is a great way to get involved in this vital effort.

 

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Kristin Davenport

Written by: Kristin Davenport

Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’ efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS after a 25 year career as a visual journalist and creative director in Cincinnati. Kristin has a passion for making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city. She is a Lead SAIDO Learning Supporter and a member of the Wellbeing Team at ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex live in Lebanon, Ohio with their 2 daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the Secretary of the Lebanon Food Pantry.

Topics: Cincinnati seniors, positive aging, ers, dementia-inclusive cincinnati, stereotypes around aging, making a difference

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