The Face of America?
It sure doesn’t look like me? Earlier this month a Successful Aging Expo was held in my hometown of San Diego. When I saw who was speaking I shook my head. No faces look like mine. Growing up in the 70s no faces looked like mine. Cheryl Tiegs, Lauren Hutton, and Cristina Ferrare were the style icons I looked to. In fact, in my sorority house if Cheryl Tiegs or Lauren Hutton signed in, it was a signal I was around. When I talk about image and how I see myself I describe myself as 5’8″ with long, blond hair. The imprint of ideal beauty still resides as a part of me.
Who is the Face of Aging America?
Today, my favorite news source Next Avenue published the 2016 Influencers in Aging. I skimmed the familiar faces and clapped with delight to see some of my colleagues. I also shook my head. Once again, no faces look like mine. It made me think of a talk I was privy to as a member of the American Society on Aging. CEO John Feather of Grantmakers in Aging gave a webinar, Addressing Ageism in the Public Policy Arena. Feather, asked WHY is aging so hard to sell? Perhaps we have the wrong people selling aging? Are you reflected in these faces? I am not.
Are You Aging in America?
If you heard me speak at SXSW this year you know the 74.9 million Boomers are pivoting the direction of the country. We are becoming an aging nation and the behaviors we model will directly influence the quality of life for 75.4 million Millennials. Perhaps your grandchildren? Or those you mentor? What legacy do you want to leave? Inclusion or exclusion? Now is the time for each of us to change the face of aging in America.
Judi Bonilla author of Freewheeling after Sixty and Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. Judi spoke at South by Southwest, the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. She received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week. In addition, the Association of Travel Instruction honored her with the Jack Gorelick Achievement Award for her commitment to the growth of the profession of travel instruction.