Aging in the News: April 2023

May 4, 2023
Explore our news round-up from April 2023. This month, we examine stories about older adults and aging in America.

Endemic stigma towards aging and old people’ found in new study of British media and popular culture

A study by Retirement Village Group reveals a negative portrayal of older adults in the media. The study reviewed more than 40 newspapers, lifestyle magazines, and popular soap operas to assess the language and images used to describe and depict older adults. The results found that themes of ill health, vulnerability, and frailty dominated all mediums.

In advertising, older people were typically shown in a domestic setting, in familial, non-working roles. In lifestyle media, older adults were typically featured in ads about deteriorating health or inheritance. Soap operas portrayed older people as “out of touch” and “a bit of a joke.” The study found representation of older adults to be highly influential to the way they are perceived in society. Addressing this stigma is critical in order to change society’s view and combat the stereotypes that keep older adults from living independent, active, and connected lives.

What we’re missing out on when we don’t have intergenerational relationships, personally and collectively

Intergenerational relationships have numerous benefits for older adults, including a sense of purpose and happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development finds that older adults who invested in younger generations were three times more likely to be happy in their 70s than those who did not. Conversely, when children and younger adults are separated from elders, they can develop narrow ideas of what it means to age, which can negatively shape how they imagine their own future.

Bringing generations together can also solve major social problems as it combines the strengths of fluid intelligence (solving novel problems) in the young and crystallized intelligence (learned knowledge) in the old. According to social scientist Authur Brooks, young people have particularly strong fluid intelligence, while older people tend to have more crystallized intelligence. By bringing generations together, their perspectives and strengths complement each other, allowing for more innovative and effective solutions to complex issues. Read the full article here and be on the lookout for our intergenerational programming at GenSpace!

County aging plan could provide big boost to Sonoma Valley residents

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and Aging Together Sonoma County are working to create a Master Plan for the Aging to address the needs of an aging population. This plan will aim to tackle aging, disability, and equity issues in the state of California. It has five main goals, including ensuring housing for all ages and at all life stages, reimagining health, providing opportunities for work, volunteer engagement, supplying efficient caregiving, and providing lifelong economic security.

The Village of Sonoma Valley is part of a statewide coalition called the Village Movement California. Its mission is to provide services to low- and middle-income residents as they age. The Village of Sonoma Valley applied for a grant to create two-year plans for the cities of Sonoma and Santa Rosa to address the needs of older adults in their communities – great news as older adult populations in California and across the country are only expected to grow.

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