By Rose Chavez | PREVIEW Columnist
Archuleta Seniors Inc. (ASI) and the American Society on Aging (ASA, www.asaging.org) encourage everyone to celebrate Ageism Awareness Day on Oct. 7.
Modeled after the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (Oct. 1), Ageism Awareness Day provides an opportunity to draw attention to the existence and impact of ageism in our society.
“We live in an aging society, which is a wonderful, remarkable thing,” said ASA Interim President and CEO Leanne Clark-Shirley, Ph.D. “But too many of us view aging with fear, denial and even hostility. We are all growing older. We can’t afford to limit ourselves and other people with such negative and harmful views, and why would we want to? Let’s lean into the opportunities, diversity and full range of experiences that come with aging.”
The most widespread and socially accepted form of prejudice, ageism is defined by the World Health Organization as “the stereotypes (how we think), prejudices (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others or oneself based on age.”
Evidence shows ageism is widespread in society and can be found everywhere, from our workplaces and health systems to stereotypes we see on TV, advertising and in the media.
In a recent webinar from Changing the Narrative — Ending Ageism Together (www.changingthenarrativeco.org) on “Ageism in Healthcare,” speaker Kris Geerken, program manager, said that ageism can shorten the lifespan by 7.5 years; hinder recovery; increase cognitive decline, social isolation and loneliness; and increase anxiety and depression.
Participants viewing the webinar at the Pagosa Senior Center provided some opinions about health care and ageism.
Dr. Robert Hagberg, retired physician, said, “Some doctors talk their own language and just try to talk louder when you don’t understand; patients are intimidated because they don’t know enough about how to talk about the health issue.”
Other participants added:
“The doctor didn’t seem to want to treat the issue that was bothering me because it’s ‘normal’ for my age.”
“I didn’t understand the current system of care, who you see at the appointment, so that needs to be explained by the health care staff.”
“The hospital staff thought that because I am older and was sick, my mind didn’t work well — if I can’t speak well, they assume I can’t understand.”
Self-advocacy is important when seeing a primary care provider. Go in with a written list of health concerns. Bring in a list or the actual bottles of any medications. Use statements such as “What matters most to me now is …,” “Today I’d like to discuss …” Speak up if someone calls you honey or sweetie; say, “Please use my name.”
There are many forms of ageism, including:
• Internalized ageism: How we feel about ourselves as aging people and ageism in which older adults marginalize and discriminate against other older people.
• Cultural ageism: The everyday, invisible, profoundly ingrained and normalized negative messages about aging and old people embedded in movies, TV, songs, jokes, etc.
• Implicit ageism: The unconscious bias that includes attitudes, feelings and behaviors toward people of other age groups that operates without conscious awareness or intention.
• Benevolent ageism: Patronizing, paternalistic beliefs or behaviors that older people need to be protected and taken care of by younger people, because they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
“The American Society on Aging and our members, partners and allies are raising awareness about ageism and its harms,” said Clark-Shirley, “so we can each take steps to change how we feel and act about aging. I hope you will join us!”
New Monday music
Enjoy pleasant soft-rock songs from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as international folk, humor and new music, too.
Dr. Erika Sueker has been playing music since 1967, teaching music since 1978 and working with older adults since 1983. Join the lunchtime fun upcoming Mondays.
Join us Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. for a series of “Senior Conversations” with local Bill Salmansohn.
He will lead the group through mindfulness exercises and discussion of various topics pertaining to aging in Archuleta County. Explore and discover for yourself answers to your questions and concerns.
The meeting will be held in the Senior Center in the dining hall. Snacks will be provided.
Share lunch Monday through Thursday
Join us at the Silver Fox’s Den, aka the Community Cafe, in person for daily hot/cold meals Mondays through Thursdays at the Ross Aragon Community Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. It is open to all. Pickup is available all week, including Fridays.
Our dining hall is open to all ages and welcomes you all with kindness and warmth. We provide hot/cold meals for anyone in the community interested in a nutritious and delicious meal. For those 60 or older we request a suggested donation of $10, but no one will be turned away. There is a $10 charge for guests under the age of 60.
Meals include a main course, side dish, fruit/dessert, garden salad plus beverage. Some popular menu items include Frito chili pie, pork tenderloin with harvest chutney, Singaporean pork ribs, vegetarian lasagna, Hawaiian shrimp with coconut rice and always a beautiful green salad. Many of our items are locally sourced and organic.
Our chef works with a team of local food professionals to hand-prepare your meal for dine-in service in our cozy dining room (with an amazing view of the San Juans) or for takeout (via our convenient drive-through). Our menu changes daily.
To reserve your meal for the day, please make your reservation via text or phone call to (970) 264-2167 by 9 a.m. weekdays.
Community Cafe menu
Thursday, Sept. 14 — Harvest chicken salad wrap, macaroni salad, garden salad, fruit and yogurt, and milk.
Friday, Sept. 15 — Vegetable lasagna, garlic bread, garden salad, fruit, carrot cake and milk.
Monday, Sept. 18 — Green chili chicken, pinto beans, garden salad, fruit, churros and Milk.
Tuesday, Sept. 19 — Beef spaghetti with garlic bread, broccoli, garden salad, fruit and milk.
Wednesday, Sept. 20 — Mahi-mahi with mango salsa, quinoa rice pilaf, garden salad, fruit, Key lime pie and milk.
Thursday, Sept. 21 — Singapore pork coffee ribs with rice, squash casserole, garden salad, fruit and milk.
Friday, Sept. 22 — Vegetable pizza, sauteed spinach, garden salad, fruit, chocolate eclair and milk.
Dine-in and Grab-N-Go meal reservations and cancellations are required. Please call or text by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you want to pick up a meal. A suggested donation of $10 helps to sustain our program. No one will be turned away for their inability to donate. Please call or text us at (970) 264-2167 to make a reservation.
Meals on Wheels
We deliver fresh Meals on Wheels five days a week (and provide frozen Meals on Wheels for weekends) to homebound Archuleta County residents. Call or text us at (970) 264-2167.
Don’t forget that we offer a convenient texting service for you to communicate with us. Text us at (970) 264-2167. When texting, please include your name, phone number and the days you want a meal. If you are canceling a reservation, please include your name, phone number and the days you want to cancel.
Texting services are available for dine-in meal reservations, Grab-n-Go meals and Meals on Wheels recipients.
Stop by the Senior Center to pick up a pack of six free COVID-19 tests kits for your personal use. These kits are available to anyone in the public who needs affordable access for health promotion and disease prevention.
Medicare call by
For anyone who needs help enrolling and navigating Medicare plans, the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging helps with parts A, B and D. They can also help you with fraud concerns and troubleshooting any billing issues you may be having. By appointment only. Please call the Medicare line at (970) 264-0501, ext 2.
The longest-played bridge game in Archuleta County takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:15 p.m.
Bridge is a four-player card game with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. It is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. Come alone or bring a partner.
Hand and foot card game
Whether you are new to hand and foot or interested in learning, please join us most Thursdays at 1:15 at the Senior Center.
This card game involves four rounds of playing until the final round is reached — some two to three hours later. Plan to stay and meet some new friends or catch up with those you have missed over the last couple of years.
No experience is necessary, so come willing to learn.