For a good while, Crabby Old Lady has sensed that some of the media has stopped talking to old people – not in general (although a case could be made for that), but about their own important life events. This was on her to-do list to look into, but the idea was still vague and she had misplaced the examples that had piqued her interest.
Then on Monday, two items turned up in one day. An email arrived with this message:
“When you love someone, you're committed to their well-being; you would never dream of letting them live someplace where they didn't feel at home...
“Find the best senior housing for your loved ones at SeniorsforLiving.com.”
Crabby understands that it does sometimes fall to grown children to find living accommodations for their aging parents, most often when they are no longer capable of making decisions for themselves. But millions of elders find new homes ranging from age-limited communities for the 55-plus crowd, to various levels of independent living, clear up to planning for the possible need of assisted living, nursing and respite care.
The company that sent this email deals in all these possibilities. Plus, they call themselves SeniorsForLiving which sounds to Crabby like they are talking to her. But throughout the website, they spoke only to others.
A short while later, Crabby stopped by the AARP website where the day's featured story was titled, When Parents Need to Move. Wait a minute, thought Crabby. Isn't AARP's aim, goal, mission, etc. to represent the interests of people like herself - older than 50 - who are their members? People who join their organization of their own free will? People who pay their own membership dues?
So why are they, and why is SeniorsForLiving.com talking past Crabby Old Lady like she's not in the room?
Okay, 50-, 60- and 70-year-olds sometimes deal with ailing 80- and 90-year-old parents so a story about their need makes sense. But as anyone else in their sixties and older, Crabby is all too aware that she may need daily help caring for herself one day and it jars her sensibility to be left out of the conversation – especially from two organizations whose business is all old people all the time.
No one has trouble talking to Crabby Old Lady about anything else. Everywhere she turns, people urge her to color her gray hair, take up skydiving, embrace Twitter, buy a Kindle – you know, all that stuff that's supposed to make her appear younger.
But when it comes to the really important issues about getting old – like the possibility of waning health, for example – they refuse to directly address Crabby, as though she is already demented.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mary B Summerlin: It's Easy – You Can Do It