I read a report that Maggie Mooney from People for a Healthy Community (PHC), wrote of the inaugural meeting on June 11, in Parksville, to discuss a seniors’ advocacy organisation, and am not feeling full of warm fuzzies.
Maggie did a good job of reporting. That is not my beef. I know they have to start somewhere, and I am glad they had some actual seniors at that Parksville meeting, as well as government do-gooders, but I feel in danger of being managed, of being “done unto”.
Whenever a government starts up another bureaucracy, there is much opportunity for stupidity and actual abuse in the name of “help” – particularly given the nature of our ageist society. As the relative of someone who has had to deal with social workers, I understand, as an unwilling target of the “system”, how deeply offensive and disrespectful these professional “helpers” can be, within the armour of their government power and their definitions of “client”.
An example of the unconscious ageism of our culture is The PHC title, “circle of care”. I would have preferred “circle of respect”. The PHC title already defines me as someone who is vulnerable to being Rescued rather than consulted as an equal.
I think what is required, if the agency-mind is going to be cured of its ageism, is that seniors as a cohort and as mindful individuals be invited to meetings all over the province, in every community; that this be a year-long process; and that concerns other than physical care, or abuse, or senility, be discussed. We need an examination, from a cultural point of view, of the place of the aged in our current culture. And that examination should be a conversation among seniors about where we want to be, without being “guided” or “facilitated”, or in other ways being gently bullied by our children’s generation.
And we have something to contribute, I am sure, about how we wish to be “handled” when or if we do lose our capacity to either remember or take care of ourselves physically. Institutionalisation is not the only way to go, nor is being managed by whatever good-hearted but perhaps over-confident “agencies” exist in every community.
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