The Mature Tree: Ageism, Mature Adults, and Cognitive Abilities

My Comments of Observation of Ageism, Mature Adults and Cognitive Abilities

Note the Study titled Distraction can reduce Age-Related Forgetting. It’s actually informative and worthy study. I have no issue with it.

The article is online at:
http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/02/20/0956797612457386.full

To me in the larger view of our social relationships, what is missing in understanding here and what is happening is crazy, crazy stuff. We have a prejudice against, stereotyping and discrimination against mature adults. We focus on their ‘faults’ that are not necessarily faults – Forgetting. We perceive it as Fault based on a context of relationships.

There is a whole health focus over their cognitive decline.

Yes, some people have cognitive problems. So do some young people but there is no major social organization on the matter in the same way. Sometimes what we think is a problem we Make a problem.

This study partly explains how the issue is not what we think it is. Bingo.
They are on the right track.

Here’s my thinking.

Everything is relative. In order to be considered forgetting, you have to have some environmental factor that demands you are to be remembering something that at the moment you are not.

Without the demand to remember, you don’t have the problem of forgetting, right? So, what mature adults are demanded to remember is relative to the structure of their lives and to see the problem clearly you have to see the
structure of their lives in relationship to the structure of other less mature adults. There are also cumulative factors to consider in aging and differing relationship with our bodies.

I add that if you COUNT the fact that younger people have a much more Narrow view of the world. The older you get the more you see – the view is broader – you actually TAKE IN more information because of your longer life experience. If you are in a valley, you don’t see as much as if you are on a mountain top. Viewpoint is different.

So we could be crediting older adults for the way they take in and actually have accumulated information that has grown exponentially – but that gets ignored. Also older folks grow in abundance of both intake and output but we don’t see it based on environmental conditions. It’s like they are trees that get pruned of all their wonderful branches and leaves. The cutting off causes disconnections. The life of a person may be seen as growing like a tree. Think about it. An older person is a mature, fully developed tree that has more leaves and branches than a young tree. A young tree might have more focus and less forgetting because they are only working on a structure with a few limbs. But we have a distortion on their lives because we emphasize the schooling but that schooling is like the fertilizer in the ground that grows the tree. It’s not the branches themselves. We therefore perceive younger people as intaking vasts amounts of knowledge while mature adults don’t. But the comparison is faulty.

Yet we favor younger people and position their abilities as superior, older people as inferior instead of a holistic view in which at different times of our lives, we are all terrific and have different attributes. The standard of the superior human that is actually generic doesn’t exist. We need to rid ourselves of this idealic, fictional human we all have been given with all the right attributes of being human that causes all of us to feel faulty when we can’t live up to something that isn’t real anyway and is dehumanizing for all of us.

Even young babies have ways of beings that go uncounted because of our favored emphasis on age and behaviors. I’m waiting for the day I see movies and shows where babies are represented as more than a crying object to heighten the drama. I am waiting for the day where babies actually play a part in the world they inhabit because they are capable of more than just crying. Where they aren’t just an object to focus on how to care for them, but where, as little people, we adults can BE with them and not feel we’ve ‘lowered’ ourselves to an inferior level of being. Babies are not inferior. Neither are the elderly. Let’s knock it off. A mature adult male is not the superior human.

People actually believe that babies only cry, have no other developed feelings, no awareness, abilities and no intelligence until they can talk and begin to do what older people do. This demands our connections be strongly based on our language communication. No accident with our society’s infatuation with image and text technology. Well, imagine those who are now communicating through texting as a primary form of relating…what is being lost with this technology is built on a historical pattern of other losses from previous technologies. We can’t know what we don’t know if we never had it. We have to move to experience beyond ‘normal’. It’s all an interesting myriad of possibilities of how we relate to each other – and it’s as if we’ve been given a very narrow clip of life’s possibilities.

We are so whacked in our ideas of our humanity. Maybe the word is clueless.

In some ways, we have a world that revolves around the needs of 20-30 somethings in violation of other age groups and yes, they do the work of making the world go round with demands that young children and older people simply get out of the way. The accommodations for younger children and mature adults are neglectful in many ways and in some cases, abusive and deadly.

The idea of mature people forgetting is like the idea that was once believed that women aren’t rational, don’t think and are incapable of being like a man so they should only be in the home. Yes, women were also seen as getting in the way of a world run by men. That idea is now history. We need some other inaccurate ideas to be history, too.

We got both ideas of difference and sameness about humans all mixed up, IMO. A mistake. A big one. We are in error about who we are and what are problems are because the missing link is environmental and social. Too much emphasis has been put on what happens in an individual as ‘wrong’ which causes false distortions and not enough emphasis in knowing the relationships Between people in our collective society and not identifying the source of whose ideas we actually have been living.

Some of it stems from ideas of independence. No one is fully independent but our ideas of independence are based on a favoritism on a certain model of what we claim is the only one and superior independence.

There is only interdependence when it comes to people. No one is entirely independent. And we deny the dependency and interdependency of what we claim as the independent people. We see older people as extremely dependent and deny the other half of the relationship – the dependency of our society on the elderly.

So here they are saying that Distraction helps older people not forget things. To me that totally makes sense, because what they are calling distraction is what I would call the ‘stuff’ of a broader view. It’s those extra branches that are needed be pruned to begin with. The social demand on mature adults is that people have a narrow view like young people which is a denial of the age and it’s qualities, such as the quite respectable elderly quality of a rich and broader view based on life experience. It’s not so easy to explain, but ageism needs to be explained. It’s prejudice and stereotyping that is problematic and needs to stop.
Free?

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