For the last Village Park blog, we discussed two major stereotypes about seniors that can keep people from understanding how older Americans fit into our society. Today, we’re picking up where we left off and concluding (for now) our discussion of senior stereotypes:
Misconception 3: Seniors don’t impact popular culture.
Music, movies, and television associated with youth seem to be everywhere. Given how aggressively marketed youth culture is, it’s easy to assume that young people are the main guide for art and popular culture. The “18-34 demographic” may be coveted among advertisers in media, but seniors’ media-consumption trends have enormous effects on the entertainment that gets produced, especially when it comes to television. This may seem inconsequential, but do you ever stop to think about how much of your perceptions come from entertainment media? This is one of the main factors that make positive, representative portrayals important.
For many years, CBS has been the leading television network in terms of viewership, and the audiences for their most popular shows tend to skew older than those of other networks. Were it not for the viewing habits of older Americans, the entertainment landscape would likely be quite different. With the popularity of shows that star senior characters and otherwise appeal to older audiences, along with the tendency of older Americans to be loyal, decisive viewers, people over 60 are poised to continue influencing our culture for the foreseeable future.
Misconception 4: Most seniors are “traditional.”
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) estimates that 1.75-4 million seniors identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. They also estimate that that number will double in the next decade. Furthermore, it’s easy for some to forget that the senior community is a constantly changing, diverse group of people. Everyone gets old, so the framework for determining what “traditional” even means is always evolving. It’s common to think that seniors are resistant to change, but there are ways the elderly can and do develop mental flexibility.
As the world becomes more connected and the U.S. more diverse in general, we’ll continue to see the generalizations associated with the elderly challenged. The APA reports that, in the last 20 years, the number of senior immigrants has gone from 2.7 million to 4.6 million—an increase of 70%. New traditions, beliefs, and practices in the senior community are sure to continue to shake things up as that number continues to increase. At Village Park Senior Living, we embrace this diversity by offering social events for people of different backgrounds to meet and mingle, many of which can be found at our lifestyle and amenities page. Making new friends later in life can be tough, so we provide our residents with venues for doing just that.
Getting older can be a beautiful thing, but the myths and stereotypes applied to seniors can be limiting and damaging. And since everyone who lives long enough will eventually be elderly, getting over these stereotypes will (hopefully) end up benefiting us all. If you’re interested in learning more about making the most of your golden years, contact Village Park Senior Living to schedule a tour of one of our communities or to discuss what options might be right for you. For more special interest stories and informative articles about topics of interest to seniors and our community, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.Top of Form