A workshop Thursday will feature Debra Tyler-Horton, the state director of the Georgia AARP, as the keynote speaker, aiming to remove “destructive falsehoods about aging” cemented into stereotypes.
The workshop, titled “A New Look at Aging,” will be held at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, 1 Maurice Culberson Drive, Building H, Room 101A. It begins at 10 a.m. and will run until 2 p.m. — lunch is included in the admission cost of $10. To register call Sharon Baker at 706-506-2000.
Baker, the president and founder of the Women’s Information Network, which is co-sponsor of the workshop, will also be a speaker. She will be joined by Lois Ricci, a geriatric nurse practitioner and educator. A resource panel made up of area organizations that assist seniors will also be on site, as will activity leaders Jeanne Schull, a dance specialist at Berry College, and Karen Bowling, the director of Rome Little Theatre’s “Prime Timers.”
When people think of seniors, the image of frail and ill elderly adults come to mind, Tyler-Horton said. What AARP and other groups are setting out to do is “disrupting aging” — the brainchild of AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins — stereotypes and reframing the mindset around it, she added.
About five out of every 100 seniors in the U.S. live in nursing homes, Tyler-Horton shared. And of those ages 75 to 84, three out of every four reported having no disability, she continued.
Tyler-Horton used this data to indicate that the popular conception of seniors is often off the mark. And in the coming years, she said, those 50 and above will be working and playing longer than generations before. Additionally, eight out of 10 baby boomers over 65 will continue to work in some capacity.
With more people living longer, it’s critical that activity and engagement doesn’t wane with aging, Tyler-Horton said.
In some cases, seniors being dissuading from participating in engaging activities comes from within — a mirror effect, Tyler-Horton said. As we age, the idea of ourselves changes and not always for the better. The idea is to have seniors begin to look positively at themselves and aging, she added.
A community can be an active force in getting seniors involved by making promotional materials for events or classes more “intergenerational.” If a senior sees a flyer about a technology course but does not take away from it the impression of it being accepting to them, then they may not feel welcome to attend.
“They have to feel that doors are open,” Tyler-Horton said.