January 8

Lowering the Boom on Ageism

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.

2 Billy C e

I had the opportunity while taking some time off to visit our two grandchildren in Colorado to read one of the books that our youngest daughter, Jessica, gave me for Christmas.

The book is “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys” by Billy Crystal.

I found the book especially fascinating given BMA’s focus on assisted living, senior living and memory care. Billy provides a poignantly insightful and charmingly funny look at aging from the perspective of a Baby Boomer who recently turned 65.

One story, in particular, about 9/11 and Billy’s Uncle Berns brought back vivid memories. At the time, I was working for Classic Residence by Hyatt (now Vi). I first heard about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers as I was riding the elevator up to my office on the 37th floor in our building on West Madison St. in downtown Chicago. A group of us sat in a corner office watching TV in dismay as events unfolded. As we watched, we heard that a plane was missing and possibly was heading for Chicago. The Sears Tower was in plain sight outside our window just two blocks away.

A colleague who worked in the office next to mine was out in New York. He was providing assistance at a retirement community that we had just opened in Yonkers. Billy’s Uncle Berns was living in an assisted living community located across the street from the World Trade Center. He had just moved in on Sept. 2. Because of the situation, Uncle Berns and the other residents of the assisted living community needed to be evacuated. Many were relocated to our newly opened community in Yonkers.

In the book, Billy provides fascinating insights into his career as a stand-up comedian, playing Jodie on the television series “Soap”, working on Saturday Night Live and on such movies as “When Harry Met Sally” and “City Slickers”, hosting the Oscars, and being the oldest person ever to play for the New York Yankees.

What I found to be even more fascinating were his insights into aging and his comments about ageism.

The comfort he takes in knowing that “his 65” is not his “grandfather’s 65”.

The treasure of grandchildren and the joy of seeing your children raise their children.

The need to stay upbeat, positive and active as you age rather than giving up.

His belief that we should celebrate our birthdays as we age, especially when we turn 65.

His concerns about professions that have mandatory retirement ages and about people being encouraged to leave their jobs just because they happen to reach a certain age.

He wonders why we do not revere our elders the way they do in some other parts of the world, and he issues a Battle Cry to us Baby Boomers.

He wants Baby Boomers to wage war on ageism.

I could not agree more. Let’s Lower the Boomers on Ageism.

All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”

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  • SIGN ME UP! I was “forced” into retirement a couple years early (according to SSI guidelines) and actually never planned to retire. I am a hairdresser and love my profession and never dreamed my lungs would turn on me and cause me to have to “give it up”! I do continue to “dabble” with hair having a little work station in the corner of the Florida room. As I have grown up (see, I didn’t say OLDER), I have observed other individuals who are either retired or about to retire who have great difficulty “adjusting” to NOT working. In view of the fact my retirement was not MY idea, I, too, had difficulty figuring out what a person does at home all day as I had worked the fast majority of my life not liking “house work”, cooking and yard work. I worked all the time and paid somebody else to do those things for me…imagine my surprise when that person became ME and at my age!!! It is definitely important that a person take care of themselves…my Dad used to say as he aged, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself!” I know what he meant now!!! Keeping a positive attitude, watching the weight and condition of the body, and staying close to your Higher Power – all important things at all ages. If older persons cared for themselves and set a positive example of what it is to age, then younger persons would have a reason to revere us. All they see is false teeth, fat bellies, sagging skin, bald heads, walkers and canes. All they hear is complaining about everything and dreading being “put in a nursing home”. What about that is there to revere??? Why limit the war to the Boomers – let’s start ’em out early and get the kids in on the action…after all, they will be “retirement age” themselves one day…how do they want to be treated???? Let’s get this party started with a BANG…after all WE ARE THE BABY BOOMERS

  • Joy Silver says:

    interesting info, albeit mystifying. what does a “war on ageism ” look like?

  • Marjorie Crandell says:

    Thanks for reminding us about this. Ageism affects both the aging-in population influencing senior living decisions and those already 65+ especially in an era of seniors continuing to work or job hunt whether by choice or necessity.

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