Monthly Scoop: April 2021

Thank you to Tina Grosowsky and Seth Evans from the Massachusetts chapter of Elders Climate Action (ECA), who provided us with information about ECA’s climate change advocacy work, including becoming effective activists, legislation and policy priorities, community education, research, and action planning. Supporting the MA Clean Energy Climate Plan is important to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and to do so, MA ECA has a newsletter and calendar of events that reaches over 1,100 people monthly. To be on that list and receive action alerts, email Dawn Edell.

A lively discussion followed their talk, including information about Green Burials (check out this article from the Cake Blog) and developing sustainability committees at senior housing sites to increase interest in climate change issues.

Join us next month on Wednesday, May 19 for Jeff Weiss, President and CEO of Age of Majority, a marketing consulting group.Become a Boston Bridge Member

Announcements:
In addition to our usual Job Board where organizations list openings for positions, Boston Bridge website now has included a job seekers listing in a further effort to assist those looking for employment. Fill out the form (remaining anonymous), listing your interest and qualifications, and organizations seeking professionals in the field can contact you.

If you are 50+ and seeking employment, check out Encore Boston Network for their helpful and informative podcasts, webinars, and resources. And for inspiration, listen to the Second Act podcast series!

FriendshipWorks is holding a virtual walk on May 16th to end elder isolation. You can get involved here.On May 20th, the Alzheimers Association is holding a free virtual meeting concerning the disparities in care of Hispanic and Latino groups in Alzheimer’s disease. Open to all.

Ageism in the News
While ageism is an existing issue, the pandemic has increased interest in its insidiousness. The Scoop is responding with this enhanced coverage of ageism in our society.

Ageist societies have failed our aging population and the common good is not necessarily alive and well! This article and the accompanying CBC radio episode of The Common Good: The Value of Old Age explains why.

Due to the pandemic, AgeMarch/AgeMagnificent, a 10-year-old movement, took their message of ending an anti-age culture and celebrating age pride to the screen with their first virtual event. Read about it, and watch the video embedded in this story.

Age-Friendly communities focus on healthy, active aging, but what if there were death-friendly communities as well? Besides easing the fear of dying, would death-friendly communities actually lessen ageism in society? Read about this palliative care conversation here. 

An article in Psychology Today discusses a life span theory in which we are always “becoming”, as Michelle Obama would put it! The focus is on middle age, a time to consider next acts of life rather than see it through the lens of ageism.  

Women in the workplace often face both gender bias and ageism according to a new book, “I’m Not Done Yet” by Bonnie Marcus.  Advice on how to counter that for older women is the focus of the book, but workplace ageism and how to combat it is relevant for any age.

The Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging and Next Avenue finished publishing a 20-piece weekly joint series, COVID-19 and the Future of Aging. Some past Scoop articles were taken from that series. Now, interviews with thought leaders about that joint series have urged action on four themes – one of which is ageism.

With, hopefully, the “light at the end of the tunnel”, determining how ageism has played such an important part of the pandemic is worth reflection. Read how other “isms” such as ableism and racism are integral to dismantling ageism.

And in Other Aging News:
The Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology recently published findings indicating that racial and ethnic minorities experience inequalities concerning dementia diagnoses. This extends to treatment and under-representation in clinical trials as well.

Living in a shipping container? Until recently, unheard of! But students at USC School of Gerontology were recently presented with that idea from BMarko Structures, a modular construction company specializing in repurposing shipping containers. Might it be the next entrepreneurial idea? The creation of a new housing village? The new look of nursing facilities that break traditional stereotypes?

Skilled nursing facilities are in crisis. While problems have existed for a while, the pandemic has exacerbated the issue so that the need may soon outnumber the availability. What are the vulnerabilities that are now causing this crisis and what can be done to change the culture of nursing facilities? David Grabowski, professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School points to 5 main issues.

Concerning the above mentioned skilled nursing facilities’ crisis, John Oliver has some information about the industry of long term care facilities and what needs fixing in this video. (Warning: language is not always appropriate.)

Take Action
Marc Freedman is the President, CEO and Founder of Encore.org, an organization that advocates for tapping the talent and experience of people past midlife to help solve social problems. In this op-ed piece, Marc urges a multigenerational approach to national service. The American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress, has within it an allocation of $1 billion for national service. If you agree that national service needs an infusion of all generations working together you can help make it happen:
1. Urge your older adult constituency to get involved – go to www.encorebostonnetwork.org for opportunities
2. Be an entrepreneur and begin a multigenerational organization to address social issuesVolunteer at an organization that addresses the social issue about which you are most concerned.

Elder Climate Action speakers Tina Grosowsky and Seth Evans recommend the following action for Boston Bridge members:
1. Engage with your friends, family, neighbors in discussions about climate change to heighten their awareness of the MA Clean Energy Climate Plan and to increase activism
2. Lead by example by…..using cloth napkins instead of paper, replacing your heating/cooling system with an electric heat pump system, not using pesticides on your garden and in any local community gardens, divesting from investments supporting the use of fossil fuelsJoin the Elder Climate Action Group and read “What Can I Do About Climate Change?”.