Aging! So Cool Everybody Is Doing It!

Posted on: March 27, 2024Central California Leadership Corps

Aging is an aspect of human life that I have, for a long time, struggled to accept. Funnily enough, my role at my host site is all about getting older. I am an aging services coordinator which means I have been tasked with learning and collecting information on age-friendly practices. 

In the upcoming years, older adults will make up a larger percentage of our nation’s population and as a result, it is imperative that we begin incorporating more geriatric practices into primary care. As we age, managing our health and wellbeing can become more complex, however, this does not mean we have to accept a lower quality of life. One of the most important things I have learned throughout the last few months is that pain, depression, and isolation (among other things) are not normal parts of the aging process. 

Ageism, the prejudice against a particular age group and especially the elderly, is what has led us to view aging as a negative process, as something we should dread and resist. Ageist beliefs not only have an impact on our mental health but most alarmingly, can be damaging to our physical health. A Yale study found that folks who had a more negative view on normal aging had an increased chance of experiencing a cardiovascular event later in life. 

Challenging my own ageist thoughts has been an essential first step in doing my work. As I have learned to look at aging as a positive and natural process, I no longer see geriatric care as the means to ward off illness and death in old age but instead as the care we can receive to live long, fun, and empowered lives.

 An important resource I encountered in my research has been the National Center to Reframe Aging, which offers a plethora of educational resources like webinars, podcasts, and toolkits for understanding aging and how we can combat age-related bias. A statement that has stuck out to me during all the reading I’ve done, is that ageism is the only form of discrimination, if we are fortunate enough to reach old age, that all human beings will experience. Knowing this, when addressing issues relating to older adults, we must remember that these are “OUR” issues as well.

 I want to finish this blog by encouraging you all to watch a Ted Talk given by author Ashton Applewhite titled “Let’s end ageism”. This eleven-minute video is most definitely worth it! 

*Blog title credits go to the National Center to Reframe Aging

About the Author:

Josune Menendez

Member Name: Josune Menendez

Pronouns: She/her

NHC Program: Central Valley Health Network

Host Site: One Community Health

Position Title: Aged Health Coordinator

Where are you from?: I was raised in both Sacramento, California, and Barcelona, Spain.

Why did you decide to join NHC?: I have an interest in public health and community health in particular.

What are you hoping to gain or learn during your service term?: I am hoping to learn more about what is involved in running a successful community health program.

Host Site

1500 21st Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
1500 21st Street
Sacramento, CA 95811