Dr. Bill Thomas, international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare, visited York to speak at YCCF's 2016 Annual Meeting as part of YCCF's Embracing Aging initiative. He challenged us to change the way we think about aging and elderhood and helped enlighten us on ageism that is prevalent in our society. "The truth is we were born to grow old," he shared. Dr. Thomas questioned the purposeful isolation of elders (a term he finds much more appropriate than "elderly" or even "older adults") and emphasized intergenerational living as a way for not only elders to benefit, but for the younger generation to benefit as well.
Dr. Bill Thomas
Importantly, in downtown York, we're already seeing this trend come to life. Young people and elders alike are moving into newly-developed apartments and residences downtown to take advantage of all York has to offer. YCCF is also helping to engage the community in ageism training to help organizations and individuals understand what it truly means to age well and be treated with respect. Dr. Thomas applauded YCCF's efforts to embrace aging.
Enjoy this brief snippet of his speech:
"This community is electing to embrace aging, is electing to question the prejudice and the stereotyping, is electing to draw in and wrap its arms around our true nature. We are in fact made to grow old. We are meant to outgrow adulthood. And in doing so become the elders of our people.
Every single person in this room is a beneficiary of the wisdom and the generosity of those who came before us. Everything we do, everything we contribute, everything we give, was given to us. Perhaps the deepest and most abiding wisdom of age is this: we all need the shelter of each other. We were all made to travel this arc from birth to death in the company of others. We all share a single obligation, and that is during this brief spark that we call our mortal lives that we will in some small way repair this broken world and that we will in some small way hand down to those who will follow us the things that were given to us in abundance."