Is ageism a problem?

Question: Do we mistreat our elders?

Bill Novelli: We don’t mistreat our elders per se. Yes we have a certain obsession with youth. I think every culture does. But you know I think the boomers are changing that. And the reason I say this is that the 50 plus Americans have the majority of the disposable income in this country. So they’ve got the money. They want to spend it. They’re intelligent. If you look in the AARP magazine, you’ll see ads for everything from computers, to financial services, travel, you name it. Cosmetics. And so as people age – as the boomers get older – they are so strong, and they are so big, and they are so important that companies, and the entertainment industry and others – if they insult older people; if they practice aging stereotypes, they’ll do it at their own peril because boomers are not gonna tolerate that.

Question: Do we treat them well?

Bill Novelli: You know there are several points of view with respect to treatment of older people. There is elder abuse in this country. It’s kind of a hidden, dark, dirty secret. There is that, without question. And a lot of it comes from family members. I mean so you always have those kinds of . . . of, you know, negative aspects of any society, of any culture. And we have it too. As far as people going into nursing homes and sending their elders off to nursing homes, many, many people are caring for their loved ones at home. Now it is true that if somebody has Alzheimer’s or some other disease, it becomes very, very difficult to do that. And it is true that we’re a mobile society. And so many of us are living apart from our parents. And for those kinds of reasons, there are people, of course, who are in . . .who have to go into nursing homes. And I think that other countries are beginning to follow suit as well. Everybody would wish they could take care of their loved one at home, but it’s not always possible. And so what we have to do is balance home care and institutional care. And we have to make sure that both of them are quality . . . quality experiences for older Americans. We need to work on that, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a negative thing that people have to go into nursing homes, just so the experience is a good one.

Recorded on: 9/27/07

 

America is obsessed with youth, sometimes ignoring the elderly.

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less

Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Surprising Science
  • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
  • Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
  • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.

The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.

For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.

A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."

Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.

Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.

As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.

<div class="ad-tag"> <div class="ad-tag__inner"> <div class="gallery_ad"></div> </div> </div>
Keep reading Show less