The issue of age has come to the forefront again. On our local news tonight, our state government is apparently pursing this issue. Apparently, they are looking into making it illegal in our state to have on an application either the birth date and year of the applicant and the date that one graduated from high school. I thought it was already illegal to ask one’s age, but I do know that some places try to get around it, by asking the date that one graduated from high school. This brings me to the topic that age does not negate ability.
Where did this concept come from? What makes people think that the elderly are uses? Where did they get the idea that after a certain age, the elderly lose their ability to do anything? Suddenly the person doesn’t know anything. I don’t get it. Yes, the person may be a little slower; there may be some changes, but certainly not to the point that they can not be a valuable in the workplace where they had worked for 20 years. I do believe that if it reached this point that the person would take action and retire or do what they had to do to not be a detriment to the company that they worked for. This is not the case, though. When the person reaches a certain age, they are no longer needed. Why? Why? Why?
Once a person leaves his job, it is just about impossible to find another job in his field. Up until this point he had worked quite successfully as a valued worker, but now he does not have the ability to do it anymore. What changed? Once they find out from your application how old you are, it is over. Something needs to change!!!! On the news tonight, they stated that the largest job pool was age 75 and above and the next largest is 55 to 74, but people these ages can not get a job. Nurses are badly needed but yet no one wants a nurse in these age groups. Don’t complain about there being a shortage when this exits. This is absurd and ridiculous.
Abilities don’t just disappear when one reaches the magic 55 or at the most 65. I can only speak for those in the health care profession, more specifically for nurses. I have heard younger staff say that she is old; she needs to retire. How cruel and how not true. The abilities that she brought to her profession did not just disappear when she reached that number. She cared for her patient yesterday and is still able to so today.
In healthcare, as in other professions I am sure, nurses need to keep up with things. Things are always changing in healthcare, but there are always opportunities to learn and most nurses are anxious to go to these learning venues. It is not like they close their eyes to these changes. In fact, if we are talking about change and the difficulties adapting to change, it is not just reserved for the older person. Many, many young people have difficulties with this if one wants to use this argument. Most nurses do keep up to date on things and adjust accordingly.
There is a fallacy, too, about the older person not being able to learn new things. This, too, is not true. Maybe it takes them a little longer, but it is possible. A good is example is when every place went to computers. Before that all of our documentation, etc was done in writing. Those of us that did not grow up in the computer age as well as those that had, had to learn the system and specifically learn the program that the facility was using. I am sure that the staff that was used to computers learned faster, but those that did not, learned and used it without an issue. Just because the person is 55 or above does not mean that he can’t learn.
The older person does not lose what he has already learned and used all of his working life. Yeah, I know that everyone as they age loses some brain cells, but clearly they do not lose that much that fast that they can no longer function. For example, I worked most of my life in behavioral health and I learned the theories in psychology and how to counsel people for years. I think this is ingrained in my brain forever and I am as capable of practicing in this area as well as the new graduate. However, because of my age, I can not get employment. Does this make sense?
People in all professions have something that the newer, younger staff does not have. I am talking about experience. Nothing can take the place of this. The new graduate may have all of the newer things that they learned from books, but that does not begin to take the place of actual practice. When I was teaching continuing education in a hospital, this became quite clear. It was at a time, when nurses were graduating either from a four year baccalaureate program and a three hospital based program. The main difference is that the hospital based program nurse actually got quite a bit of experience in the hospital where the other program got very little experience. It was much easier to orient and get the nurse on their own with the hospital based graduated. Obviously, the experience while in school made a vast difference.
Experience in anything gives the person the advantage of knowing what and how to do it. When people start in any field, they do not have the confidence and abilities that the experienced person has. People learn over the years how to do their job and be great at it. If there are no experience staff left who is going to help mentor the newer people. Again, the person may have the knowledge, but need the experience to be expert in the field. Learning to relate to people is another item that people learn after becoming experienced. This of course is very important in the healthcare field as patients need someone that knows what to say and when. It certainly, also, helps in working with co-workers and others related to what one is doing. All of this is learned over years of experience.
Why Is This Such An Issue?
I don’t really have the answer to this and obviously neither do employers and even government officials. Why is there such a dichotomy? Why are the elderly so devalued? I guess that this is bigger than we think. In some countries, the elderly are revered and well taken care of by their families and by the government. In the US, the elderly are kind of pushed aside and left on their own. This is a topic for another time, but the point is that it is a huge problem and the issue I have been discussing is just one part of it.
One Solution For The Older Person
There has got to be other solutions for this issue. It really does not address the topic of ability and aging, but it at least gives the older worker an option. I am talking about starting your own on-line business. Someone or many someones need to get together and work on other possibilities regarding this problem. For now, though, let me talk a little about starting your own business.
Most people probably need some help in starting your own business. After losing time and money trying to do this, I came across a company that is great in doing this. The name of the company is Wealthy Affiliate. They teach you from the beginning how to set up a website and then how to market it. They offer a lot of education and have a great support system. There is a weekly webinar to either review something or to keep you updated with any changes. There is someone available 24 hours a day 7 days a week if you have questions or need help. Even if you just need to voice your frustrations or even just need some support because of life, someone is available to do this. The cost is very reasonable and you can even start for free for 7 days. If this is for you, you can become a member for $49 a month. Everything is included except the domain if you chose to do this. Hosting is included for 25 sites as well, which is a great savings. I have one at another company that costs me $39 a month for hosting; so you can see how much you save with Wealthy Affiliate.
If you are ready to start an on-line business, click here for more information and to get started.
Is it true that once we reach 55 or 65 at the latest, we have lost our abilities as well? I don’t think so, but employers must because it is extremely, if not impossible to, to get a job after you reach the magic number. It is time that the government gets involved and stop this discrimination, since employers are still doing so. Employers need to start doing something about this, too. Age does not negate ability!!!