Elders’ Liberation Is for Everyone

Elders’ oppression is systemic in our cultures. It’s true that in some cultures elders are respected. However, the oppression is still there; it just shows itself differently.

In RC, anyone who is fifty years of age or older is considered an elder. It’s an arbitrary definition, based on when the external and internalized oppression of elders usually becomes obvious. When some of my friends turned fifty, I noticed that they were suddenly worried about at least two things: “getting old,” and their waning short-term memories. They were suddenly “an elder,” because the oppression had caught up with* them.

But elders’ oppression affects everyone. It is to everyone’s benefit that we discharge about it. As young people, we watch loved ones—people who probably have limited access to discharge—age. As we approach each decade, we are reminded that we are getting older, and that old is not good. How many of you who are thirty to fifty years of age dreaded that birthday that landed on the decade (thirty, forty, fifty)? The feelings can be insidious, and unless they’re discharged, they affect our relationships with elders and begin making us afraid of growing old ourselves. I challenge those of you who are under fifty to begin working on your feelings about aging.


Without discharge, the aches and pains accumulate and our bodies deteriorate. However, it is never too late to take care of our bodies and begin discharging our distresses about them.

If you are not yet an elder, you can begin taking care of your body and discharging your distresses about it now. Don’t wait until those aches and pains and other physical hurts accumulate. Work on them now. It will help you become an ally to elders, while taking care of your own future.

Those of us who are over fifty have usually accumulated more physical hurts and more fears of growing old. Many of us start slowing down and stop making our lives any bigger. We often feel that the aches and pains are inevitable and let them define us. But they are not inevitable. Just as our bodies can heal when we are younger, they can heal as we get older. It just takes a bit more time. As with our other distresses, we need to work hard on our physical hurts in Co-Counseling sessions, and take a positive direction outside of sessions.

At times we may need outside intervention to hasten the healing. Or we may need to accommodate a limitation for a while, and that’s okay—the goal is not necessarily to heal immediately.

I challenge all of us to take our bodies seriously and to work on whatever is in our way of feeling good about them. The physical hurts, aches, and pains do not define us. They are simply there to remind us to keep working on the distresses and to keep thinking about what will optimize our physical well-being—including figuring out when we need assistance from the medical establishment.

I like relating this to our work on the environment. If we can’t take care of ourselves, we can’t heal the planet. I think we can do both!

Pam Geyer
International Liberation
Reference Person for Elders
Bellaire, Texas, USA

* Caught up with means overtaken.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00