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Reconsider the “Memorial” Validations

As an elder, I would like to point out something that seems wrong to me when people appreciate me at the end of a class or support group. Some of them validate me for my past only, and have done so for many years, and quite consistently do not appreciate anything about me that is current. I feel at these times like I am at my own memorial service rather than being offered a thoughtful validation.

I have many past achievements that are worthy of appreciation, but I also am alive now and still have qualities and activities I engage in that are worth validation.

We have all been targeted and conditioned by ageism since we were born, so the distress is heavy and understandable in all of us. However, if you recognize that you might be aiming “memorial”-type validations at elders, please rethink how consistently you do so. Once in a while it’s nice to be reminded of our past accomplishments, but I think that most of the time most of us elders would prefer to be appreciated for who we are today.

Anne Mackie
Cary, North Carolina, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for 
RC Community members and leaders of Elders

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00