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All Ageism In America Isn’t Unwarranted

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

It’s time to face the fact that with America’s aging population it may have an equally growing, unaddressed senility problem… it is to explain why America’s aged, elderly, older populations aren’t venerated in the same way they are throughout Asia and other parts of the world, there isn’t that same level of respect found in highlighted other places, hint it isn’t a youth obsessed culture and steady consumption of celebrity, entrainment magazines, reality TV. That there is a fundamental explanation for how Americas older demographic is treated, why the stereotype of being dumped in a nursing home and forgotten still persists; again it isn’t ungrateful children pawning off their supposed to be loved one onto professional caregivers sans a second thought, too focused on their own career, dreams and goals to be bothered with their increasingly infirmed parent(s). We’ve been sounding off for years about the mass baby boomer retirement and what it meant for everything from the workforce, to social programs, to their children, regularly referred to as the sandwich generation caught between caring for their own budding, growing families and attempting to care for their aging parents; facing tough economic times often unable to move back to their childhood home, in a different city, county, state, unable to afford to have them move in to their small rented apartment, home. Alongside warnings, cautions about needed preparations to handle our rapidly expanding aged population are exposés, number projections on Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive impairment’s devastating impact on older citizens and what it means in terms of caring for them as their disease progresses yet their body elsewise remains intact. But once more that’s just a primer to where we currently are leading into the larger point, those people walking around, obviously older, though not extremely so, who are presumed to have all their faculties and functions, show no blatant signs they are suffering from any cognitive difficulty, dementia, forget Alzheimer’s, unless you are a doctor making said diagnostics all day through a standard work week, people who would be thought of as sources of wisdom, dispensers of sage advice in other cultures repeatedly acting more childish than their generation younger counterparts here. While some are representing a new, nuanced stage of vitality, redefining what it means to be age X in America today, there are those remaining stock examples against raising the retirement age, against elevating social security/Medicare eligibility ages, because they plainly, from a cognitive standpoint can’t do the job they’ve done for 30 years instead are prone to bizarre, obnoxious, bordering on criminally disruptive behavior. Frequent readers will perhaps recognize the train of thought here having at least skimmed my pieces on, who exactly is the entitled generation, depictions of older citizens behaving badly, causing scenes, seemingly incapable of following the basic rules and directions governing a civil society; what video sharing sites like YouTube have done in the era of millennial, young people bashing showcasing Girls Gone Wild escapades, hedonistic spring breaks, unabashed drug use, proudly published fights is to equally display, to anyone interested, the growing quantity of videos featuring older people unable to simply wait their turn in a line, and it isn’t due to wobbly legs and walkers, pained joints, who have out of control fits when told the price of renewing a driver’s license/state ID (under 12.50), surprised and upset by standard banking policies such as the fee extracted for cashing the check of a non-account holder, needing to have your ID to conduct account business and it must be current, not expired. Supposedly to be venerated adults ranting about the abysmal lack of respect present among younger people primarily because they didn’t preface their question to the senior person on the street, ahead in line with sir or ma’am; discounting the number of women who don’t like to be referred to as ma’am making them feel old, men who dislike being addressed Mr. and their last name by, even casual work acquaintances, often relaying it makes them begin looking for their dad, seeking to carve out their own identity, men or women either one who directly ask people to call them by their first name, the loved community member everyone calls aunt, auntie and their name, uncle and their name, again by request. As likely to have a mini nervous breakdown because someone was rude to them, who behave as if they will spontaneously combust, as if their world will end, their life is over if someone mildly disrespects them, whether that was their intention or not. Because the younger person, who is of age themselves, 40 year old confronted by 70 year old let’s say, simply refuses to be ordered around by stranger X recognizing they too are grown, functional adults and have the right to make choices within the law same as the older person, both do not exist solely to make life easier for the other…What’s been missing up to now, even in my own works attempting to prove young people are no worse now than generations before, are no more or less in their feelings of ‘entitlement’ than people at least twice their age, repeatedly less so, is the core why behind it. Overshadowing generation engrained, cultural norm engrained paradigms encompassing the roughly 2 decades comprising their child and early adulthoods causing now older adults to think and behave a certain way, is instead senility, cognitive decline and never treated mental illnesses afflicting staggering percentages in poorer pockets of the country stigmatized by seeking treatment, persons over 50 who haven’t had access to common practice mental health management, far from cutting edge mental health treatment, leaving us sizeable portions of the population foggy, confused and emotionally unstable… Yes the mayor’s comments below are reprehensibly repugnant, not the least of which because he is a public official, also called a public servant meant to represent, advocate the public interest of people in his city, and astoundingly reaching new heights on the hypocritical scale precisely because he is of advanced age himself, a few short years away from the adult diapers and care facilities he denigrates, but equally because he attacks the disabled as well, calling them not full human beings owing to their physical, developmental delays, openly asking what good were they. However his comments aren’t a result of how little value we assign to aged persons in our society, how little we honor and respect older persons, the vast knowledge accumulated throughout a lifetime, things they could teach younger citizens, guiding them during major stages of life common to all human beings. In fact he stands an example of the exact opposite, exactly why we don’t respect our elders as much as other westernized, non-westernized cultures, directly because they do and say things identical to video 1 below, our ranting mayor in all his shameful glory…Keeping in mind there’s a long history of such deplorable behaviors, actions surpassing the mayor’s America, worldwide across modern decades; he’s just our best latest citizen X case, low level politician who should be capable of doing marginal good sans corruption added to celebrities, known names having reasons to be in front of cameras to fall from grace…Leading to the logical question we’re supposed to venerate and respect that, what the latter administrator struggled to explain as an extreme lack of judgement; we’re expected to revere the teacher (71) who kicked over a pre-school special needs child, either carelessly or callously on purpose, in view of school surveillance cameras, or another who literally grabbed and picked up, slamming against the wall, next grabbing by the face a kindergartener coming out of the bathroom, again in ready view of school surveillance she had to know was there and for what, forgetting to ask permission before going to the bathroom, taking too long? Who likewise remembers the California school where the entire staff had to be replaced after a photo print shop stumbled onto sexual abuse including duct taping elementary age kids’ eyes and mouths closed, letting roaches call across their faces and putting his seamen on crackers forcing them to eat it? Think that video is 5 years old and irrelevant, how many people were exposed to have turned a blind eye in the Jerry Sandusky disaster; we just had a 50 year old teacher run off with, probably kidnap, his 15 year old student, how about the gymnastics doctor (53) who apparently spent years sexually abusing underage U.S. gymnastics participants disguised as medical care, massage for muscle ailments while he used his fingers to penetrate their anus or vagina. Nightly news exposés sparked by investigative reporting originally published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution blowing the whistle on just how widespread and prevalent sexual abuse of patients by doctors is across America; male doctors fondling usually female patients while examining rashes, rubbing them in private areas, manipulating the patients hand to rub the doctor while coming out of anesthetic. A divorce lawyer, Michael Fine age 59, just made headlines after being convicted, serving 12 years, for hypnotizing his clients (6 total) in order to then fondle and molest them, absent knowledge or consent for anything that transpired, kidnapping with a sexual motivation; we certainly don’t want said behavior emulated, venerated and respected noting it’s 100% criminal, to say nothing of absolutely devastating to victims. Illustrations from largely one aspect of society alone proving why respecting your elders could land you in jail; that they hold some of our most trusted and sacred positions only multiplies their implied betrayal, added to the assumption age is supposed to bring wisdom, elders are supposed to look out for younger persons, help if they can…Bottom line some aged adults, senior citizens, in growing number percentages, aren’t revered, respected and venerated, doted on, because they don’t deserve it, if you behave/behaved like any of the people previously listed in the paragraph and more besides during your vital years, you aren’t being respected, sought after for advice, your every word hung on as if it were spewing forth from the oracle and Delphi, because you don’t deserve to be…Compounding general meanness, cattiness, pettiness, whose underlying cause may or may not be organic brain disease, early onset mental health problems identified under the definition sociopath, senility, dementia, cognitive impairment, mental instability does explain, better explain the nearly inexplicable racial rants conducted by older white Americans in restaurants, department stores, meltdowns in the grocery aisles, random Americans regularly called the Wal-Martians— individuals of all ages and the antics they get up to in Wal-Mart stores everywhere. Downright zany religious fervor, theories never covered in the bible, the most commonly referenced holy book, expounding, expanding on why people seem so utterly deluded by religion, explains spontaneous explosions of irrational anger and irritation indisputably caught on film. Too often seen is we get so caught up in what these deranged, entitled, worst of American, civil society people are doing we lose any deep thought attempting to answer why, if it is beyond poor upbringings, lack of manners, falling into stereotypes of crotchety old men, grouchy old women, what they said was racist, bigoted, homophobic motivated by religious doctrines, we stop there. Never putting together they fit a basic type: gray, white, salt and pepper hair, horrid documented behaviors extremely common in persons 50 to end of life but can be as young as approaching 40 usually when dealing with mental illness, early onset dementia symptoms, physical characteristics dumpy older women, squat older men, easily upset and confused by the world around them… Same factors playing a huge roll in select aspects of violence, armed militia type groups frequently dubbed y’all Qaeda by independent media, understanding Ammon Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy taught mirroring anti-government sentiments by dear old dad; Bundy senior who became a household name because of a government land dispute, barricading himself and other group members onto seized lands where law enforcement later had to remove them, losing support of small government loving GOP members when he used his 15 minutes of fame to suddenly start commenting on black people… Enhancing that probability nationally, cases such as Robert Dear (57 at commission of crime) who yes mumbled rhetoric about save the babies, clearly impacted by the conservative reaction to anti-abortion propaganda videos used to try and derail, effectively shut down Planned Parenthood, yet also fitting a pre-attack pattern of withdrawing from society, living off the grid in remote dilapidated areas, secluded in the woods, restraining orders, altercations with the law, accusations of domestic violence, wild eyed, unkempt even in court, had numerous incoherent outbursts ultimately found mentally unfit to stand trial. John Russel Houser Louisiana movie theater shooter (59 at commission of crime/date of death) lock step with the pre-incident pattern detailed, wasn’t just older, showing his age in emerging facial wrinkles and graying hair; he had a history of run ins with the law, mental health evaluations, orders of protection placed against him by his own family, became steadily reclusive. Strongly indicating the swastika on his business building, growing fascination with Hitler and continued call in angry rants to his local radio station, writings stating he wanted to target police, government buildings was a manifestation of mental disease; hardly unheard of dual diagnosis encompassing cognitive impairment (dementia, Alzheimer’s proper,) and psychiatric, psychological disorder. As if wanting to do these things, actually following through, regardless your stated reason citing cases of Eliot Roger ‘the misogynist’ and Dylan Roof the ‘race war igniting racist’ doesn’t spell some kind of crazy by the very fact that it happened. Jason Brian Dalton (45), slightly younger, remains true to established patterns graying hair, visible aging, reports of problems at work, outbursts, described as having no conflict resolution skills, went from a stable job in customer service to a transient job driving an Uber, affording more downtime and isolation. When apprehended he claimed the Uber app ‘gave you an assignment,’ controlled his mind and body like artificial intelligence, ‘making him feel like a puppet’ compared the company logo, app symbol to a devil figure. During his court appearance he too had several outbursts resulting in him being literally carried out, removed from the courtroom as it witness broke down in hysterics seeing both him and his unpredictable behavior, eventually deemed fit to stand trial; a determination to be questioned, not because symptoms can’t be faked, people haven’t tried to hide behind ‘insanity’ to avoid jail, Ken Kesey did write One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, instead based on how he’s faking it… it, mental defects discussed, the insidious combo of mental disorder and dementia/senility explains, perhaps better than anything proposed to date, why Curtis Reeves, known for shooting the father of a toddler alleging he was hit with an unknown heavy object beforehand, was so apoplectic about cellphone use in that Florida movie theater, why he thought a bag of popcorn was a threat, because he wasn’t all there to begin with. Explains why one John Spooner thought shooting his teenage neighbor for allegedly stealing his guns, accusations he denied, said denial getting him unceremoniously, cold bloodedly killed, damming footage sealing his life in prison fate captured on his own home surveillance system, was somehow justifiable, he would avoid prison because ‘he didn’t mean to kill him.’ Examining recent news stories take the 51 year old Adam W. Purinton recently arrested shouting get out of my country to 2 men of Indian descent and a 3rd person immediately prior to opening fire on them, Trump supporter, voter but once more older, haggard, though missing common gray hair; 55 year old Rolando Cardenas openly identified by law enforcement as mentally ill allegedly responsible for a Las Vegas strip bus rampage killing one, after which he barricaded himself on the bus’s second floor, no discernable motive. Both mirroring, in age at least, the London shooter of parliament member Jo Cox, executed shortly before the Brexit vote, (52), shouting Brittan first before firing 2 shots, getting close enough to subsequently stab her too. Telling is cataloging differences between mental health, illness, disease treatment approaches there, throughout the U.K., Europe and here, it still yielded a similar type of violence; alluding to, if not a combination of physiological disturbance and age related cognitive impairment, senility, then age’s effect on physiological disturbance management and treatment, age’s effect, negatively, on psychological vulnerability, the psychologically vulnerable.Again it’s what set latter depicted persons off, echoing the previous paragraphs highlights only with dire consequences, devoid of fighting for your rights like Bundy thinks he is, fighting for a cause like Dear believed himself to be, mired in delusions the way Houser in retrospect was; opposite Kansas workplace shooter Cedric Ford sent over the edge by a restraining order to stay away from his girlfriend describing him in court papers as a man in need of a medical/psychological intervention, other workplace disputes dissolving into shootings where the person feared being fired or had been, the older man who sprayed a V for vendetta symbol on the wall of a school board meeting shouting about the loss of his sick wife’s job and along with her health insurance, huge life stressors known to stimulate mental instability. It’s small things, for Dalton a suspected wrong address fare pickup, for Curtis Reeves it was movie theater texting prior to start time, then when confronted calmly by his wife about the absurdity of his response to an annoyance and a heat of the moment thrown bag of popcorn, wagging his finger in her face telling her to shut the F- up; neighbor landscaping disputes ending in murder charges ‘gentleman’ in court doubling as a TV villain recounting documented altercations with the neighbor he eventually killed saying ‘stop cutting trees in a bone chillingly sinister voice…Want a lasting explanation to the craziness that is today’s American politics, look no further than those 4 categories of health problem; unfortunately what was until recently chalked up to Appalachia and southern living, isolated, willful, perpetual ignorance adding a healthy dose of lifetime religious indoctrination, spitting out extreme political stances at adds with a majority of Americans’ opinions, is likely brain disease… On some level we knew this referencing the debate performances ‘12 or ‘16 of Rick Perry expediently dubbing him Rick, does he need medication, is he too medicated Perry, the other famous political Rick, Rick ‘sanitarium’ Santorum given the moniker after several unusual statements claiming amniocentesis, used to test for birth defects, severe genetic abnormalities in utero lead to more abortion or that birth control was a license for teens, sexually active persons to do unnatural things i.e. premarital sex with a side jab at homosexuality thrown in. Still beside amusing and just assumedly ignorant displays came clearly mentally unwell Christine O’Donnell who compared masturbation to adultery, didn’t think condoms could prevent AIDS and famously had to make an ad assuring evangelical voters she wasn’t a witch post candid admissions to dabbling in the ‘art’ as teenage rebellion. Sharon Angle, older possibly cognitively impaired, who in addition to not knowing how social security worked, literally thinking the surplus funds, funds used to pay out benefits were contained in a lockbox in West Virginia, but wanting to privatize it and Medicare; thought processes come to light after she again in 2016 tried to run for national Nevada’s senate seat, post the retirement announcement of sitting member Harry Reid. Angle apparently believed the conspiracy theorist John Britch society and their assertion fluoride in water is a communist mind control plot, not an effort at tooth health, especially in children; the first to talk about second amendment people in 2010 suggesting if you don’t get your way politically you can shoot your opposition a full 6 years prior to Donald Trump. Just 2 of the plethora of lower level political wanna be’s that should make us want to ask more questions of our to be elected officials, the congressman who made his dog chief of staff, the guy in Ohio whose hobby is dressing up in Nazi replica garb and doing WWII reenactments, expecting to be accepted to office, Jim Russell running in a New York district who’s against race mixing, Art Robinson advocating racist British literature almost 2 centuries old used as part of his home schooling curriculum; Georgia state senate majority leader Chip Rogers’ seminar on how Obama and the United Nations were utilizing a cold world era mind control technique to get citizens to surrender their freedoms. The Wilfred Brimley much sillier look alike who couldn’t wrap his head around the number of black people who turned out to vote, wanting to send mailers out to find out where they were returned from to be absolutely sure those, never seen before blacks, were registered to vote where they voted, then tried to defend himself against racism criticism citing the back friend he plays basketball with, also formerly Maine’s RNC chairman; no defense against probable senility though. Jan Brewer, former Arizona governor’s brain freezes and ramblings about beheadings of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by Mexican drug cartels could be signs of everything from mini-strokes to bona fide brain damage, for which she sought no medical attention yet going on to achieve a second term; the many incoherent statements of Newt Gingrich over the decades, including exploration to the moon for mineral extraction, later colonization all to keep kids interested in science he revealed in a 2012 debate. Mike Huckabee perhaps most famously known now for defending child pedophile, porn addict, adulterer Josh Duggar calling his actions youthful indiscretion; I myself broke down his liberals don’t make sense rant showing how he’d missed and mangled most of the facts he was vehemently upset about. His scathing comments about Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z accusing him of pimping her out based on a stage performance with explicit moves “best left to the privacy of her bedroom,” bashing the Obama’s parenting for letting their kids listen to such poisonous music, his comparing gay marriage to drinking/ swearing more doses of irony considering who he supports. Carl Palladio running for governor of New York whose signature plan was to house public assistance recipients in unused prisons giving them personal hygiene skills they didn’t get in dysfunctional homes, who before running for governor was known for racist, pornographic materials he regularly sent out, who spent his short gubernatorial run accusing his rival of an extramarital affair suddenly denying his own, he years earlier spoke candidly about, ragingly homophobic shouting about ‘the gay agenda.’…. Rounding things out with the orange buffoon himself Donald Trump scraping an Electoral College victory while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million more votes, president since the start of his campaign that has been plagued by questions, rumors surrounding his mental health, emotional stability. Psychiatrists, psychologists coming out of the woodwork, damning professional ethics in an attempt to alert the public something isn’t right with him, all the more fuel added to the fire when he not only refused to disclose his medical records in the tradition of presidents past but found a hippy doctor to write a ‘joke’ letter in 5 minutes extoling the wonderfulness of Trump’s health. Morphing into change.org petitions to please have him medically evaluated, a focus group just this week calling his behavior thus far impulsive, chaotic, supports confused or outright abandoning him; the aptly named Trump troubadour feeling hurt, disappointed and betrayed after attending 45 rallies, voting for him believing he would initiate services to combat the opioid epidemic, killing the man’s son for want of insurance, treatment options, get addicts treatment only to try and pass a healthcare bill stripping away government help for what little services, treatment options it does have. There’s even a clinical name for what he may have, delusional senile dementia according to a Daily Kos article dated last year brilliantly written to illuminate the president’s potentially precarious mental health. So it should come as no earth shattering surprise if politicians, who are regular people choosing to run for office, able to gather the funds to run for office suffer from these brain disease, mental illness induced ideas voters, who voted for these baffling candidates landing a few into their respective offices, possess some of the identical problems being in identical age brackets too…
Now in examining what to do about this, how to move forward our intimal knee jerk reaction is to prescribe compassion, suggest leaving people believed to be mentally, cognitively unwell alone if seen out in public being obnoxious, only intervene if they look to be a danger to self or others; shrug it off, rather in the spirit of the Madea movie franchise, chalk it up to a natural response to disappearing respect, society’s reaped consequence for its total disrespect, unbridled contempt for older persons, exactly what not to do… Read More