Picture yourself at a family reunion or some type of social community event. As you look around, you will likely see people of all ages who come from rural or urban areas. They likely carry various life experiences and perhaps have cultural and interpersonal differences.
At events like these, we often automatically recall our stereotypes as we gaze over the people. The older folks are stuck in their ways. The younger people are too engrossed in technology to carry on a real conversation. So we flock to the people we know best, who are most like us, because we live in a society of STPs, or “same ten people.” That’s according to Donita Whitney-Bammerlin, faculty member in Kansas State University’s College of Business Administration.
Whitney-Bammerlin said she believes generations of people need to better understand one another to maximize on the uniqueness that all people have to offer to a family, workplace or community.
“As humans we tend to get tunnel vision,” she said. “I think it’s important for people to realize certain strengths and weaknesses of people who are different than them.”
We see a greater disparity among generations today than ever before, Whitney-Bammerlin said, because we as a society have gotten away from two things: sitting down over a family meal and talking with one another and progressing away from intergenerational living in the United States.
“I don’t think communities maximize the innovativeness and energy that may be with a young generation, or on the other side, sometimes we don’t maximize on the wisdom and experiences of senior generations,” she said.
Whitney-Bammerlin plans to discuss the multiple generations in society today as the keynote speaker at an upcoming conference called “Positive Aging: Protect Your Health, Wealth and Self,” which will promote positive attitudes about aging. The event is Tuesday, June 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st St. North in Wichita.
In addition to Whitney-Bammerlin’s presentation on understanding generations, participants may attend informational sessions that include living with low vision, opportunities provided in senior centers, Veterans Administration disability compensation, effective exercises for older adults, 10 things every caregiver should know, disaster preparedness, simple steps to becoming organized, downsizing and Medicare basics.
Other sessions include keeping yourself and your property safe, the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s disease, scams against seniors, end-of-life decisions, senior housing information, elder law an Medicaid planning, medication interactions, cooking for one or two, dining with diabetes, and vitamins, herbals and supplements for seniors.
Registration is $10.50 per person, and the advance registration deadline is June 17 to secure a lunch. The registration fee covers continental breakfast, boxed lunch, workshops and vendor booths.
The “Positive Aging” event is presented by K-State Research and Extension, Wichita State University and the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging. Event sponsors include Comfort Care Homes, Comfort Keepers, Home Instead Senior Care and Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice
For registration and program information, visit http://www.agingexpo.k-state.edu or your local extension office.