Age-Friendly Discussion Groups

Respect & Social Inclusion

The phrase “those people” is my personal red flag. Whenever I find myself labeling others as “those people,” it’s a cue to broaden my circle. I’ve learned there’s a new verb for this: “othering.” It means “to view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself.” Even our language of inclusion is evolving.

Age Friendly Seattle also mentions the need to increase community understanding of dementia. In the State of Washington, we are fortunate to have the Dementia-Action Collaborative, which has published the Dementia Action Roadmap Guide for Family and Care Partners. (Find this at www.dshs.wa.gov and type “dementia” in the search box. For a paper copy, please send your name and mailing address to dementiaroadmap@dshs.wa.gov or call 360-725-2545).

With respect to including LGBTQ elders, we are fortunate to have organizations such as Generations Aging with Pride (gapseattle.org, 206-393-3400).

One way of looking at our own views on respect and social inclusion is to consider the books we read. Are all of your favorite authors from one country, writing in the same language? Do the characters you resonate with represent similar backgrounds? Are they of varying ages? Every time I branch out and read a children’s book or a book meant for teens I realize how narrow my “comfort zone” of reading really is. KCLS’ “10 to Try” (www.kcls.org/10-to-try) challenge is a fun way of nudging you into unfamiliar reading territory. It encourages you to read a book in each of 10 categories that can provide new and different reading experiences (finisher prizes and a drawing await!).

In closing, I offer for contemplation these lines from Edwin Markham’s poem “Outwitted”:

He drew a circle that shut me out–

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him in!

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you define “respect and social inclusion?” How does this differ from our previous topic of social participation?
  2. Have you ever experienced being “on the outside?” What did you do, or what did others do to either include/exclude you?
  3. Do you ever feel “invisible?” Share your experience with this phenomenon.
  4. How do you show respect to others? How do we include those with whom we don’t have a natural affinity? Can you think of a time you did so? What was the outcome of your efforts?
  5. In what types of gatherings do you feel most at home? Most left out?
  6. Do you make an effort to seek out viewpoints different from your own? Why or why not? What do you think you might learn if you did so?


Age-Friendly Discussion Groups

Do you have a group to discuss topics of interest to the 50+ crowd? Look for this feature in every issue of Northwest Prime Time, brought to you by AARP Washington, King County Library System, and Aging and Disability Services–the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle/King County.

Don’t have your own group? You are invited to participate in the monthly Kitchen Table Talks: On September 20 from 1-2pm, Age Friendly Seattle will host another lively monthly conversation about age-friendly communities. This discussion opportunity is open to all. You can call in from anywhere 206-386-1200 or toll-free 1-844-386-1200 (when prompted, enter code 6142451) or visit https://bit.ly/2wfEDB0 (when prompted, enter code 6142451). For additional information, visit www.seattle.gov/agefriendly/events or, if you have questions about this event ahead of time, call 206-386-1521.

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