Having studied the literature on Aging for the requisite CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for renewal of my state licensure in marriage and family therapy, I noticed the absence of any discussion about community psychology. It is just assumed that as we age in California, there will always be a social safety net for the baby boomers. But the public discourse about making cuts in entitlements tells another story. For those of us who are single and have no children, what will the aging process look like in the next 20 years, especially if there are major cuts in medicare and social security?
From an integral perspective, I think we can expect more angst about aging in the next two decades. We can expect higher levels of Depression in the aging population, despite the optimistic narratives about successful aging. Living in a culture that values youth over the elderly, is there reason for optimism in the future for our aging populations? I understand that in Europe, Canada and Japan, the elderly are more resigned to the aging process, given the assurance of a social safety net. What must aging be like for those who live in societies that have no promise of a social safety net? The Chinese and Indians have much cause for concern in this area, not to mention all the undocumented residents in the USA and elsewhere.
Clearly, the greater need for self-care and personal responsibility for self-sufficiency will be the cause of much angst, if the societies in which we live do not guarantee reliable social safety nets. From an integral perspective, those of us who are aging will need to take full responsibility for our physical, mental and financial health.
Love, light and shadow,
Dr. Jalaledin Ebrahim, LMFT