In the spirit of the holidays, I call out to individuals 55 and over to share your wish list with Santa. Not the kind of Christmas wishes and dreams we typically hope to receive from relatives and friends.
These are the gifts that city officials, tech innovators, health care professionals, housing developers, appliance manufacturers and others could design for us, the folks growing older.
Here’s a request, Santa, it’s one that several friends and I have in common: Can we please do away with the double price for singles? Living alone bears enough financial hardship on individuals, so why do we also have to stomach a heftier price for memberships, too?
It happens with gyms, local art museums and even in group memberships like AARP. The price to join for an individual is higher than what people in shared households pay.
So, please wave your magic holiday dust, dear Santa, and fix the ‘single gouge.’ Since we have terms for biases such as sexism, ageism and racism, we can call this particular bias, ‘singleism.’ Maybe singles can start a revolution. Will you help us, Santa?
Now that’s off my chest, here are ‘dear Santa’ requests from others living alone across the globe who, like me, are growing older.
Dear Santa, I’m over 60, and I want more public transit and ways to get around. My doctor tells me that I cannot drive to certain medical tests, and that I need to find someone to bring me and take me home.
While I would enjoy a driver, the restriction puts me and thousands of others in a predicament since we live alone and have no one to count on for a ride. So, Santa, can you please help us follow the doctor’s orders and find a reasonable solution?
Dear Santa, how about a service that vets people/drivers who offer a companion service for senior citizens? The driver companion would sit in the medical office while the patient receives the treatment.
Sure, there are home care agencies and private duty nurses, but sometimes the services charge too much. Maybe you could create an app like Nextdoor – one that includes vetting, background checks and references.
And add a banking feature that tallies the hours of the time given/donated. The more hours you give, the more hours you get when you need help.
Here’s how it could work: I give Mary a ride to the doctor’s office, and I wait. Once Mary’s home, she banks my hours. The time loads into my account. When I need help, I draw on it, and either Mary or another neighbor helps me. It’s like a shared time economy.
Dear Santa, I’m a nurse. Quite often, when trained on new software, the trainer is usually 30 years younger and doesn’t get that people my age have trouble viewing computer screens. We need at least 3 things:
Dear Santa, we need access to professional jobs in our fields of specialty, where we are not subject to the same performance review as younger people seeking a promotion and an executive position.
The conversation needs to change from “older workers are unqualified and lacking in skills” to “older workers have excellent skills, experience and a work ethic.”
Other countries have age 55+ professional employment policies. The U.S. has nothing except people laid off at the age of 50. Please help us, Santa. There are so many needs that older individuals have.
What is the one challenge you face and hope that Santa grants? Do you have any suggestions how this challenge can be fixed? Please join the conversation!