The Power of Our Words

Article excerpt

The new year started out with subtle signs of a slowly improving economy, a Republican-led Congress primed to take on healthcare reform and catastrophic flooding around the globe mat pointed up the real possibility of climate change. And with each of diese events came resounding rhetoric from many voices - unfiltered on the Web through blogs and streaming amateur videos, on cable TV with shouting matches between pundits and in national print news stories.

Then the January 8 shootings happened in Arizona. Immediately, we heard another torrent of words - this time about the nature of debate and a call for civility. While some voices chose to remain silent, others did not. When President Obama spoke at a January 12 memorial in honor of those who lost their lives in Tucson, he directly addressed our modern issues with communication, saying:

"... at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized - at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do- it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds. ... "

Many people in our media and in Washington, D.C. - on both sides of the aisle - commended the president on his ability to bring us together, with words.

THE ISSUE AT HAND

The power of words is formidable, and ASA respects that might. From the thoughtful composition of our mission statement through to the publications and other educational and promotional materials we create, ASA endeavors to select language that conveys our true intention: to unite the diverse community that we serve and to support and lift up professionals in the field of aging so that they can, in turn, best serve our nation's elders.

Words have the ability to resonate long after they are written or uttered. In the pages of both Aging Today and in our quarterly journal, Generations, we work hard to carefully craft our words - not to shout, but to contribute reasoned and useful information that allows our members, whatever their discipline, to take direct and positive action on improving the lives of older Americans.

As you will see in this issue of Aging Today, we've featured noteworthy speakers at our upcoming conference-speakers addressing everything from the preservation of Social Security to assessing brain health at home through the measured use of high technology. And we've profiled an energetic example of grace in old age in park ranger Betty Soskin, a gifted storyteller who sets a dynamic, infallible example of what continued curiosity and passion can bring to an encore career. Her story is one that we hope will inspire people of any age to engage with their communities - and with me glorious diversity of the larger American community.

Our sincere hope is that the stories in these pages will also inspire both you, our members, and those in the field of aging at large to come to San Francisco in April and attend as many panels, and workshops as possible at the Aging in America Conference. The conference is the perfect forum for networking and connecting with aging services professionals to further your own education - or to pass along what you've learned.

We are currently putting the final touches on our 201 1 -12 editorial lineup for Aging Today, which will feature sharply focused, themed sections on such topics as multiculturalism and aging, aging and the LGBT community, health reform and the new advocacy, me "new" older woman, and much more. …