The Law Firm That's Fighting Ageism
Research and Innovations Ageism occurs when we don’t respond to seniors' needs because we structure society for the young. One Canadian law firm wants that to change.
Ageism isn’t a word that many of us consider, but it can have a huge impact on older people. It happens when we allow negative attitudes and stereotypes about aging to take root, or we don’t respond to the needs of seniors, because we structure society with the assumption that everyone who matters is young.
We spoke with Michelle Roth — a partner with Goodmans LLP, and President and CEO of SenbridGe, a division of Goodmans dedicated to health care and aging — who is passionate about seniors’ issues.
Mediaplanet: What is ageism?
Michelle Roth: Ageism is a conscious or subconscious bias towards seniors. We’ve lost a little bit of what traditional cultures held as important, the fundamental tenet that our lives and society are enriched by the elders in our communities.
Why is it important to change our mindset about aging?
We’re being forced to change how we think about seniors because in the blink of an eye, this demographic will become the majority of the population in North America. We’re empowering seniors and changing people’s minds about what happens when we age. There’s amazing growth and fullness of life to look forward to well beyond our 90s, including post-career education, multiple or encore careers, travel, and enjoying meaningful life achievements in innovative, active adult settings.
How did Goodmans get involved in aging and health?
We’re lucky and privileged to have clients who are pioneers in housing and care for seniors, and it just made sense for us to create a dedicated division to advance aging and health care industries and initiatives.
What is SenbridGe by Goodmans?
SenbridGe is a one-of-a-kind aging and health care platform that we created to bring together stakeholders to collaboratively explore and challenge trends, best practices, innovation, and technology. We created a hub for deal creation and for peer collegiality and mentorship. In fact, our SenbridGe Spring conference is the largest health and aging event in Canada. One of our chief goals is to be a strong participant in changing mindsets about older life options and opportunities.
Are you hopeful that we’re moving in the right direction?
MR I’m very excited by the changes we’re witnessing in the lives of seniors. The range of lifestyle offerings in active adult communities and diverse activities that seniors relish today — not to mention the food — weren’t options for people 25 years ago. There are also tremendous innovations that will be game changers as we age, including social robotics, improved mobility devices, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. In the words of 73-year-old Cher, “if you really want something, you can make it happen!”