The COVID-19 pandemic has once again revealed to the broader population that while we are all aging and older adults are core members of our communities, older adults also face major social and health-related disparities. In the U.S., aging is often seen not as something to honor and revere but as something to fight and avoid. This cultural reluctance to embrace aging, and failure to see diversity and different needs of older adults has resulted in structures and systems that do not adequately support people as they age nor their families and caregivers. This leaves older adults, family systems and our communities multiply vulnerable. For many older people of color, LGBTQ older adults, and others, these barriers are heightened by disadvantages accumulated across a lifetime, such as inequities associated with racial, socioeconomic and educational status. This lecture series is intended to examine these disparities, which are woven into the current fabric of our society and spark considerations for new systems — ones designed to honor, celebrate and care for our older adults.
The 2021–2022 Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series, “Aging in America: Justice for All?,” will explore changing demographics in the U.S. and how long-standing age-related biases in our society affect our health and well-being, with the aim to broaden our understanding and awareness of agism as it intersects with racism, gender, sexuality and class. It will also celebrate the diversity of older adults and how attention to aging and disability can innovate and improve how we design, inhabit and grow more sustainable communities. Speakers in the series will aim to stimulate conversations among the UNH and broader communities about the roles we each play in creating the environment we want to age in— now and in the future. In this vein, our sessions include both keynote speakers and community-based panel sessions with area older adults, governmental and private service providers, and others. The resulting conversations will endeavor to empower individuals, UNH and the greater community to capitalize on the positive aspects of aging and build person-centered systems and communities that support all of us as we age.
Proposed sessions include:
- Aging in America: We Are All in This Together (October 2021)
- Caregiving: Honor and Burden, Contributions, and Impact (November 2021)
- Aging in Place: Black Perspectives (February 2022)
- Engineering for Humanity: Design, Accessibility and Intergenerational Partnerships (March 2022)
- LGBTQIA+: The Social Injustice of Being Forced Back in the Closet (April 2022)
- Elder Parole Activism Reignited Amid Covid-19 (April 2022)
- Co-sponsored Phi Beta Kappa Distinguished Guest Lecture: Building a World that Includes Disability (tba)
Join us for these interactive discussions, which will also include live graphic illustration and mapping of our collective conversation. Sessions will begin in October of 2021 and run through April of 2022. More details will be announced and available on the Sidore Series webpage. We will be honoring Covid-19 protocols. October and November sessions will be held virtually.
The series is being organized by Casey Golomski, associate professor of anthropology; Allison Wilder, faculty fellow, UNH Center on Aging and Community Living and associate professor, UNH Department of Recreation Management and Policy; Laura Davie, co-director, UNH Center on Aging and Community Living and UNH Institute for Health Policy and Practice director of long term care and aging; Jennifer Rabalais, co-director, UNH Center on Aging and Community Living and UNH Institute on Disability project director; Allyson Ryder, assistant director, UNH Office of Community, Equity and Diversity; and Kate Crary, project director, UNH Institute for Health Policy and Practice and Center on Aging and Community Living.
The Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1965 in memory of Saul O Sidore of Manchester, New Hampshire. The purpose of the series is to offer the University community and the state of New Hampshire programs that raise critical and sometimes controversial issues facing our society. The University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities sponsors the programs.