The Elderly and Retired; Thoughts from Final Notice

Use this forum to discuss the March 2018 Book of the Month, "Final Notice" by Van Fleisher.
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qsusan
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The Elderly and Retired; Thoughts from Final Notice

Post by qsusan » 02 Mar 2018, 08:10

In the book, the elderly are depicted as a sidelined populace. This sidelining can't solely be attributed to young people. Other senior citizens, life, and even their own bodies are all perpetrators of the act. Yet no one ever truly wishes to be sidelined.

Don't you wonder what kind of incidents or slights could possibly escalate Stan's father's resentment till the point he decides to hail his death with a shooting spree? Or what motive or justification the man in the mall, who belligerently pushes Vince to the floor posesses? These are some of the things the book made me think and ponder on.

I do not live in the US where the story is based, so it is difficult for me to say that things are so and so, but neither American literature nor films give me the impression that those in the twilight of their years can expect to recieve the respect that is their privilege and right in my culture. At best geriatrics can expect to be treated as beloved burdens.

Why do you think things are like this? And do you think that the elderly like Vince are threatened or feel threatened- like children and women are- for being percieved as weaker?

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Post by kfwilson6 » 02 Mar 2018, 10:31

I absolutely believe that Fleisher depicted society's views on senior citizens quite accurately. Kindhearted people with good morals and values will not push a 70 year old man aside in the store but even the most patient of us find ourselves thinking "why are you walking so slow", "can't you drive any faster", "this isn't that difficult, why don't you understand". If I break my leg and walk around the grocery store on crutches, people will probably have pity and make accommodations. They will not be walking behind me thinking "gosh I wish this lady would hobble a little faster" (typically, and this is just my assumption). It is truly sad that people become so frustrated and outdone with elderly people who cannot help the physical changes they must endure.

On the other side of that coin, frustration, like what Stan's father experienced, can simply come from those physical changes and not from societal views. If you used to run 5 miles every morning and now can't even walk up a flight of stairs, you would likely find yourself frustrated by your own limitations. Not everyone can take this in stride.

Very thought provoking topic that Fleisher presents and you chose to discuss. Hopefully this book will help to make readers more sensitive to the burdens that elderly people are challenged with.

Also-yes I would say that elderly people are viewed as "weaker". They are probably the main target of internet scams. Although this is a reference to mental rather than physical weakness, it is still a concern and puts them on a similar level with children in terms of their naiveté.

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Post by DancingLady » 02 Mar 2018, 10:41

I think the number one reason is because society has pushed God out, therefore “honor your father and mother” has ceased to be a command. Without God as the ultimate authority, the individual becomes his own authority and that leads immediately to an extremely self centered world view where people only see others for what they can get from them. When a person is old and can not contribute the kind of things they used to, the self centered person no longer has much interest in the old. So much wisdom and insight is lost by neglecting the elderly, but when the (adult) children are focused only on themselves, wisdom is not even on the radar. I’m seeing this novel in part as a commentary on secularism and a projection of one of its impending consequences. As a Christian I see Jesus as the only solution because no matter what we do through legislation, only Jesus can change the heart of man, and without a change of heart, no meaningful change is going to happen.

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Post by Manali_DC » 03 Mar 2018, 03:49

I think the descriptions of the elderly and retired are very accurately portrayed in the book. The general perception is that the elderly are weak and slow and they don't know much about modern technology. That could be very frustrating to a lot of retired elderly people, who might have actually been in a position of power, management, scientific development- and this is what is shown in the book. The anger and resentment in a such a situation is understandable.

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Post by sepicatt » 03 Mar 2018, 06:43

I think the perception of elderly people in the book mirrors that of society. While there are many elderly people who do run marathons and lift weights, biology does have an effect and people have lost their empathy to help others. I just witnessed this in the gym last night. Someone yelled at an older man because he was walking to slow in between machines. They called him 'grandpa'.

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Post by azerikaj » 03 Mar 2018, 13:13

I find it kind of a bleak portrait, but kind of accurate.
Also wondering if technology moving so fast these days plays a role.

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Post by DancingLady » 03 Mar 2018, 16:49

azerikaj wrote:
03 Mar 2018, 13:13
I find it kind of a bleak portrait, but kind of accurate.
Also wondering if technology moving so fast these days plays a role.
I'm 29, and I have thought technology is moving too fast since I understood the definition of "technology!" At this point it is beyond totally unnatural, so yes, it may definitely be playing a role. I think in general, the older a person gets, the more obvious it becomes that what we call "normal life" in America right now is anything but "normal" in the sense of history, consequently living a life that feels more normal inherently is going to look backwards to younger people who are more often caught up in current trends and being modern and cool, even at great expense, so there is a major point of tension created there.

There is also the issue of relationships. Technology and modern life have really done a number on human interaction if we really take an honest look at it. You can chat online for hours and still feel completely alone and deprived of love. Older people usually know by experience what a true human connection is, and isn't, while many young adults admit to not even knowing how to have a relationship, so the young are actually depriving the old of relationships with them because they have been raised without ever learning how to build real relationships.

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Post by jessinikkip » 04 Mar 2018, 02:54

From the perspective of living in the US, I'd say the book very accurately portrays how the elderly are treated. I was reading an article just the other day about how someone can be declared unable to care for themselves and set to a retirement home with a "caretaker" over looking their stuff. This is all legally binding and the caretaker is whoever is on the court payroll - NOT family of the elder. Then that caretaker can take payments from the person's bank account, sell their house and car, keep their family from seeing them....

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Post by P0tt3ry » 04 Mar 2018, 10:20

jessinikkip wrote:
04 Mar 2018, 02:54
From the perspective of living in the US, I'd say the book very accurately portrays how the elderly are treated. I was reading an article just the other day about how someone can be declared unable to care for themselves and set to a retirement home with a "caretaker" over looking their stuff. This is all legally binding and the caretaker is whoever is on the court payroll - NOT family of the elder. Then that caretaker can take payments from the person's bank account, sell their house and car, keep their family from seeing them....
I was just reading about this legal form of elder abuse also, maybe it was the same article in the Smithsonian. The book does portray our society's attitude toward the elderly pretty accurately. Our seniors are, for the most part, treated has having exceeded their usefulness. Being marginalized and treated as a burden, is it any wonder Vince became frustrated and angry enough to snap?

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Post by stacie k » 04 Mar 2018, 11:35

DancingLady wrote:
02 Mar 2018, 10:41
I think the number one reason is because society has pushed God out, therefore “honor your father and mother” has ceased to be a command. Without God as the ultimate authority, the individual becomes his own authority and that leads immediately to an extremely self centered world view where people only see others for what they can get from them. When a person is old and can not contribute the kind of things they used to, the self centered person no longer has much interest in the old. So much wisdom and insight is lost by neglecting the elderly, but when the (adult) children are focused only on themselves, wisdom is not even on the radar. I’m seeing this novel in part as a commentary on secularism and a projection of one of its impending consequences. As a Christian I see Jesus as the only solution because no matter what we do through legislation, only Jesus can change the heart of man, and without a change of heart, no meaningful change is going to happen.
I could not agree with you more! As we move more and more towards an amoral society, we will unfortunately see more and more of these kinds of consequences. I am saddened by the realities that Final Notice brings to light and wish for a day when we once again value the wisdom that those before us have to offer and desperately seek the change that only Jesus can offer.
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2018, 14:49

I think it's because bullies always target those who are weaker than them. The elderly are an easy target. That doesn't make it right....
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

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Post by melissy370 » 04 Mar 2018, 16:22

DancingLady wrote:
02 Mar 2018, 10:41
I think the number one reason is because society has pushed God out, therefore “honor your father and mother” has ceased to be a command. Without God as the ultimate authority, the individual becomes his own authority and that leads immediately to an extremely self centered world view where people only see others for what they can get from them. When a person is old and can not contribute the kind of things they used to, the self centered person no longer has much interest in the old. So much wisdom and insight is lost by neglecting the elderly, but when the (adult) children are focused only on themselves, wisdom is not even on the radar. I’m seeing this novel in part as a commentary on secularism and a projection of one of its impending consequences. As a Christian I see Jesus as the only solution because no matter what we do through legislation, only Jesus can change the heart of man, and without a change of heart, no meaningful change is going to happen.
Don't think I can express this anymore eloquently. The one thing I liked about this book is the portrayal of the elderly. Not liking of them feeling this way but the realism of their situation. Their sense of loneliness and loss of purpose is heartbreaking. Elderly are not the only ones with these feelings. Suicide rates in general are high. Where do we go to find purpose? Certainly not in ourselves.

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Post by azerikaj » 04 Mar 2018, 16:47

I have had truly profound connections to others that began(and in some cases due to distance, remain) as predominantly online relationships, so it can be done. Does it always happen? No. But I can't really believe that past eras' suburban bowling leagues or what-have-you, were hotbeds of intimacy.(Well, okay, maybe if you liked "The Ice Storm" (wink)) Although that might be one issue. However, I was thinking about both automation(Which means, as time goes on, if the experts are right, within forty years or so, almost nobody will have a "day job" in the sense that we currently define one.) The economy will literally "need" fewer people so society will face that dislocation at younger ages...I already do, because I'm on disability and get benefits.that technology moving so fast also means that, possibly, life experience gets treated like another product to be cast aside for the fresh and new? Just some thoughts.

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Post by Jkhorner » 05 Mar 2018, 08:48

DancingLady wrote:
03 Mar 2018, 16:49
azerikaj wrote:
03 Mar 2018, 13:13
I find it kind of a bleak portrait, but kind of accurate.
Also wondering if technology moving so fast these days plays a role.
I'm 29, and I have thought technology is moving too fast since I understood the definition of "technology!"
I think that not only is our technology advancing quickly, but our livelihoods are speeding up right along with it. Life is so fast-paced, that we often feel we can't take the time to sit and do nothing with an elderly relative. We don't have the time off work to fly up and see those grandparents you haven't visited since you moved away from college.

As a newly-married 20-something, I feel all too keenly the pull to be always busy in my community and rarely do I step back and pay attention to the people that make up that community.

So do we push the elderly aside? Yes. Not necessarily out of spite, but because we simply haven't got the time.

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 05 Mar 2018, 09:00

The idea of the senior citizens being targeted by the NRA is the point of the book that had me thinking the most. The NRA is in the business of selling guns and they specifically manipulated a group in society that is made to feel powerless. They are made to feel redundant, they are being pushed around (literally, as Vince talks about early in the novel). The NRA targets the feeling that they have lost control and offers them gun ownership as a way of getting their power back. They give seniors who might feel confused or intimidated in public a way of feeling strong and protecting themselves.

I think right now, especially there is such a huge gap between senior citizens and young people due to technology. It is easy for an older person to feel the world doesn't belong to them anymore.

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