The First Amendment; Elderly Rights
The eastern Public Radio Network in cooperation with the Institute for democratic medication at Boston University now presents the First Amendment and the Free People Weekly examination of civil liberties in the media. In the 1970s the host of the program is the institute's director Dr. Bernard Rubin. I'm pleased to have on this edition of The First Amendment a free people doctor author Lynn and Phil the physician in chief at the Hebrew rehabilitation center for the aged in Roslindale. Dr. Arthur Linendoll is the distinguished musician known for his work in internal medicine and geriatrics. He was educated at Harvard College It got his A B there 1937. And at the Harvard Medical School where he received his medical doctorate in one thousand eight hundred forty one he is now a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School as well as at the Beth Israel Hospital being a physician there.
And I want to repeat after if I may your very important work as physician in chief at the Berea rehabilitation center for the aged in Roslindale. If I may I'd like to suggest that the mass media don't pay enough attention to the real needs of people who are getting old. I don't even like to use that phrase senior citizen. We all get old and we all have our rights in our interests but somehow as the body Withers the interests of the society in general seems to be diminished in us. I like to start out by asking this question. Speaking as a physician through all your years of experience behind you what could you tell us about the relationship between doctors and their elders and the elderly and what their attitudes are and should be in your own profession. Thank you I think. That's going to interact an important question
because Dr. Dhar people like everyone else and we know that unfortunately. Considerable lack of enthusiasm among many structure doctors Thaiday about the way on New done pubmed of all people by the way I think we need to be kept going a bit about the definition of all that I think you implied and I and and I talked with a Kurd a and Medicare. You're doing a deep dive. What had he had got by I find to be younger and younger and age and I think that we have to be kept or not to be a Thai people just because of that kind of advocate and I think earlier when we were talking about old people
and special in need and problems we often got involved and groups of people who may be much older and the tub and page on $80 and 90 and. I think we look at individuals whom I took at the problem down that need and not just that just because it has to be five that they should be connected at all. Now Doctor there's been a lot written about the POV and about it too and I stressed I had it again about how do we people and unfortunately unfortunately less common among doctors and part of the problem is that while it's a complex problem because it has a lot to do with the thing that many doctors get their status faction found it had to do
with a mocking difference between. They taught us facts and things that need to be done. But people where that cure would go next to an a younger age group come pad very often with people who all would and while many of the problems are chronic one where the conditions are often incurable and while the goals of what the doctor died must be very different. Knowing what the golden younger people I thought when we read about this problem in the media. My own feeling is of course as the body Withers the brain sometimes remains better than ever before interest in politics and social life in everything that a person could be interested in maybe unflagging the zeal for participation may even be
increased or become more acute. But when we read about older people in the media we either read about the what you would refer to as the geriatric Gold Coast at Palm Beach or to the horrors of life in the in the more sordid nursing home situations. All the media the mass media radio television newspapers. Are they sensitive to the needs of older people or is this a disenfranchised group in some ways that are going to the extent of acting. First let me address my stuff. So the first point that you made which was not really a question but a date men were cowards in their gray and that is that
just because people are really all Beverley out OIT and at the end to torture and while I spend most of my time now we have 100 people who live there different conclusion a dry home for the aged. What had been a project of trying from a can a number of years now moving from the world of nutting home and into coach and without much development but have way more modern world that relate to going to best of their own heart. But all of the program development and demolition of blighted activity regarding the outer way that we need we have 100 people. With an average age now between 84 and 85 and we have only a handful of
people who understand and I know you have you have a small community. We have indeed a small community with the aid that I mentioned I've aid rendered now found in the high stick to pay to 100 to create old and that was no question that I do pointed out many of the people of course unfortunately all both in body and in mind. But there are many many who body and who'd mind paying and a lot who unfortunately need to be in an entity of time type and I happen to be here because they are no longer able to continue independent living and they need which they have cannot be met at home. How are the needs and that of these people for those who are active.
Mentally active as they were mentally how were the needs of men meant for nudes and you lose and being wronged with what's going on in the world that concerns all human beings. I think if you're asking how how it's done and I want to caution but I'd activated on the data that we do had much I do what I do well need to be done and I'm not at all sure. We have we have an active. We have actor programmed and paid which include recreation or a very general paratime time call would we have an active service department and who are involved with a budget and in a block where you know activity both well then and
without the antidote then we do have a lot of television touch on the end to Cochon what's on it. I think maybe too much of the time but which out only on a great day all PO's I stop you right there and I when people watch the television sets do they see things that are the meat as I said before the media sensitive stuff so put it in a different way. What are the media needs of people who find themselves in institutions with their physical comfort comes first. Well that's an interesting question I think. I'm not sure that I've ever given a lot of thought to the media needs of the group of people that we're talking about although I would immediately say there's that. A patron who early doesn't train just
because he happen automatically just because he happened to Great Britain. And just because he happened to live here and I am sure that the media need many of the people there are just as good. I Time would tell you I don't mind and certainly just as great as Leopold's to count skis were for many many years and just as great as Arthur Fiedler is are and so on and so forth. But we don't ordinarily recognize that do we know. No we do not we do not and and and I think that I think that we need to help people. And I went to Khotan. I have access to radio and TV they have other things on ADT but I know about a
lot of books being quoted around the end to question I while I've been there. I have become more familiar than I was before with lied when I determined a book on the New York Times which I have today in a number of legit and trading. I know that there are magazine go around. Oh that time of that I wished I could say that a person who lived there it having all the media need met that they like I cut back that not the case. Well I know author Linda thought as a physician as a leader of your profession that you are particularly sensitive to these needs. Is this an area where the medical profession though is only beginning to recognize the intellectual qualities of older people. For example should should we really study this with the same
intensity as we study the educational needs of 6 year olds. Well. Yeah I think the answer to your question Manado draft with a few modification and maybe add a petition. I contrived something about the medical profession that you might have to take the medical profession had not done or not by now and I think that that had one of the areas where I worked a lot. Great a gap that we mentioned a great deal on that is between what is known and the application of what is known. You know authored this summer in Great Britain I was surprised and indeed intellectually shocked perhaps emotionally shocked
at some of the comments being carried in the British press. Criticizing many who are against old people for example many people get on buses and public transportation in general say there aren't enough seats because the old people have these free passes or the old people should not be getting low rates to the movies or to the theaters. They ought not be getting subsidies from the government for their their increment of financial instruments and so on there is a there is actually a feeling against old people as more and more of us because of medical knowledge are retaining older ages. Yet on parting of Binod we have that in this country too and I know I have heard and read paperwork and health peyote non production and non-production
for example although I could better ride prediction saying that I'll tell you who are up to that because the dollar banned in this country for Medicare. And failing that the I get a number are now in the belly and per year that I've been banned on Medicare legislation designed to help people protect the Piven Oba that they would Bill you and being taken away. A group where they say I needed no question and be quote could do more good unquote. And that's a cost that I think perhaps they need to continue debating. And I think they all old people need advocates. Old people need advocate because
perhaps we can't do all of the things that after Thaiday that need to be dying and we want to do. But I cannot accept and I'm sure you're kind of and I know and you know I cannot accept that the way we do more. But somebody is to do a lot by orderly people. That's exactly right. Under the under the Bill of Rights which is so vital to the work of our institute and so so much behind why we do these these radio programs we are guaranteed freedom of speech and of the press and of assembly. But these are vapid these are empty unless for older people unless they have advocates in specific I would like to be specific I'd like to ask you about the media work now again television programs will say or what little radio there is or print material.
We are shown old people. There are even stark characters in the in the media that are seen weekly who are obviously older. They're usually portrayed as buffoons or a secondary characters or as people who don't have initiatives. What. What can we do about the the this problem which is raised by the distinction between showing something of a near a surface reflection a glossy image or really deep picked ing what it is like to lead a life. Is there any way that we can advise the media. You inferred a little while ago that even doctors are psychologically a little bit apart from some work with older people. Yes but you often in the media are very definitely like that they're afraid of dealing with older people. It's a
complicated problem and I don't pry and I I think that I think that a lot of it involves participation by people of all ages and all walks of life and all protection and becoming more familiar with early out away people and getting to know them and getting to know a lot of individual old people about it very unfortunate that the way we categorize people. We categorize it and we stereotype and they play to all kinds of of. Missed construction as a way generalized one or two unfortunate out away to the outer way. Well you know when I think of the human failing to try to do that people and I went to 2000 who tend to do that
and who don't realize they don't like their system they don't like that and we really have to work at that and I think that I think personally that the answer to that. When one is fortunate enough to have one down family and one don't friend in my own case has been rightly exemplified at the institution where I am and in my private practice a lot of patients who are elderly and the 80 to 90 days. And it's been a privilege for me and most are contented to get to know and love. I think got to write about people in the 80 to 98 and 2. And Joy that company enjoyed talking with them about all kinds of things and to realize that kind of logic I
knew you'd have no bearing on a person personality and lively Nashton ability to participate in all of life. And I think that his opinions really count. Pardon. And whose opinions really count all court opinion can be hold opinion and could really count if somebody would listen to them and and learn from them. Well for a little thought I'd like to ask you a question which superficially sounds very glib but we've discussed this before the program just a bit. And the question is do you think that geriatrics should be a specialty of that. Yeah that last an important question and I think that I think that it needs to be talked about by Dr..
Because of that a great confusion on that point. And unfortunately you know what. GRATION how slowly my profession kind mode which I mentioned a moment ago and tamarind of in-camera of applying knowledge had another taken because in nineteen hundred and nine and New York practitioner named Dr. Nasha. Why practitioner with a lot of the calving people about stated empassioned than what the special in NE out o you people. The need for care at all style and the need for touch learning tasting.
Regarding the problems posed a special field that he coined the term geriatric in 1909. Who wrote a great day all perfect American textbook on geriatric about a great many do an article he talked to Lego professionals retired 8 and over a period of 20 or 30 years. He worked hard to try and give a lot to X had a failed I've special interest done contend for doctors now 19 time at least I've been almost 70 years later. Doctor than done well how do you know not been able to agree on the answer to either simple question Should geriatric be a specialty
and that a lot of. Unfortunately I think it involved rather many issues here that that need to be codified. And by the way I think the answer is yes. I should immediately add the DOT DOT temple you mean that I think that that is a special body of knowledge that apply to all people that day beckoning Let us show on this tomorrow over the well now not indeed special attitude. That I needed and dating without all the people. So for example if I were talking to somebody from Finland I would recognize immediately that either I should speak Finnish or I ought to have somebody that does speak Finnish to communicate.
But if I were talking to an older person unless I knew the vocabulary the special knowledge I probably couldn't bring out the ideas the opinions of all the people. Yeah yeah I think I think that I think got a good analogy and that it indeed that body of knowledge and body of spectral attitude into gold and that mean a spectral did not mean that it had to be a and official medical specialty. Where an official board where. Whether what they development of the whole medical political partnership that it involved going to DAB watching us back to a table where better to examination than try to pick a friend and root out occasion maybe that for the future. But but what we need now are doctors who are interested and doing special work without people to think you think author that we need
to have doctors come into greater contact with people from the mass media so that they can learn how physicians can help them or they can learn how to educate the communicators who are so vital to the whole social process so that information can get into the hands in the minds of older people. Yast Yeah I'm sure that. I know that the professional payout that a communique can always and I think there is no question that and the grouping that we've had up namely we're talking about doctors we're talking about old people. We're talking about media people and then what cocking about all the other groups are not just diety. We need our best better and
and better informed and more accurate and more complete communication of all kind about the problem. There's an organization a very famous organization called ACT Action for Children's Television. Do we need something perhaps called AGD action for geriatric television. Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea. Rats we might we might foment others some people in the last moment or two that we're talking about this who are totally cut off from reality because of the fact that the media so glibly bypass. Well I suppose. I would like if we have got one minute model out only two and first try a group that one poem perhaps we could focus attention. How do we people can be young people with good mine who may be very hard of hearing and who may
have great big difficulty. Yes you know and yeah we really need a Maginot and Viggo much effort on the part of media people are not about to help the poor with due respect and not not in any way to be facetious but it there is a story allegedly in reference to Oliver Wendell Holmes who at the age of 90 was sitting in a park across from the White House when a very beautiful girl passed him Bonnie and he said to his friend if I were only 80 and I think that's the spirit that I hope more of us have. I would like to thank you very much for joining us on this rather special discussion of First Amendment rights of older people. Thank you Dr. Arthur Lynne and the physician in chief at the Hebrew rehabilitation center for the aged. It's really driven saying good night
- The First Amendment
- Elderly Rights
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- "The First Amendment is a weekly talk show hosted by Dr. Bernard Rubin, the director of the Institute for Democratic Communication at Boston University. Each episode features a conversation that examines civil liberties in the media in the 1970s. "
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