As I (Cindi Saadi) finish up my last week working with FARM and my last official post for the FARM Blog, I decided to share a few thoughts about a topic not often specifically discussed: the importance of vegan outreach for seniors in our communities. On the heels of a very successful Meatout campaign packed with so much passionate vegan outreach, I want to highlight some of the significant benefits of including seniors as part of the vegan outreach audience. And for purposes of this post, “seniors” are people age 60 and over.
Vegan outreach activities are frequently focused on the younger crowd and for reasons that make good sense. After all, young people are forming and refining their life beliefs and tend to be more open to considering new concepts and challenging traditional models. The younger years are an ideal time to become aware of the impact of diet on our health, the animals, and our global environment, and to make beneficial changes. And of course, young people have a lifetime ahead of them to affect change for future generations.
Although many outreach efforts do not set out to exclude any group of people, one concern is the risk of limiting vegan outreach for seniors because of assumptions that they are less open to new ideas and less willing to change. Although this may be true in certain cases, it is not true across the board. Seniors may have well-established beliefs, but everyone is capable of change. When presented with real, compelling information, most seniors will consider it thoughtfully. And as far as a senior having less time ahead of them than a younger individual, see the section below about people with incredible accomplishments after age 60. Plus, each moment we have is precious, no matter what age.
So seniors might be a more challenging audience, but the benefits of including them, in my opinion, are well worth it and can have significant positive outcomes for the vegan/animal rights cause.
And one thing is certain…. the animals want EVERYONE to hear the vegan message, no matter how young or old we are!
Here are a few of the benefits to / reasons for including seniors in vegan outreach:
WISDOM: Seniors have a wealth of invaluable life wisdom to offer. I often wonder how my father keeps such a library of information in his head, from important facts to solutions to your everyday household emergency. I can often skip the Internet and simply call Dad. People in other countries (perhaps more so than in the U.S.) revere, protect, and respect their elderly community members and place great value on their contributions and wisdom. Thus, given the many significant health-related benefits of a plant-based diet, introducing senior folks to a vegan lifestyle would likely increase the amount of time we have our wise ones with us. And having them with us, fortifies us. (more…)