AGEING: Ageing has legitimate benefits

Helen Lightstone is a professional mediator, a graduate of Universities of York and Toronto.

Helen recently hit an age milestone which sparked her to jump with unexpected joy.

Life Always Teaches Dispute Resolution Lessons.

Today, I exercised the right to my senior’s discount at my nearby Shoppers Drug Mart. As my birthday was this past Saturday, I had to wait nearly a week before I could do so. I approached the retailer with sheer delight. I was also well-armed for the occasion: driver’s license, OHIP card, passport, any documentation that confirmed my birth date was good enough for me! I nearly danced to the check-out counter, daring, no, almost demanding that the cashier review my identification and approve the documentation validating my date of birth, my advanced years.

It’s been an interesting journey as I approached this clearly monumental day, and of course, it made me think of how society views those who are starting to, well, get older. In our North American culture, we tend to value youth, more independence of family and focus on the self. We are an individual-centered culture where life, ageing and the elderly are held in lesser regard than to collectivist-centered cultures.

It made me wonder, was Shoppers Drug Mart a sign that Canadian retailers may be moving from an individualistic mindset to a more collective one? Was it possible that people over a certain age were being valued for their life’s experience as they are in a collective society? Was I, Helen Lightstone ( Mediation Lady ) being valued for everything I brought to the table during my lifetime? I wondered…probably not. More than likely, I am part of a huge marketing plan targeting those who aren’t officially seniors yet but are on their way to becoming ones. I am a serious demographic, a clear niche in the world of Canadian retailer’s and they are beginning to recognize me.

A few years ago, I asked a colleague how she felt about her senior’s discount at the same store, she said: “If they want to give me a discount for turning a certain age, bring it on!” I am happy to say the same. “Bring it on!” Thank you Shoppers Drug Mart for making me feel valued, appreciated and acknowledged even if it may only be part of a bigger marketing plan…

Helen Lightstone
Mediation Lady


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