An appeal for solidarity
Le Groupe Maurice’s most recent advertising campaign has had an enormous impact, not only personally, but also on many other people: one month after the first ad was broadcast, I can still hear the response echoing in my ears! In my view, the surge of public enthusiasm we’ve seen indicates that the campaign has reached its goal: it has moved viewers by eliciting a mixture of astonishment and compassion in them. One point bears repeating: our campaign is more than just a promotional vehicle: it is an appeal for solidarity that concerns every single one of us. Amid the uncertainties of the current pandemic, we find ourselves divided by the constraints we face and categorized by the weaknesses we show. We recognize the essential fact that we must take steps to achieve unity; we must come together and help each other.
As you know, the cause of seniors is hugely important to me. More than a cause, it is the reason why I wanted to create a company dedicated to serving the elderly. I’ve always looked forward to a time when the true merits of the men and women who came before us in the fight for social justice and equality would be recognized properly, particularly since all generations have reaped the accompanying benefits. But in a society ostensibly based on justice and equality, don’t seniors deserve to be treated a little better, particularly since their efforts have shaped the quality of life we all enjoy today? Is it not reasonable to ask young people to reflect on the fact that they will eventually have to deal with the same realities that you are currently facing?
As luck would have it, the current pandemic has exacerbated the unjust treatment of seniors. But via COVID, a greater awareness of the elderly has emerged. For us, this is a golden opportunity to revisit our mission. That is because Le Groupe Maurice is no longer merely a real estate company specializing in housing for retirees. Over the years, we have become the proud standard-bearer of the “better aging” movement in Quebec, while also taking every opportunity to denounce ageism. In other words, there was no better time for us to revisit our message than in late December 2020, when we would traditionally take stock of our achievements and our setbacks. Fortunately, your reactions proved that we did the right thing at the right time.
People need to talk about it!
Residents, friends, employees, partners and strangers wrote to me or came up to me in the street or called to say how much our ad campaign touched them. There’s no doubt about it: watching a youthful celebrity age right before our eyes is fascinating. But above and beyond that impressive special effect, the message being conveyed is designed to get people thinking. If we stop to reflect for a moment, we realize that getting older is an inherent fact of life. Like it or not, one day we will be seniors as well! But being a member of that group means having to deal with certain harsh realities. And in today’s world, can we really say that those realities are acceptable?
The outpouring of your reactions and public comments on our ad campaign has underscored the authenticity of our message and, most importantly, people’s need to talk about it. Becoming more aware of the challenges facing seniors may be unsettling for some people who had never considered the issue before. But that’s a good thing, in my view. When you were younger, did you ever stop to think that one day, “old age” would catch up with you? It’s in our nature to live life intensely and to the fullest, somewhat oblivious to the passage of time. Don’t we think of health, friendship and love—and life itself—as things to which we’re entitled and that will be with us forever?
What about ageism?
Le Groupe Maurice had a duty to remind viewers that nothing is forever. If we too wish to grow old gracefully, we must treat the seniors around us with respect. In addition to being in a privileged position, I am aware of the realities that the elderly face. Believe me when I state this fact: there is no place for ageism in our society. Seniors are one of our most valuable assets. It is high time that we all put a stop to aged-based discrimination targeting people like you.
To that end, each of us must do our part. At Le Groupe Maurice, we must keep on hammering away at our message; we must tirelessly fight the perpetuation of erroneous ideas about the elderly, sick or independent, regardless of their age. We need to talk about ageism; we need to account for it and we need to denounce it whenever it occurs. More than ever, we need to educate people. In a society that worships youth and speed, I believe that our mission is to remind people that one day, we will all grow older and slower. And there’s nothing wrong with that!