I’m beginning to believe I may have a fixation on hands. When I read an article on about elderly people usually being portrayed photographically in the media by just their hands, I knew I wanted to write about it. But then I recalled that I had written about our hands before, well, three times to be exact.

While there is a bit of overlap here and there among my three posts, they have distinct points, so I’m proceeding with post #4. An article by Agnes Scott College says, “When done stylistically, repetition helps the audience remember and recognize the importance of your message.”

So there.

Like most writers, I endeavor to find a great photo to represent each of my posts. When writing about a dog who barked at cows, I used a photo of cows. A post titled “Go Knock on Some Doors” featured a teal front door. My June 21 post about asking for help carried a photo of a neon sign that said simply, “ASK.”

An appealing photo helps garner interest in the article and (hopefully) inspires an audience to read the article.

So it’s only natural that when a writer runs an article about older people or aging issues, they use an image that connects to the story. Social gerontologist and blogger Jeanette Leardi says her research shows that often the photo chosen to accompany the article on aging articles shows just elderly hands that are not doing much of anything.

I searched on three photo sites for “elderly hands” and here’s what many of the hands were doing: Clasped together, folded on lap, holding “stuff” such a cane, its owner’s face, the arm of a wheelchair, a cup, a pair of glasses, pills, a doctor’s or a nurse’s hand, and hands that boost the older person up from a seat or wheelchair., though, did have more interesting photos of elderly people dancing (holding onto their partner’s hands), working on pottery, reading, and one lady giving a middle finger salute. There’s always that one person…

Leardi’s point was that she would like more representation of elderly people DOING something with their whole being instead of closeups of wrinkly, age-spotted hands just passively holding stuff. She says that “other generations are always depicted in a context, be it a home, nursery, preschool, school, workplace, entertainment venue or vacation site.”

Although I perform many interesting actions with my hands (such as handwriting this post and then typing it into Word before posting it electronically to reach you!), I chose to use a real photo of my own hand with Baby Girl’s sleeping hands reaching out to hold onto mine.

Because even though my hands are indeed wrinkly and age-spotted, the love they convey makes them beautiful.

And then sometimes, they just taste good!


Next Avenue article on “elderly hands” in the media

My post “Let’s Give the Hands a Hand” from April 6, 2019

My post “Contemplative Thinking About Your Hands” from April 9, 2019

My post “Lend Me a Hand, Please” from May 2, 2021