Just as we are encouraged to believe those who report experiences of sexual harassment, so, too, should we believe older adults who report elder harassment in any of its forms. Ageism, too, is a spectrum of abuse. All of this is to say that harassment in any form, toward any person, and for any reason should not be justified or tolerated.
The mission of Age In America is to demonstrate that we are all essentially the same–human and interesting and imperfect; to dispel the myths and stereotypes about aging; and to help eliminate discrimination of people based on age.
Ashton Applewhite, activist and author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, recently delivered an 11-minute barn-burning TED Talk called “Let’s End Ageism” that is the clearest and most concise, entertaining, and impactful introduction to the scourge of ageism I’ve ever heard.
Through reducing the negative, shameful and dishonoring messages so commonly spread via stigma, we can offer instead more viable pollination which hopefully will mature into fruits of dignity.
In my evolving understanding of how best to support people living with dementia, I came to realize several years ago that it was never really about antipsychotic drugs—it was about well-being. And more recently, I have come to realize that it wasn’t really about well-being either—it’s about humanity and human rights.
Ah, the knee-jerk response that is ageism…. I’ve been teaching and speaking and writing about ageism for years now. But, this was one of those times it felt deeply personal for me, even if I can’t call Faye and Warren BFFs. Here were two artistic giants from MY time. As a lover of fine films, I grew up watching Warren and Faye own the screen in darkened movie theaters (yeah, pre-Netflix and all). They deserved better than this.
The insidious thing about otherization is that it is applied to all kinds of distinctions: race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and sexual orientation, to name a few. And, of course, to age.
Calls for a de-youthanized science are not lofty, liberal political appeals; they are attempts to actually purify gerontological science and practice. A de-youthanized science means a more valid, generalizable science—a science, for example, that adequately samples older adults in the service of providing sufficiently evidence-based recommendations for diagnosis and treatment