There’s a strange pattern here. We’re surprised by young people who display what we consider to be the kind of sophistication and wisdom that we associate only with experience and age, as well as by elders who display the physical stamina, prowess, and productivity of people decades younger. It’s as if to be young means only to be strong and to be old means only to be wise.
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.
A powerful way to counter divisive rhetoric and demagoguery coming out of Washington, D.C., is to do something unexpected — start an Age Friendly city revolution.
I think it’s time to challenge a bit of the language being used to advocate for people living with dementia. The negative effects of stigmatizing language are huge, and our language choices are often the places where such stigma starts or ends.
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.
“He won’t change. What do you expect? He’s a 71-year-old man.” Lately I’ve been hearing this comment, or some version of it, on various cable and mainstream news programs, always referring to a certain Leader of the Free World / Commander in Chief / Current Inhabitant of the Oval Office.
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.