Baby Boomers Changing the Paradigms About Aging

Ask any Baby Boomer to reflect back to their childhood and their general perception of their grandparents when they were in their 60’s or 70’s.  Most usually widen their eyes and exclaim, “old!” Images of a grumpy old man or wizened old woman come to mind. Many of today’s 65 year-olds look nothing like that. In a short thirty years, we have extended our lifespan, and opened up a third phase of adult life 50+ that is often filled with vibrancy, possibility and health. Yet, our society continues to perpetuate the notion that the “peak years” of life are around age 28. It’s all downhill from there. Really?

Ever heard of the word “ageism?” According to Ashton Applewhite, author of “This Chair Rocks, a Manifesto Against Ageism,” it is the last socially sanctioned prejudice, and a cultural narrative that impacts almost every aspect of life after 50. Have you ever felt compelled to lie about your age, or had someone compliment you and say, “You look great for your age?” That’s ageism.

In the past few months after the release of her book, Applewhite has been named “Influencer of the Year” by Next Avenue’s Influencers in Aging list, featured in the New York Times, appeared at the United Nations and is traveling around the country. She is the voice of a new movement, and on a mission to highlight the pervasive narrative that reinforces aging as something to fear, deny or dread.

She opens her book with the confession, “I’ve never lied about my age – I have no problem saying ‘I’m sixty-three’ loud and clear – but I know a lot of people who do. People who lie on resumes and on airplanes and on dates.”

Applewhite admits ageism is something it has taken years to fully recognize. “Any time we make an assumption about what any person is capable of, what they’re thinking about or doing on a basis of chronological age – that defines ageism,” she says.  “Chronological age is a lousy indicator of pretty much anything abut a person, and all “isms” are based on stereotyping – especially because the longer we live, the more different from one another we become.”

The term “ageism” was first coined by Pulitzer prize winning physician Robert Butler, founder of the International Longevity Center, in 1968 – around the same time as the terms racism and sexism. “We experience ageism any time someone assumes that we’re “too old” for something  – a task, a haircut, a relationship –  instead of finding out who we are and what we’re capable of,” said Applewhite.

This Chair Rocks is a wonderful and fast read; full of powerful insights, and would make a fantastic book-club pick. Applewhite humorously breaks down pre-conceived notions about what it means to get older, and paves the way for trailblazing Boomer activism. Her zany style made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions, and nimbly poked to the inner core of what it means to get older in today’s society. In addition to the book, Applewhite has created a blog called, “Yo is this Ageist?” and a “conscious-raising” booklet to promote grassroots discussion called, “Who Me Ageist?”

“No one is born prejudiced, but attitudes about age – as well as race and gender – start to form in early childhood,” she writes. “Over a lifetime they harden into a set of truths: “just the way it is.” Unless we challenge ageist stereotypes – old people are incompetent. Wrinkles are ugly. It’s sad to be old – we feel shame and embarrassment instead of taking pride in the accomplishment of aging. That’s internalized ageism.”

img_0293

Kari Henley and Ashton Applewhite at the Village to Village Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

You can learn more about homesharing at Silvernest.com – Silvernest boldly breaks the rules of aging so you can share your home on your own terms. We’re creating the next generation of roommates. A more modern kind. A well-matched kind. A kind that’s just your style. Because around here, the details are totally up to you.

Leave a Reply

300-165-dumps 100-105 dumps ccna 200-125 ccna-200-125 examcollection 300-135 dumps examcollection 70-410 dumps VCE Cisco CCNP Wireless Exam Questions examcollection 70-417 dumps examcollection 300-206 dumps examcollection 300-209 dumps examcollection 642-998 dumps ExamCollection examcollection 70-480 dumps VCE - iPass4Sure examcollectionuk 70-243 dumps examcollectionuk 400-101 dumps examcollectionuk 210-451 dumps examcollectionuk 700-501 dumps 100-105 dumps 70-243 dumps 070-489 dumps 70-488 dumps 70-346 dumps 200-125 dumps 100-105 dumps 210-260 dumps 300-115 dumps 200-105 dumps 300-101 dumps 200-310 dumps 210-060 dumps 200-355 dumps 640-911 dumps