One of the nice “keep up the good work” responses to my mass email last week came from my friend Robin. Her note went on to say that, “Even my mom, who just died at 95, wasn't an ‘old lady.’ Up until the last few days she really fought like a tiger . . . until her body just gave out. She simply died of old age.” She had lived with debilitating arthritis that set in in her late 40s, and “found a lot of meaning knitting baby items endlessly for the City of Hope and other charities.” Female, in her ninth decade, yet not an old lady?
Alice Fisher, M.S., M.S.W. is a Boomer who works in the office of NYS Senator Liz Krueger, where she developed and oversees “Senator Liz Krueger’s Roundtable for Boomers & Seniors” and counsels the senator’s senior constituents on issues of housing, healthcare, quality of life, and end of life. A long time social justice advocate, Alice is developing anti-ageism programs and working with a diverse grass roots groups in New York City to create awareness of the ageism that permeates our culture.
Ageism in Silicon Valley has been all over the news lately. The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story titled “Silicon Valley's Youth Problem.” Male engineers in their twenties are getting botox and hair transplants before key interviews. “The Brutal Ageism of Tech,” a feature story in the New Republic, described a swelling cohort of “highly trained, objectively talented, surpassingly ambitious workers” sidelined “for reasons no one can rationally explain.”
Laura Helmuth, Slate’s science and health editor, answers that question in this engaging article, explaining why “It’s the best time in the history of the world to be a child, a parent, or a grandparent.”
This is a guest post from Linda Bright, a staff writer and a public relations coordinator for MyNursingDegree.com. As a former hospital administrator, she writes primarily about healthcare reform, patient rights and other issues related to the healthcare industry.
Ageism is alive and well in our society—of that, there can be no question.
A good friend passed on a DVD of my This Chair Rocks talk to a filmmaker acquaintance, who had a serious critique. She found the talk compelling and called me “a smart and wise cheerleader for this next passage,” but continued, “What I felt missing in her talk was death. She moved quickly over it, saying that her big surprise was how little older folks feared death. I think she is wrong, but she has been immersed in this research far longer than I have. I think we [all] fear death; it is the great unanswered question.
People often suggest that I give a TED talk, and of course I hope this opportunity comes my way. In the meanwhile, I searched all TED talks tagged with aging. Nine come up:
There's no one I'd be happier to hear that from than cultural critic and feminist Margaret Morgenroth Gullette. Resident Scholar at Brandeis University, Gullette is the author of Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America and has influenced my thinking enormously. She was kind enough to forward the invite to my upcoming talk at Cooper Union to frends with this introduction: "Ashton Applewhite is the very clever inventor of the blog Yo Is This Ageist?, where she offers snappy retorts to ageist hits and usefully decided opinions about age protocol. We need an anti-ageist movement, for sure. Ashton is already in it." I'm hoping for lots more company.