Where anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite has been thinking out loud for over a decade; searchable by topic. At the other end of the spectrum, up to five percent face early-onset Alzheimer’s. What do we fear most of all? It robs the caricatures of crone and geezer of their power and frees us to become our full — our ageful — selves. “So here are these bunch of kids and they see an old guy, right? “I refuse to regret waking up a day older’: Ashton Applewhite’s fight for age pride – The activist on her manifesto to empower older people, how to challenge age prejudice – and why she dyes her hair grey.” The Guardian, 17 June 2019. “This Is Why Nursing Homes Failed So Badly,” by E. Tammy Kim, New York Times, Dec 31, 2020, [iv] Over 80% Americans who’ve died of COVID19 “, “Older Adults at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if diagnosed with COVID-19,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dec 13, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html, [v] Yet Americans with intellectual disabilities, “COVID-19 Infections And Deaths Are Higher Among Those With Intellectual Disabilities,” by Joseph Shapiro, National Public Radio, June 9, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/06/09/872401607/covid-19-infections-and-deaths-are-higher-among-those-with-intellectual-disabili, [vi] a job more deadly than logging or deep-sea fishing, “How Many of These 68,000 Deaths Could Have Been Avoided?” New York Times Editorial Board, Sept 5, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/05/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-nursing-homes-deaths.html, [vii] Nursing homes with a significant number of black and Latinx residents, “The Striking Racial Divide in How Covid-19 Has Hit Nursing Homes,” New York Times Coronavirus Outbreak project, Sept. 10, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-nursing-homes-racial-disparity.html. Who Me?, Old School’s free guide to starting a consciousness-raising group around the intersection of ageism and racism. Here’s a look at some of the ground it covers: And a thing of beauty ! Subscribe here. Some impairment awaits us all. Last Christmas one of my sisters gave me a copy of the book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, by Ashton Applewhite. Because of ageism -- the last socially sanctioned prejudice." Investigative journalist Madlen Davies was my interlocutor, we cover a lot of ground in this 45-minute chat, and as you can tell, I had a very good time. It takes root in the denial of the fact that we’re going to get old. One out of four American adults has some type of disability. In a world increasingly segregated by race and class as well as by age, reaching over those divisions to acknowledge the one path we’ll all travel is a radical act. Take the next step and join The Radical Age Movement. It's not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It makes room for empathy and action. This workshop will cheer you up, make you mad, and change the way you feel about the years ahead. Different kinds of discrimination – including racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and homophobia – interact, creating layers of oppression in the lives of individuals and groups. The younger vote went to the Remain camp in Thursday’s fateful referendum, while older voters opted for Leave. “Older Adults at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if diagnosed with COVID-19,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dec 13, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-... [v] Yet Americans with intellectual disabilities, “COVID-19 Infections And Deaths Are Higher Among Those With Intellectual Disabilities,” by Joseph Shapiro, National Public Radio, June 9, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/06/09/872401607/covid-19-infections-and-deaths-are-higher-among-those-with-intellectual-disabili, [vi] a job more deadly than logging or deep-sea fishing, “How Many of These 68,000 Deaths Could Have Been Avoided?” New York Times Editorial Board, Sept 5, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/05/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-nursing-homes-deaths.html, [vii] Nursing homes with a significant number of black and Latinx residents. She continues, providing a broader, more inclusive scope, from the intersectionality of ageism to our complicity in it: “All ‘isms’ – ageism, racism, sexism – are socially constructed ideas. This describes most care home aides, who perform a job more deadly than logging or deep-sea fishing—for poverty wages that require many to work more than one job in order to feed their families. This excerpt from my book ran on TED’s “Ideas” page under the title Rather than identifying as old, young or middle-aged, be an “old person in training” instead. Baum, Caroline. [i] More than 120,000 long-term care workers and residents have died, “This Is Why Nursing Homes Failed So Badly,” by E. Tammy Kim, New York Times, Dec 31, 2020, [ii] Less than 1% of America’s population lives in long-term care facilities, The COVID Tracking Project, Atlantic magazine, Dec 31, 2020, https://covidtracking.com/data/long-term-care. “Reject the bogus old/young binary”(50). My final thought experiment: Think of yourself as an Old Person in Training. As Simone de Beauvoir put it: “If we do not know who we are going to be, we cannot know who we are: Let us recognize ourselves in this old man or in that old woman. That we are aging…. Yes. It opts for purpose and intent over dread and denial. Michael Brown was 18. “Age-friendly communities aren’t just wheelchair- and walker-friendly, they’re gurney- and skateboard- and stroller- and bus-passenger- and delivery-guy- and tired-person friendly. Person first, as retired psychotherapist Bill Krakauer discovered when he started taking acting classes. Let’s process that one again, “And when people aren’t visible, whether ghettoized or homebound, whether by choice or reluctantly, so are the issues that affect them”(192). Two stories in the same week — one about a 42-year-old nursing student running for homecoming queen and another about a 91-year-old mayor swindling River Falls, Alabama, out of $201,000 — got me thinking about it. Becoming an Old Person in Training is a political act, because it derails this shame and self-loathing. Applewhite, Ashton. Population aging is a permanent, global, demographic trend. “Age-friendly communities aren’t just wheelchair- and walker-friendly, they’re gurney- and skateboard- and stroller- and bus-passenger- and delivery-guy- and tired-person friendly. Ever. Who lives in care homes? Applewhite left no stone unturned as she exposes the many faces of ageism. Excerpt from "This Chair Rocks" by Ashton Applewhite Negative messages about aging cast a shadow across the entire life of every American, stunting our prospects, economy, and civic life. It’s also the sustainable, ethical, and joyful path, and I’m glad to be on it. Unless we challenge the stigma, we reproduce it”(9). But you sure wouldn’t know it from the way the media and public health advisories turn the vast and varied 60+ population into “the [frail/vulnerable/dependent] elderly.” And it’s not the real reason. When asked for your age, identify as “age-nonconforming.”, Author and environmental activist Colin Beavan did something similar when he announced on Facebook that he was “coming out as age queer. What’s a better question to be asking about Senator Dianne Feinstein? [ii] Residents are now dying at three times the rate they did in July.[iii]. Search our Blog: Friday, November 3, 2017. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. At the other end of the spectrum, up to five percent face early-onset Alzheimer’s. In this inspiring TED talk, author and activist Ashton Applewhite offers compelling evidence that we are likely to be every bit as vital in our old age as our younger selves. It should not be shameful. The brouhaha that followed centered on whether or when Senator Feinstein ought to step down, a legitimate question. But they overlap in ethically and tactically important ways: There are a lot of us, and our numbers are growing. But that’s not how equity works. “A social compact for longer lives would opt for integration over age apartheid, in the form of affordable, multi-generational housing, adequate and accessible public transportation, and universal compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. who are called all kinds of disparaging names, among them, more often than not, #nasty.” The site aims to “give credit and recognition to the wide range and diversity of #nastywomenwriters, both past and present.” I’m honored and delighted to be one of them. Those assumptions are biased and misinformed. The vast majority of people are not lazy as children, not lazy as adolescents, and not lazy as adults at any age. Because the brain is where the self resides and the deepest terrors are the hardest to confront, neurological decline is a repository for our darkest fears. As we travel this path- from accepting stigma to perceiving it as unjust and realizing that we can challenge it through collective action – we experience what sociologist Doug McAdam calls “cognitive liberation.” It’s a fantastic feeling, and it is the linchpin of movement-building”(226-227). At the heart of the matter is a deeper one: why do we avoid discussing and dealing compassionately with cognitive decline? That struggle is essential if we want to create a world in which people can find meaning and purpose at every stage of life”(Applewhite 241). It must be done if we are to take upon ourselves the entirety of our human state.”. “If we can’t picture ourselves teaching, laughing, loving and contributing to society when we’re 90 and 100, then good luck is about the only thing that will get us there,” she writes. Ashton Applewhite's Blog: This Chair Rocks What’s a better question to be asking about Senator Dianne Feinstein? Social worker Natalia Granger offers a radical suggestion: Follow the example of gender-nonconforming people. It opts for purpose and intent over dread and denial. And it’s not going away: we are living longer than ever before. Becoming an Old Person in Training bridges the us/them divide and loosens the grip of that exhausting illusion. ), although I had no idea how central to my thinking it would become. For a number of reasons, none of which are healthy, we’re a society hell-bent on segregation which hinders our quality of life in so many ways. Take the journalistic convention of including ages in newspaper stories. “Like the ongoing movements that continue to challenge entrenched systems of racism and sexism, overcoming ageism is going to take a lot of determined people of all ages working to overturn “the way things are.” That means a lot of uncomfortable reassessments, difficult conversations, and outright conflict, not just over healthcare and housing but about when we stop valuing people, and why – not because we grow old, but because we do so in an ageist world. I may be jumping onto podiums instead of out of airplanes, but I’m not running away from aging. My thinking it would be convenient to attribute that omission to the future: Follow the example gender-nonconforming. People as less valuable members of society— legitimize their appalling abandonment fixed or a Filipino or a Filipino a! Of discrimination, ageism legitimizes and sustains inequalities between groups, in case. 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