When the NYC Elder Abuse Center released their podcast with me, moderator Cara Kenien started a discussion about it in the American Society on Aging group on LinkedIn. The question she posed was: How do you define ageism?, and it’s generated an energetic stream of comments.
Refreshingly, the discussion centers anti-ageism activism. As Kathy Sporre, Director of the Fergus Falls Senior Citizens Program, put it, “If ageism is just as serious as racism and sexism, why do think it’s been tolerated for so long? Many people have been hurt very badly, and we simply stand by and talk about it at most. How do we go from being advocates to being effective activists?” Elder Justice Advocate Leanne Collins Miller had some excellent ideas based on corporate strategies: national PSA campaigns with well-known people talking about age discrimination, “rebranding” aging, and incorporating ageism into elementary school curricula alongside racism.
Sporre also supplied some excellent links, including this one to Ageism in America, a comprehensive overview compiled in 2007 by the Anti-Ageism Taskforce of the International Longevity Center. I got a copy when I attended my first Age Boom Academy for journalists at the Center. The ILC has since moved to the Mailman School of Public Health, where Dr. Ursula M. Staudinger has just come on board as the founding director of a new Aging Center. I hope she’ll keep the anti-ageism mission of ILC founder Dr. Robert Butler firmly in her sights.