Part monologue and part consciousness-raiser, This Chair Rocks: How Ageism Warps Our View of Long Life is a 40-minute talk that uses stories and statistics to dispel myth after myth about late life. It’s fierce and funny, and it changes the way people envision their futures. Let’s Rock This Chair: Say No to Ageism is a shorter and more activism-oriented talk that shows how ageism makes aging in America so much harder than it has to be. I also speak about the medicalization of old age, ageism and elder abuse, and the effects of ageism on women’s lives. To book me for your event, please contact the Lavin Agency.

What People Are Saying:

I was encouraged by the statistics you quoted, forced to acknowledge my own ageist thoughts, and ultimately fired up to fight them in myself and others. You are on to something big!

Sarah Meredith, painter

Why can’t we stop ageism? Good question. For some answers, start looking in the mirror and look around you. For a good dialogue on the subject, visit Ashton Applewhite’s website, This Chair Rocks.

Harry R. Moody, Director of Academic Affairs, AARP

Consciousness-raising at its sharpest and most useful.

David Watts Barton, journalist and playwright

This Chair Rocks confirms our knowledge that emotional well being is abundant in later life, challenges us to face our own internalized ageism, and inspires us to envision a future in which our society is released from age-related prejudice and discrimination. And it’s fun, too!

Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York

Holistic, deep, urgent, and also fun.

Lenelle Moise, playwright and performer

All practitioners working with older adults need to be informed about the pernicious influences of ageism. Nobody does this better than Ashton Applewhite. Her thinking is deep, her passion infectious, and her cogent message is spot on: we urgently need to have a national conversation about ageism to raise awareness about it and to stop it.

Risa Breckman, LCSW, Executive Director, NYC Elder Abuse Center

You have found a fantastic mission: raising consciousness that older is far better than the stereotype that enslaves us all.

Jennifer Siebens, producer, CBS News

Ashton Applewhite’s plenary address at the 2013 New York State Adult Abuse Training Institute was compelling and original, and really resonated with our 400 participants. She is an articulate and committed voice for an important cause: challenging the demoralizing shadow that ageism casts across society.

Jean Callahan, Director, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging

Octogenarians are the fastest-growing segment of our population, yet most Americans are scared stiff at the prospect of growing old. [Applewhite’s work] is a welcome and important tonic.

Dr. Robert Butler, founding director of the National Institute on Aging, coiner of the term “ageism”

We need an anti-ageist movement, for sure. Ashton is already in it.

Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Agewise and Aged by Culture

A beautifully delivered, provocative description of how ageism clouds our vision of what life holds in store.

Sabrina Hamilton, director, Ko Festival for the Arts

Ashton Applewhite is on a crusade. A journalist and author, her mission is to raise awareness of ageism in America and get people young and old to join her in speaking out against it.

Senior Planet

Thank you again for your terrific keynote yesterday. I heard from so many attendees that it affected them deeply. You are wise, funny, and provocative – a great combination!

Teresa Bonner, Program Director, Aroha Philanthropies

Upcoming Appearances

opening keynote, Environments for Aging Conference

Where: Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, Savannah, GA.

When: April 22, 2018 08:45 am

More info:

keynote, annual conference, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE)

Where: George Vari Engineering & Computing Centre, Ryerson University, 245 Church St., Toronto, ON

When: April 30, 2018 09:00 am

More info:

Wake Health Invited Lecture

Where: Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

When: May 3, 2018 04:00 pm

More info:

NY County Judicial Committee on Elder Justice, NYC


When: May 15, 2018 02:30 pm

More info:

"The committee is tasked with raising awareness of elder abuse and developing programs, policies and protocols to address the court system’s handling of the ever growing number of cases involving older litigants in both civil and criminal matters."

featured speaker, Age Justice Rally

Where: Union Square, New York City

When: May 15, 2018 05:00 pm

More info: Organized by the Radical Age Movement

“Aging While Female” talk sponsored by UC Santa Barbara

Where: Santa Barbara Public Library

When: May 18, 2018 03:00 pm

More info: Talk to be followed by audience questions /free community session.

lecture sponsored by UC Santa Barbara

Where: UCSB Campbell Hall

When: May 19, 2018 03:00 pm

More info: Open to the public; followed by audience questions and a book signing.

“Coming of Age in Aging America” panel, Brooklyn Public Library


When: May 30, 2018 10:00 am

More info:

Central Library, Dweck Aduitorium. Discussion of "Coming of Age in Aging America", a Re-imagining of Aging initiative from Terra Nova Film, followed by a panel discussion with experts in tackling ageism and changing perceptions and attitudes toward older people.  Free; no registration required; light refreshments will be served. 


keynote, Mid-America Institute on Aging and Wellness Conference

Where: University of Southern Indiana, Evansville IN,

When: August 9, 2018 03:00 pm

More info:

talk, Innovations in Aging Collaborative

Where: Chapman Foundations Recital Hall at the Ent Center for the Arts at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO

When: August 14, 2018 10:00 am

More info:

A "five-year celebration event on social inclusion and ageism”

Free and open to the public; register here.

keynote, Pioneer Network annual conference

Where: Denver, CO

When: August 15, 2018 09:00 am

More info: Talk + all-day anti-ageism workshop

talk, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Fresno State

Where: Fresno State University

When: October 19, 2018 12:00 pm

More info:

keynote, Bioneers Conference

Where: Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium stage, Marin Center, San Rafael, California

When: October 21, 2018 09:00 am

More info:

talk, Empowering Ethical Elders program

Where: Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th St. 5th Fl. Elliott Library, NYC

When: December 20, 2018 06:00 pm

More info: Free and open to the public, drinks and snacks provided.

lecture at i3

Where: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

When: January 7, 2019 12:00 am

More info: "Ideas that inform and inspire"

Past Appearances