Ageism Articles

Below are articles written by Radical Agers:

Congratulations to our steering committee member, Ashton Applewhite!

She is now a TED.com celebrity!

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Social Security and Older Adults
A statement from the Radical Age Movement about Social Security and the Short Changing of Older Adults

If you are not outraged, you should be.

Yippee! We’re finally getting a COLA (cost of living adjustment) from Social Security. And, sit down, it’s a whopping 0.03%, which will amount to less than a $5.00 increase in our monthly Social Security checks. Now, don’t get too excited. It will probably cover the Medicare increase that is coming down the pike.

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How I Really Feel About Growing Older
by Jane Gross, Author & Journalist

The woman on the standing-room-only bus on Madison Ave. could be 50, 75 or anywhere in between. Likely as not, she colors her hair. If she has a Medicare card it’s tucked safely in her wallet.

She is unburdened by packages, fit, healthy and not leaning on a cane. In other words, she is doing fine, thank you very much, hanging onto the pole.

Then one day, and it seems to happen overnight, other passengers are gallantly urging her to take their seats. The appropriate reaction is appreciation for an all-too-rare random act of kindness. But a large, if unscientific, poll of women of a certain age suggests otherwise.

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The Grace Period: Meeting Myself in Ballet Class
by Susan Reimer-Torn

Here I am, at the age of 65, back at the ballet barre, doubting my stamina, my balance, even my capacity to focus on the sequences. At this age, everyone assumes I will be a dance spectator, possibly a critic, but not a participant. More than any other performing art, ballet assumes a youthful body, with nary a weakness or wrinkle or extra weight. Its aesthetic principles depend on the limitless energy and effortless perfection of youth.

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You’re How Old? We’ll be in Touch
This article, authored by our Steering Committee member Ashton Applewhite, appeared in the New York Times on Sept. 3, 2016

It might not seem that Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump have much in common. But they share something important with each other and with a whole lot of their fellow citizens. Both are job seekers. And at ages 68 and 70, respectively, they’re part of a large group of Americans who are radically upending the concept of retirement.

In 2016, almost 20 percent of Americans 65 and older are working. Some of them want to; many need to. The demise of traditional pensions means that many people have to keep earning in their 60s and 70s to maintain a decent standard of living.

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Aging While Female is Not Your Worst Nightmate

I’m going to tell you a story that is so common and so troubling it is effectively split off from the emotional lives of young women, tucked away into whatever neural recesses exist for the purpose of shelving information that feels irrelevant yet distantly threatening. I wonder if young women will read this? The irony is that they probably won’t, and the silently nodding heads will be ones that are graying, like mine.

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Ageism in the Helping Professions: Over-Accommodating Perceived Weakness in Older Adults

The last place one would expect to find ageism well and flourishing is in the helping professions, particularly among those who devote their careers to working with, helping, and advocating for older adults.  And yet, we often see ageist attitudes prevail in these areas.  Not unnoticed are unintentional ageist practices in our own field of social work.

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Do Older People Loose Interest in Sex? Ten Myths of Aging — Debunked

1. Older people lose interest in sex
Many surveys prove this to be false. In one study, 74% of women and 72% of men aged between 75 and 85 said that satisfactory sex is essential to maintaining a relationship. When there is a partner available it’s safe to assume that people are having sex. When we desexualise older couples by calling them cute, this might be disrespectful and can result in harm, such as neglecting to educate older people about sexually transmitted diseases and failing to make privacy possible in nursing homes.

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The Moral Obligations You Have in Old Age
by Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W.
Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work

Recently I took a philosophy mini-course called “Conscientious Citizenship,” which explored our moral obligations largely through the heroic image of Socrates, who accepted a death sentence as a matter of principle and loyalty to his nation.

Although several of us questioned Socrates’ presumed heroism, the course got me thinking about what the obligations of citizenship are; and, because I am an older, retired person (73 as I write this), it got me wondering what the obligations of older, retired people are and whether they are different from the obligations of younger people.

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What the Radical Age Movement is and What it’s Not

My background in community organizing informed the founding The Radical Age Movement. Community Organizers look at the world through a holistic lens.  We see the connections between systemic and personal issues.  While others are busy feeding the hungry, community organizers look to see WHY there are so many hungry Americans.  In today’s world, we need both kinds of activists.  We need people on the ground to give immediate aid to those in need, and we need others to try to find the cause of the need and to, hopefully, eradicate it.

Here’s a parable, author unknown, with a little adaptation by me that many of us who do community work are familiar with.

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What’s Behind Midlife Malaise? The Happiness U-Curve And an Ageist Culture.
By Ashton Applewhite

I’d recast the big story from one about dissatisfaction in midlife to one about happiness towards the end of life. That’s the message that American culture drowns out most loudly, although ageism shadows the whole life course. Messages about being “over the hill” at 40 are everywhere you look: greeting cards, advertisements, sitcoms. Internalized and unexamined, the notion that it’s all downhill after 40 makes it all the harder to weather that midlife trough. How much better, indeed, to challenge that absurd notion while we’re still young, and to be sustained from then on by the knowledge that with age comes happiness.

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Ageism in Medicine: Do Seniors Get the Same Medical Care as Younger Patients?
By Joanna Leefer, Senior Care Advisor

Older people are often treated with less urgency than younger patients. This “ageist” attitude is being recognized as a form of discrimination similar to sexism and racism. here are some way to recognize this behavior and how you can change it.

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Youthful Compliments: Ageist Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing?
By Sheila Roher, M.P.H.

Remember the furor when Joe Biden called then-candidate Barack Obama an “articulate African-American?” What Biden intended as a compliment angered many African-Americans who saw it as playing off a stereotype of ‘Black men are less articulate than white men’. Biden’s comment was viewed as a way of calling Obama “more white than Black” and therefore an ‘acceptable’ African-American candidate.

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So Old, and So Gay!
by Sheila Roher, M.P.H.

“What does it mean to say that someone is ‘so gay’”, asks my friend Jeffrey when he facilitates workshops on suicide prevention at high schools. “Nothing, it’s just something we say” is the usual response from students, “it doesn’t mean anything.” Picking up the ever-present chalk and walking to the blackboard, Jeffrey probes further, “Suppose someone says a movie is ‘so gay’? Or that outfit is ‘gay’–what words would you use to substitute for ‘so gay’?” 

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