2019 is upon us, and why we need to end ageism is clearer than ever. A new study by ProPublica showed that more than half of older workers in the U.S. are pushed out of jobs before they choose, often leading to serious and irreversible financial impacts. And a recent study by the Yale School of Public Health calculated that the health costs of ageism in the U.S. exceed $63 billion annually. Not to mention the loss of human potential and to the economy when we dismiss the strengths and talents of individuals simply due to their age. The challenge may seem daunting, but there are things that each of us can do in 2019 to help end ageism.
2. Learn how to use research-based messages and language to reframe aging. Changing the Narrative facilitates workshops for individuals and organizations on how to change your language to advance a more positive and accurate view of aging and to decrease negative stereotypes. You can learn more about our training and upcoming free workshops in your community by going to our training page.
3. Think carefully about the words and phrases you use. This short and powerful video captures beautifully why it’s not a compliment to tell someone they look terrific “for their age.” Other phrases we’d like to see abandoned in 2019:
- “I’m having a senior moment.”
- “Wow, you still do that?”
- “Senior and senior citizen”
- “Anti-aging” (Really, being “anti-aging” is like saying you are anti-yourself. The one thing we all have in common is this moment is the oldest we have ever been, and the youngest we will ever be.)
4. Download and read our Business Case for Age-Friendly and Multigenerational Workplaces. Like what you read? Share it with friends and colleagues who are in a position to hire people, and on social media.
5. Join the movement. Throughout the year, we’ll be sharing tips and strategies that you can get involved with, including making presentations to businesses and human resource managers on the benefits of multigenerational workplaces, talking to your friends at house parties, hosting a community conversation about ageism, and more. We need you—sign up here let us know how you would like to be involved in the campaign. And follow us on Facebook.
Together, we can make a difference.
By Janine Vanderburg, Changing the Narrative in Colorado