There are a lot of things to say about ageism and why it is a problem. Fortunately, there are more and more voices speaking out. It is going to take plenty of conversation to move the needle. Taking action on ageism will require shifting culture. Here are some ways we are taking action on ageism – and ways you can join the effort.

Connecting across generations

People shift their attitudes when they have actual experience with people from other groups. As a result, they may even discover that the “others” are not so different. When generations share their experiences, people’s attitudes about age improve. Collectively, we can challenge our assumptions and fight ageism.

on the same pAGE is a campaign to get people talking about ageism across generations. People are encouraged to come together in whatever way works for them. Some organizations and individuals are hosting public conversations. You can join one or start one of your own, public or private. (See the campaign page here for details.) CTN provides a guide and support for facilitators.

Reframing Aging

This is CTN’s original and ongoing work – taking action on ageism. In order combat ageism, we have to rethink – or reframe – how think about what it means to be older. Even those who serve older adults can be communicating in ageist ways. Reframing Aging presentations and training workshops are designed for aging advocates, policymakers and others pursuing a more age-integrated society.

Developed based on national research by the FrameWorks Institute, the training workshops teach messaging and communication strategies that have been proven to shift perceptions about older people and ageism.

Want to learn more or find a presentation? Check out our resources.

Making the Case for Age-Friendly Workplaces

After meeting many advocates for older people, it became clear that there is a real need to make the case to businesses that hiring older adults is a good idea. We are experiencing a fundamental demographic shift. Birth rates are down and people are living longer and healthier lives. It is becoming more and more common to have multiple generations in the workplace.

This is a new paradigm for both workers and employers. Our first step is to make the case for intergenerational workplaces. Next, we work together to find solutions. CTN presenters are making the case to businesses around Colorado, as well as developing and sharing resources that will help create more age-friendly, intergenerational workplaces.

Want to learn more? Find out more here.

Fighting visual ageism

Depictions of older adults in the media are often inaccurate and depressingly similar. Older adults are often portrayed as frail and bitter or as exaggeratedly active and positive. It’s time to take action on visual ageism. What about older adults who are:

  • Vital members of inter-generational teams?
  • Successful entrepreneurs?
  • Engaged with social causes they are passionate about?
  • From a range of races and cultures?

Visually under-representing older people or misrepresenting them in a prejudiced way is known as Visual Ageism. It is widespread in today’s advertising landscape. In response, Changing the Narrative held a contest in summer 2019 to find images of older adults in a more accurate light.

You can see the results here on NextFifty’s website. (CTN is a partnership between NextFifty Initiative and The Rose Community Foundation.) The REAL (Realistic Examples of Aging in Life) Photo Contest winners are available for download to help combat visual ageism.

Just the beginning

These campaigns are just the beginning in taking action on ageism. Join CTN and our partners in fighting ageism. Take part in a campaign and take action in your daily life. We can start to reframe our thinking one conversation at a time.

Sara Breindel, Changing the Narrative blogger