Anti-ageism activists faced new challenges in 2021, but we also saw the anti-ageism movement growing. In this blog, we opened 2021 by talking about resilience. As we know, we never stop growing and contributing, no matter our age. To inspire us, we gathered more “Real Aging” stories about people who lead us by the examples of resilience.
Another theme that runs through these stories – and all our work – is that things happen when people come together. We succeed with the help of others. Even the strongest leaders are part of a team.
The movement is growing
This has become even more apparent in 2021. Even with the country divided on so many things, most of us, in one way or another, have found out that we do not and cannot live independently of each other. Even when physically distanced, we are dependent on logistical, environmental, and interpersonal supply chains.
A movement needs people involved at every level. This is a source of hope for us at Changing the Narrative as we see the anti-ageism movement growing. Increasingly, ageism is in the news, and more and more people are speaking out. It’s part of a bigger movement to create a more inclusive society, where we can all thrive, despite our differences. We can flourish because of our differences.
Looking back at 2021
So many people showed up to listen, share ideas and even to get involved – and we are grateful. Some examples:
- Over 5,000 people attended 91 webinars and events in 2021 on topics like Reframing Ageism, Ending Ageism, Age-Friendly Workplaces, and Age-Friendly Healthcare. The wide adoption of virtual platforms allowed us to reach people in all 50 states in the United States and 24 countries outside the U.S.
- Despite not being able to film the way we’d envisioned, we finished “Antidotes for Ageism”, a short film about ageism in healthcare that debuted to hundreds online. Word is spreading and we’ve received dozens of screening requests. This is part of our Age-Friendly Healthcare campaign, which has also been receiving media attention.
- Many of you signed up to Join the Movement and found ways to learn and be engaged. We launched our Ageism Activism Center to help get people started in understanding and challenging ageism.
- We created a new Speakers Bureau to train anti-ageism speakers. Other volunteers trained in advocacy letter writing and social media activism.
- The COVID pandemic has brought so many challenges, including increasingly exposed ageism. We are responding to ageism in the Crisis Standards of Care, and continue to speak out whenever ageism rears its head in public policy.
- People were inspired. Jim Westcott, who has become involved in policy advocacy, was persistent in reaching out and met with his Representative. Gretchen Lopez, a citizen leader in Douglas County, was inspired by our birthday card contest to create a local anti-ageist poetry contest, which announced winners in November.
- We wrapped up the year by completing our new style guide for language, storylines and visuals: Guidelines for Age-Friendly Communications. The downloadable short guide is for anyone writing, speaking or working with or for older adults.
Much work to do in 2022
Looking forward, 2022 is going to be a busy year for our small, but mighty, team and growing group of volunteer Change AGEnts. 2022 has started off at full speed. Already, word is spreading fast about our new style guide, as is our Age-Friendly Healthcare campaign. We are expecting the introduction of legislation in Colorado that fights age discrimination. Along with a coalition of partners, we are working to raise awareness and support for measures like this. Additionally, we continue to work with a growing group of partners to address ageism and discrimination in Colorado’s Crisis Standards of Care.
We look forward to finding even more people in 2022 who want to make a difference with us. Want to learn more, take action or even just stay up to date? If you haven’t already, Join the Movement. Add your voice to the growing choir and join us to work together to create a more inclusive society.
Sara Breindel, Changing the Narrative blogger