What is Ageism Awareness Day?

October 7, 2022 marked international Ageism Awareness Day, a day to focus on what ageism is and highlight its impact. Ageism negatively affects each of us, our communities and society. For Changing the Narrative as well as many of you, everyday is ageism awareness day. We have LOTS of ways for you to learn more about ageism, and to increase awareness of ageism among others.

Why does this matter?

Ageism harms our economic security, physical and mental health, and memory, and shortens our life span. It also has significant costs for our health care system, and our economy overall.

What can we do to increase awareness of ageism?

1. Host conversations about ageism, using our free, downloadable toolkits.

You can host conversations with friends and in your community, using our downloadable toolkits for:

  • A Book Club discussion about Becca Levy’s groundbreaking book about how our beliefs about aging affect our health, lifespan, likelihood of developing dementia, and moreDOWNLOAD.
  • An intergenerational conversation about how ageism affects us allDOWNLOAD
  • A short film and conversation about ageism in health care and what we can do about it. DOWNLOAD

2. Use age-inclusive language and messaging.

3. Ditch the ageist birthday cards. Send cards that celebrate aging instead of making fun of older people.

  • Changing the Narrative commissioned a set of age-positive birthday cards as an alternative to ageist cards that reinforce negative stereotypes about aging and older people, and we are doing a new Call for Designers to create additional cards.
  • Check out Better Birthdays, an international collaboration that we’re involved with to learn more about why this matters, and not just in the U.S.

4. Looking for other ways to get involved in Ageism Awareness Day, everyday?

If you want to dig deeper:

  • TAKE. The Implicit Association Test on the Harvard University website to learn about your own implicit biases (bias that we have that we may not be aware of), because as poet Maya Angelou said: When we know better, we do better.
  • READ. The United Nations and World Health Organization’s Global Report on Ageism, a comprehensive report that summarizes the research on ageism around the world, and outlines effective strategies.
  • CHECK OUTOld School Clearinghouse, a compilation of free, vetted resources to educate people about ageism and to help dismantle it.

A final word about Ageism Awareness Day:

We believe in the words of civil rights leader Grace Lee Boggs: We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for. Together, we can not only increase awareness of ageism, but end it once and for all!

Janine Vanderburg is the Director of Changing the Narrative.


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