Negative beliefs about aging decrease your lifespan by an average of seven and a half years.
– Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN
From childhood on, we are barraged with messages that to grow older is a sad thing – that it means decline, decay, and illness. Society is also full of ageist myths and beliefs that impact our health and well-being.
Join me for today’s episode, where I talk to Ashton Applewhite about how these stereotypes impact our brains and bodies. We hope you’ll join our crusade to change the way you see aging, and getting older doesn’t mean becoming unhappier for the rest of your life!
▶️ This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism
Meet Ashton, a passionate journalist and author who aims to raise awareness about ageism in America. She fervently invites younger and older individuals to unite and join the movement to break down the barriers of ageism.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️Dismantling ageism in a world of longer lives.
Ageism is a harmful belief that wrongly suggests that reaching a certain age inevitably leads to a decline in health and independence, ultimately resulting in ‘diapers, decrepitude, and death.’ It’s important to challenge and overcome this negative stereotype.
✔️ Sex and intimacy in older age
Representation holds immense significance. Unfortunately, there is still a noticeable scarcity of older individuals portrayed in the media, movies, and television. What’s more, they are rarely showcased as romantic individuals. The dating game show “The Golden Batchelor” is quite notable for giving older adults the visibility they deserve.
✔️The health impacts that ageism has on our society
Negative beliefs about aging decrease your lifespan by an average of 7.5 years. (According to research by Dr. Becca Levy)
A growing amount of data from various sources highlights the harmful effects of negative assumptions about aging. When we constantly think that everything is bound to worsen or blame every ache on our age with no hope for improvement, it leads to poorer health outcomes.
✔️ You’re missing out on so many life experiences by not having friends of all ages.
Remember, you may like or dislike someone based on their personality, but age shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Ashton suggests breaking that habit we all have of gravitating towards people our own age when we enter a room. Instead, why not strike up a conversation with someone older or younger? Give it a try!
Ashton Applewhite is a journalist and author on a mission to raise awareness of ageism in America and get both younger and older people to join her in a grassroots movement to dismantle ageism. She is author of the book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism; author of the Q&A Blog “Yo! Is this Ageist?”; and you can learn more about her and her work through her TED Talk and on her websites This Chair Rocks and Old School.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
The Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse – https://oldschool.info/
Good Morning Washington interview:
Batchelor, M. (2023, October 5th). Fighting Ageism and “The Golden Bachelor” Impact [Interview]. Good Morning Washington with K. O’Shea; ABC 7 News. https://bit.ly/3tpc2dR
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