Fifty years after Dr. Robert Butler coined the term “ageism,” it’s inspiring to see Network members and  cities challenging stereotypes about older adults.

Between Oct. 25 and Nov. 3, you can  lead or join a conversation about ageism as part of Changing the Narrative Colorado’s “on the same pAGE” campaign. Help the campaign reach its goal of 100 conversations in 10 days by joining in-person sessions or a Zoom call, or using the campaign toolkit to host your own. Network leader Bevan Rogel is hosting a discussion, as are leaders in England, France and Italy.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh celebrated the city’s new anti-ageism program and explained why its Department for the Elderly changed its name to Boston Seniority:

I know older Bostonians are strong in so many different ways—with strong experiences, cultures and voices. That’s why we changed our name, and that’s why I am proud to share our first Age Strong public awareness campaign, the City’s effort to break down negative aging stereotypes…. In Boston, we are confronting negative labels like senile, inactive, helpless, and frail, and we are challenging those biases.”

This autumn, you will see new examples of aging appear on bus shelters, at City Hall, in our libraries, and on social media. Our Age Strong models include Sandra Harris, 68; Irene Morey, 103; Harry Pierre, 67; Vinny Marino, 83; Leo Romero, 84; Judy Yee, 70; Smiler Haynes, 86; and Rob Quinn, 59. These are some of the faces and stories of Bostonians who defy aging stereotypes, simply by being themselves….

This is what I know about older Bostonians: You are leaders, changemakers, and problem solvers. You start trends and fight for causes you care about. Older residents continue to contribute to their community, family and city, and we are grateful for your energy and experience. We invite you to join the conversation. Share how you age strong on social media and with your friends, family, neighbors, and local businesses. Let’s show everyone why Boston is truly a place for every generation.

Read this month’s Boston Seniority magazine Age Strong issue and meet their inspiring models.

San Francisco has launched Reframing Aging San Francisco to increase public awareness of ageism, disrupt negative stereotypes of older adults, and promote connection to supportive services. Fall 2019 activities include a  public message campaign featuring five older residents and their characteristics that “never get old” — passion, creativity, intelligence, courage and leadership.

Partners include the city’s Department of Aging and Adult Services, the Metta Fund and more than 30 community organizations. It draws on the Frameworks Institute’s research-based recommendations about reframing aging issues, crafting a local campaign that integrates traditional and social media strategies and leverages government, local nonprofit agencies and other stakeholders.

The city surveyed younger residents, age 30 to 50, finding that over 70 percent feel ageism is an important issue and use more negative than positive words when they think of themselves aging. Forty-three percent reported that they didn’t have friends or colleagues who are over 60. On a more positive note, 83 percent said they’d like to spend more time with older adults.

Published: October 18, 2019