My last post regarding "everyday ageism" got me thinking about the kinds of actions ordinary citizens could take to combat ageism on a local level. Turns out there are communities around the United States that have launched local campaigns for just that reason. I'm highlighting two such initiatives here as examples of what can be implemented locally.
Changing the Narrative in Colorado builds on five years of national work initiated by eight leading aging organizations that recognized a shared challenge: that what they were seeking to communicate about aging and ageism, and the social challenges and opportunities posed by demographic change, was not getting through in the way intended to the general public. A core strategy of the Initiative is the use of Change AGEnts—trained volunteers of all ages who will “call-in” ageism, educate their networks in reframing aging, and recognize individuals and organizations that are advancing a positive view of aging and eliminating ageist practices.
Changing the Narrative sponsors numerous anti-aging campaigns, among them:
- Anti-ageist birthday cards
Changing the Narrative has selected a diverse group of Colorado artists to design anti-ageist birthday cards. The designs defy negative views of aging and celebrate the joys of getting older
- Age-friendly workplaces
Changing the Narrative encourages Colorado employers to become Certified Age Friendly Employers
- Age-friendly healthcare
Changing the Narrative created an age-friendly healthcare guide for both individuals and health care providers and offers a list of academic and other sources that go into deeper detail about topics related to ageism and healthcare
- Intergenerational conversations
Changing the Narrative partnered with the local PBS television station to produce "on the same pAGE," a series of facilitated intergenerational discussions; this was expanded through virtual conversations
- Changing the Narrative partnered with organizations in Douglas County, Colorado to sponsor an "Every Age Counts" poetry contest to raise awareness about ageism and how it negatively affects everyone in the community.
The San Francisco Reframing Aging Campaign is a collaborative effort to increase public awareness of ageism, disrupt negative stereotypes of aging, and connect residents with supportive resources and services. The campaign is a partnership between the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), the Community Living Campaign, the Metta Fund, and numerous community-based organizations and neighbors. Together, they are embarking on a multi-pronged approach to increase public awareness of ageism and help San Franciscans of all ages recognize implicit ageism, connect residents with valuable aging resources, and foster inter-generational connections.
A comprehensive website features capsule biographies of five older San Franciscans, offers the opportunity to take an anti-ageism pledge and become a volunteer, and provides links to resources, articles and videos.
These are two excellent examples of what can be accomplished on a local level when ageism is acknowledged as a serious community issue. Find out if your local area is doing something productive and join the fight against ageism!
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com