A Country on the Cusp of "Peak 65"
The Working Boomer

What Can Boomers Do About Ageism?

Screen Shot 2024-02-20 at 1.00.20 PMAgeism is, literally, an age-old problem. The youngest Boomers turn 60 years of age in 2024. If they haven't faced the effects of ageism that older Boomers have already experienced, they soon will.

Ageism is a pervasive societal issue globally, not just in the United States. It is evident in the workplace, in healthcare, in the media, in consumer interactions and in everyday life. Older people are subjected to unwarranted firings, impatience and ridicule. Very simply, ageism is prejudicial and discriminatory.

Anti-ageism legislation and public awareness are helpful, but change comes slowly. As with most problems of social injustice, those affected must not be discouraged. They must be proactive and take individual action.

So what can you do about ageism? A new British campaign, "Age Without Limits," offers some guidance. Here are a few specifics from the campaign's website:

"There's lots you can do to challenge ageism as an individual. Taking an active stance against ageism is the only way we can change attitudes. You can do this in the following ways:

  1. Challenge ageism both internally (in both your own thinking and the words that you use) and ageism that you see in everyday conversations. 
  2. Formally complain about ageism when you come across it in the media and advertising.
  3. If you feel you have experienced direct or indirect discrimination, harassment, or victimisation in the workplace, you should follow your employer’s grievance procedure."

You'll find many more suggestions on the campaign website about how you can take action against ageism in the workplace, in your community, in everyday conversations, in the images you use, and in your communications and writing.

Another way in which you can combat ageism is to rekindle your youthful activism. Boomers were renowned for their activism in the Sixties and Seventies -- so why shouldn't our generation speak up again for the things we hold dear? Activism by people our age can dramatically change the perception that we are "old," "tired" and "washed up."

An organization designed to marshal people over sixty years of age is Third Act. According to the organization's website:

" 'Experienced Americans' are the fastest-growing part of the population: 10,000 people a day pass the 60-year mark. That means that there’s no way to make the changes that must be made to protect our planet and society unless we bring our power into play.

"...as a generation we have unprecedented skills and resources that we can bring to bear. Washington and Wall Street have to listen when we speak, because we vote and because we have a large—maybe an overlarge—share of the country’s assets. And many of us have kids and grandkids and great grandkids: we have, in other words, very real reasons to worry and to work."

Everyone who practices ageism wittingly or unwittingly may not fully appreciate that they too will someday be older. Don't let others define you by your age!

Image from https://www.agewithoutlimits.org/image-library

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