Merge's Blog

Apparently ageism is more prevalent than you may have realized

One week ago I blogged about ageism in the workplace and whether we have an unconscious age bias, without even realizing it (see Is age discrimination alive and well in organizations?).  In response to this post, a client forwarded this video link to me, with a short comment that he has seen many examples of “upward ageism” in his organization.  Published by AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons), this video at four minutes is a little longer than the usual YouTube video, but watch it through to the end, I think you’ll find it interesting; I certainly did.

My favourite two parts come near the end (at the 3:30 mark) when 70-year old Parvati says “As long as I’m growing and learning, then age doesn’t matter”, and when 75-year old George says “When people start stopping, that’s when they start getting old.”  And what I like best about the overall tone of the video is that it’s positive – younger people came out of the experience with a greater awareness of how easy it is to fall into the trap of ageism.

My hope is that if you happen to be someone who believes that only the young can offer innovation and creativity, then perhaps this video made you rethink your point of view.  Or not.  How old do you think “old” is?  Would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below.

2 thoughts on “Apparently ageism is more prevalent than you may have realized

  1. Merge —
    Thank you for sharing this topic. Unfortunately, ageism is pervasive in our society. As identified in the video, stereotypes of age are rampant. Further, in my experience, these stereotypes tend to be strongly held by those in managerial roles. Note, I didn’t say leaders.

    I’m 58. I get reminded about my age on a daily basis. You know who are the ones who point this out to me the most? Those colleagues and friends who are of a similar age. So while stereotypes are rampant, much of this gets perpetuated by those who are older in age. In some respects, we are our own worst enemies in perpetuating these stereotypes.

    I frequently use the phrase “age is a state of mind.” Then I usually follow up with something along the lines of “I’ve been 13 for 45 years.” I truly believe that age is a state of mind. People can “check out” at any age. George highlights this perfectly. If you choose not to “check out,” you’ll never be old.

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more Larry, on all points. I am also a huge believer in “age is a state of mind”. Isn’t it a pity though that so many people perpetuate these stereotypes instead of using their energy to dispel the myths!

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