Does Your Age Matter? (Tessa Interviews Ashton Applewhite)
(The Open Nesters Episode 13)
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In this Episode 13 we meet Ashton Applewhite.
As we become “age-full” we can be present, and curious, and open-minded and explore again – like we did when we were children. So says our guest, Ashton Applewhite. I (Tessa) am a big fan of Ashton’s thinking on the concept of “agelessness.” To me this idea strips us of our years… and we are left with ourselves.
Ashton discusses the concept that was recently announced in the Northeast USA… called “Ageless New York.” In fact Ashton has a full chapter in her book about agelessness. She say that “agelessness tends to minimize the differences which contribute to our lives in all sorts of ways.” Ashton believes we should embrace and celebrate these differences, as they make us special.
Ashton has a lot to say about the idea of a “generation.” She says there is more diversity in a group of people that we would think of as homogeneous than there is between what we would call disparate groups. The idea of a generation pits us against each other.
Intergenerational Conflict: Ashton says there is no evidence of intergenerational conflict. No evidence that “old people don’t care about young people, and young people want to throw old people to the wolves.” Most us inhabit the middle ground. In fact the World Health Organization just launched a global program to combat ageism.
Resources for You
Ashton’s Book: This Chair Rocks
People are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives. Only 2.5% of Americans over 65 live in nursing homes. Older people enjoy better mental health than the young or middle-aged. Dementia rates are falling, fast. So how come so many of us unthinkingly assume that depression, diapers, and dementia lie ahead? That the 20th century’s astonishing leap in life expectancy is a disaster-in-the making? Underlying all the hand-wringing is ageism: discrimination that sidelines and silences older people. So I’ve written a book. I blog about it. I led the team that developed Old School, a clearinghouse of anti-ageism resources. I am the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? (Go ahead, ask me.) I’ve written a consciousness-raising booklet. And I speak widely. All tools to help catalyze a movement to make discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind.