This Chair Rocks: How Ageism Warps Our View of Long Life

Start time
10:00 AM Pacific
End time
11:00 AM Pacific

Part of the Generations Education Series, funded in part by the Archstone Foundation

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Includes Complimentary CEUs

Why is the 20th century’s astonishing leap in life expectancy typically portrayed as a disaster-in-the-making? Underlying all the hand wringing is ageism—internalized and in the culture at large—which obscures all but the most negative messages about life after 65, or 50, or just aging past youth. We urgently need a more nuanced and accurate narrative about late life. The stakes are high, because the ageism-fueled scenario will generate a very different set of responses than if we see the longevity boom as an opportunity as well as a challenge.

This web seminar proposes an alternative to worrying about getting old: wake up to the ageist messages that frame two-thirds of our lives as decline, cheer up, and push back. In the 20th century, the civil rights and women's movements raised our awareness of racism and sexism. It’s high time to do the same around discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of age.  

Participants in this web seminar will be able to:

  • Describe when and how we internalize ageist beliefs and stereotypes;
  • Identify the influence of the “psychologist’s fallacy”— the illusion that we can ever know what another person is experiencing—on our perception of aging;
  • List at least four domains in which ageism distorts the sense of self across the life course; and,
  • Give several examples of how to counter ageism in oneself and in the culture at large.   


Ashton Applewhite has been writing about aging and ageism since 2007 at This Chair Rocks.  During that time ageism has emerged as a pressing human rights and social justice issue, and Ashton has become a leading spokesperson for a movement to mobilize against it.