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Baby boomers need to fight internalized agism

In the popular culture and throughout society, the message is loud and clear: Young is good, old is bad.

6a00e55008157688340128767a1903970c-pi[1]Although baby boomers experienced women's liberation and gay rights, they have anti-aging messages ingrained into their psyches, says Carol Orsborn, CEO, FierceWithAge, Spirituality for Grownups. These messages are economically, socially, and politically damaging for boomers and all age groups.

Boomers are allowing stereotypes of aging to take over their thinking about who they are as they age, Orsborn says.

She suggests boomers start or join a Fierce with Age Consciousness Group.

Find between two and 10 boomers and set a time to meet regularly. Discuss whatever you want, but when the following five flags come up, catch yourself and catch others.

1. Comments, satire, or jokes, including asides, that revile, infantilize, or marginalize aging and old people.

2. Youth-centric language, as in "young at heart" or "youthful." Replace it with age-neutral words such as "vital" and "passionate."

3. Separating one out from peers, as in: "Can you believe I'm 60 years old?"

4. Definitions of successful aging that are based solely or primarily on your having attributes normally associated with individuals younger than your own age.

5. Romanticizing or sanitizing images of aging.

For details, see Orsborn’s Huffington Post article “Aging With Pride: The Call for Boomer Consciousness.”

Copyright 2012, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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