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HomeReframing Aging

Ageism is the only "ism" still widely accepted in our society. It casts a long shadow over employment and other opportunities for older adults to remain productive and engaged. It infects our language, media, entertainment, arts and culture. It colors the policies and practices of businesses, governments and institutions. It affects the way products and services are conceived, marketed and delivered to older adults. It even clouds the lens through which we view our current or future selves.

As with all stereotypes, those related to aging are far from what experts know to be true. The challenge is to change the way we understand, talk about and think about aging as a natural, positive and ongoing part of our lives. This is especially important as we live longer and the proportion of older people continues to grow. We selected the following resources to help change the way we see the possibilities, assets and benefits of age in our society.


Gauging Aging: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Aging in America

This research from the Reframing Institute compares public and expert thinking about aging and identifies challenges in building support for policies that promote the wellbeing of older Americans.

Aging, Agency and Attribution of Responsibility: Shifting Public Discourse about Older Adults

This report from the Reframing Institute identifies 6 common media and advocacy narratives, and suggests more effective ways to present aging issues.

Gaining Momentum: A FrameWorks Communications Toolkit

This collection of resources identifies the pitfalls of our current language and approach to discussing aging and offers strategies and tools for change.

The Economic Impact of Age Discrimination

This report from AARP shows how discriminating against older workers could cost the US economy $850 billion.


This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

This book by Ashton Applewhite explains the roots of ageism—in history and in our own age denial—and how it divides and debases, examines how ageist myths and stereotypes cripple the way our brains and bodies function, describes what an all-age-friendly world would look like, and concludes with a rousing call to action. A group reading guide is available.

Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Any Age

This book by Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, changes the conversation about aging by challenging our outdated beliefs and encouraging us all to re-think the negative stories we tell ourselves and each other about growing older.

Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America

This book by Margaret Morganroth Gullette reveals that much of what we dread about aging is actually the result of ageism, which we must battle as strongly as other forms of bigotry. Also the author of Ending Ageism, or How Not to Shoot Old People.


Let's End Ageism

In this TED Talk, Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. "Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured," she says. "It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all."

No Donuts for You! Fake Age Limit Targets Ageism

Everyday age discrimination happens behind closed doors. This video from AARP is designed to show what would happen if we brought it out into the open. So, we hid cameras at a food truck and wouldn’t serve anyone over 40. How would you have reacted?

How Old is Old?

What age do you consider to be old? In this video, AARP posed that question to millennials and asked them to show us what “old” looks like. Then we introduced them to some real “old” people. Watch what happens when folks let go of their outdated beliefs and embrace the idea that aging is not about decline - it’s about growth. 

Age Without Ageism

This video explains how fighting ageism can help us live longer -- and make the world better. Hosted by Josh Kornbluth, an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute and Hellman Visiting Artist at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center. Featuring neuroscientists Rose Anne Kenny, MD, Kate Rankin, PhD, and Pascal Gagneux, PhD.

Societal Perceptions of Aging

This video by Betsy Abramson, Deputy Director, Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, shares the history, origins, definitions and examples of ageism in the United States. She explores the language that is commonly used to perpetuate ageism and offers recommendations to combat the stereotypes.

Other Resources

Pillar to Pyramid

This chart shows the demographic shift brought on by longevity and declining birth rates. This shift is changing our economy and society in ways that demand a new view of older adults.

How Do You Age Strong?

This public awareness campaign from Age Strong Boston is designed to spark dialogue on ageism. It features 8 Bostonians whose stories challenge the labels society places on them. The campaign confronts implicit bias about older adults and dispels stereotypes to promote more positive images around aging.

End Ageism

This campaign from San Francisco features 5 San Franciscans who exemplify qualities that "never get old." It connects these insights to opportunities to get involved to make change.

Changing the Narrative Colorado: Ending Ageism Together

Three campaigns seek to raise awareness about ageism in our society: in the workplace, in celebrating birthdays and in our everyday lives. Check out each under the Campaigns tab.

Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse

This clearinghouse offers free resources to educate people about ageism and help dismantle it. You’ll find blogs, books, articles, videos, speakers, and other tools (including workshops, handouts, curricula etc.) that are accessible to the general public. 

Anti-Ageist Birthday Cards

This campaign was developed by Changing the Narrative Colorado as a way to offer positive messages and avoid the stereotypes of age that are so common in the birthday card aisle. View the gallery of cards and purchase your favorites online. 




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