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We’re quick to notice ageism. But sometimes we harbor ageist assumptions about growing older that we may not be fully aware of. Dr. Tracey Gendron, author of Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It, argues that there’s a healthier perspective on aging as a new developmental stage of life.
- Why she thinks everything you know about aging is wrong
- The driving forces behind ageism
- The consequences of ageism – for individuals, businesses, and societies
- Myths about older workers that need to be busted
- The downsides of traditional retirement and age-segregated communities
- How retirement can be a new developmental stage of life
- How can people ask themselves more strength-based and growth-centered questions on aging
- Ableism and how elderhood offers a new vision of later life
- How she defines aging
Dr. Gendron joins us from Virginia.
Dr. Tracey Gendron serves as Chair for the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Gerontology. Tracey has a Master’s degree in Gerontology, a Master’s degree in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. With over 25 years of experience as a gerontologist, Dr. Gendron has authored and co-authored over 30 manuscripts and seven book chapters on ageism and aging-related topics. She is frequently quoted in popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and U.S. News and World Report. Dr. Gendron has spoken about ageism in forums across America.
For More on Dr. Tracey Gendron
Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It
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On Why Everything You Know About Aging is Wrong
“…the way that we talk about aging is usually all about how our bodies age and decline. So we’re all familiar with the aches and the pains and the different injuries that we may have or disability or illnesses. And that’s most of what we associate with aging. And yes, that is part of aging. But when I say everything else you know about aging is wrong, it is because we don’t talk about aging in terms of growth in terms of opportunity and in terms of development. What do you like better about yourself now than you did last year, or the year before, or five years ago? Aging is really change and not negative change. It’s positive change as well. So, that’s what I’m getting at with everything you think you know about aging is wrong – because you really just hear about a single story of aging, which is the story of decline. Then when you look at the messages that are given about aging from the larger culture, it also feeds that narrative and really brings us a sense of shame about getting older. Instead of growing older, [it’s] how we have to fight aging and how we should hide the visible signs of aging. All of that really comes together to shape what you think you know about aging. And the book is saying let’s look at this a little more critically and then let’s see if you can make a decision for yourself about how you want to see aging.”
On The Consequences of Ageism
“Decades of knowledge and research shows that how we feel about our own aging – if we have negative attitudes – is bad for our health. But it’s not something that we really talk about and not something that most people know, so there’s some pretty serious consequences of negative attitudes towards aging or what I would call internalized ageism. There are many forms of ageism and internalized ageism is the one that focuses how we feel about ourselves as an aging person and our own aging process. And there’s research that shows that when we have negative attitudes about aging, it increases our risk of biomarkers for dementia disorders. It creates a sense of dependency. It even takes seven and a half years of your life. So there’s a longitudinal study that followed people over decades and found that people with positive views of their own aging live seven and a half years longer. So it’s not a small contribution. It’s actually quite a large contribution for each person. It robs us of happiness and it robs us of longevity. It’s also something that we’re just beginning to talk about. We should include Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work on ageism and ableism as it relates to the workplace.”
About Retirement Wisdom
I help people create a multipurpose retirement, with the right mix of interests, activities and pursuits to invest your time wisely.
Schedule a call to see if a 1-on-1 program or a small group Designing Your New Life program can give you an edge in your next chapter.
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About Your Host
Joe Casey is an executive coach who also helps people design their next life after their primary career. He created his own next chapter after a twenty-six-year career at Merrill Lynch, where he was Senior Vice President and Head of HR for Global Markets & Investment Banking.
Today, in addition to his work with clients, Joe hosts The Retirement Wisdom Podcast, which thanks to his guests and listeners, ranks in the top 1.5 % globally in popularity by Listen Notes. Business Insider has recognized him as one of 23 innovative coaches who are making a difference.
He’s the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy coming this summer.
Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet