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

Ashton Applewhite

We may think we know what lies ahead: a grim slide into depression, dementia, and dependence. But that’s just the party line, and author and activist Ashton Applewhite debunks it in spades. It turns out that:

  • The vast majority of Americans over 65 enjoy independent lives;
  • Older people enjoy better mental health than the young or middle-aged; and
  • People are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives.

Who knew, right? Part monologue, part consciousness-raiser, this keynote traces Applewhite’s journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-aging activist. The talk dispels pernicious myths about late life, exposes the ageism that underlies all the hand-wringing, and proposes an alternative to worrying about getting old: wake up to the ageist messages that frame two third of our lives as decline, cheer up, and push back. It’s time to work together to make age discrimination as unacceptable as any other prejudice. The talk is as funny as it is fierce—with room for a more activism-oriented approach for groups looking to take action, now—and it will change the way you envision the rest of your life.

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