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“Reimagining Aging” Training: A New Resource to Deconstruct Ageism

People of different ages and nationalities take a walk in the park. Families with children, elderly and young couples, friends spend time together. Vector horizontal illustration.

We are all aging.

Take a moment to think about this. Is this an idea you are comfortable with? Scared of? Excited for?

Why do you feel this way? What have we been taught to think about when we consider aging, both consciously and unconsciously?

A screenshot of Age Friendly Seattle's new community training resource.

Click on the image above to watch a video that promotes Reimagining Aging, Age Friendly Seattle’s new community training resource.

Age Friendly Seattle’s “Reimagining Aging: Anti-Ageism Training” is a new online resource that asks questions like these. Created by a team of subject matter experts, this training brings together lived experience and expertise to address ageism in our culture. Its development was an effort involving Age Friendly Seattle, the Mayor’s Council on African American Elders, experts in the field of aging and curriculum development, community-based organization partners, and members of the public.

Last year, Age Friendly Seattle implemented an anti-ageism training designed for City of Seattle employees. To date, 250 staff across 16 City departments have engaged in the training. In celebration of Older Americans Month, Age Friendly Seattle is offering the entire community an opportunity to explore, reflect on, relate to, and utilize the anti-ageism training.

Why is this topic important? Ageism is harmful. It impacts the lives of both young people (e.g., “you’re too young for that job”) as well as older adults (e.g., mandatory retirement). Consider the cumulative impact over a lifetime of reduced opportunity and health impacts of marginalized groups, including people of color, women, our LGBTQIA+ neighbors, and people with disabilities with the additional impact of ageism.

Ageism is pervasive and impacts our economic wellbeing in insidious ways, including the very real impact of being priced out of neighborhoods—places with deep roots and support systems—so important at all ages, but especially in our older years. In turn, this impacts our social connections and often our health.

In our everyday lives, very few of us take the time to consider our relationship with aging and its structural power. Age Friendly Seattle’s “Reimagining Aging” training serves as an opportunity to bring awareness. With discussion prompts and additional resources, it can also be used to empower and facilitate age-friendly discussions among friends, family, coworkers, volunteer groups, and community members, and spark deeper understanding between generations.

Regardless of who you are or where you are on life’s journey, I believe contemplation of ageism is critical to creating a more inclusive and accessible society. Just as we are all aging, we have all experienced ageism at some point in our lives. Similarly, we all have a role in deconstructing it.

I am a younger adult and I especially encourage those in my age demographic to consider how we are impacted by ageism and how we may perpetuate it. It is never too early to examine your relationship with aging, both for your own benefit and to better support other generations.

If you would like to complete “Reimagining Aging” training, click here. It takes about 45 minutes to complete in total.

As writer and anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite has said, “Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured. It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.” Let’s acknowledge this important connection and work together against ageism.

Isabella HankinsContributor Isabella Hankins studies Community, Environment, & Planning and Medical Anthropology & Global Health at the University of Washington She joined the Age Friendly Seattle team in 2023.


Posted in Ageism