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We ❤ Aging—Yes, We Do!

Office envelope with pen and handwritten text I AM TOO OLD, changed to NO ONE IS TOO OLD, to transform negative self-perceptions of aging to positive one and keep set goal or dream to follow

Set of multicolored people vector icons. Collection of different characters.Everyone wants to be treated with respect and dignity, but “isms” get in the way. You know—racism, sexism, classism, and others. Two of those others are ageism (discrimination against older people because of negative and inaccurate stereotypes) and ableism (discrimination in favor of able-bodied people). Ageism and ableism are compounded by the other “isms,” and vice versa. Imagine how prejudice and discrimination might affect you as well as your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and community.

Last fall, Age Friendly Seattle unveiled “We ❤ Aging” anti-ageism trainings that helped City of Seattle staff explore mindsets about aging and provide practical tips for becoming anti-ageist in their personal and professional lives.

We are grateful for Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proclamation that June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Seattle, coinciding with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Based on staff and community feedback, Age Friendly Seattle also saw the opportunity to share information about the harm created by ageism. They set upon developing a special training that’s available for public use right now:

Learn more in “’Reimagining Aging’ Training: A New Resource to Deconstruct Ageism” (AgeWise King County, May 2024). Or go straight to the Anti-Ageism Training webpage and watch the training now. It takes about 45 minutes and is time well spent.

I encourage you to share those links with your networks and encourage them to share with family, friends, and neighbors. We are working to make Seattle a great place to grow up and grow old!

Age Friendly Washington State

I was thrilled to read this media release: “Washington joins age- and dementia-friendly networks” (Washington State Health Care Authority, 5/7/2024). Our state has joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and the USAging Dementia-Friendly America network.

A screenshot of SeattleChannel's recording of a recent city council meeting

Click on the image above to watch the introduction of three prospective members of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services—Dr. Joel Domingo, Patricia Schnepf, and Dolores Wiens—at a Seattle City Council committee meeting, each of whom was confirmed (Seattle Channel, 5/8/2024).

Age Friendly Seattle joined the AARP Network in 2016 and launched programming in 2017. Puyallup was already on board. In recent years both Tacoma and White Salmon also joined. Each community’s action plan is unique, and AARP—both their nationwide Livable Communities branch and our Washington state chapter—have been tremendously helpful, providing sound advice and a wealth of resources.

I expect we’ll learn more about state involvement in both networks in the months to come.

Reframing Aging

Addressing ageism and ableism and emphasizing the importance of creating age-friendly communities, are all part of reframing aging. If you would like to learn more about these issues, I recommend two online resources:

  • National Center to Reframe Aging—dedicated to ending ageism by advancing an equitable and complete story about aging.
  • FrameWorks Institute—a think tank that helps organizations communicate social issues, including aging, in order to build public will and promote positive change.

Each of us is affected by ageism, ableism, and all “isms” in different ways—changing our lives in negative ways. Dismantling each of them is work that should involve every one of us.

Alex O'ReillyContributor Alex O’Reilly chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. She welcomes input from readers via e-mail (


A group picture of the Aging and Disability Services Advisory council taken in May 2023.

Mark Your Calendars

Following are upcoming events in which ADS Advisory Council members will participate:

  • Memory Sabbath & Memory Sunday: Saturday, June 8–Sunday, June 9 at participating faith community venues, building Alzheimer’s and brain health awareness among people of African descent. For more information, e-mail Angeilea Yancey-Watson, African American Reach and Teach Health, at
  • Age Friendly Seattle Civic Coffee: Tuesday, June 10 (1:30–3:00 p.m.) at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle (8323 Rainier Ave S, Seattle 98118). This month’s event focuses on creative aging. Unable to attend in person? You have an option to join online.
  • NW Universal Design Council: Tuesday, June 11 (2–3 p.m.); online. To receive the meeting link, e-mail in advance.
  • ADS Advisory Council: Friday, June 14 (12–2 p.m.); online. To receive the meeting link, e-mail in advance.
  • Juneteenth: Wednesday, June 19, is a holiday. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. For more information, visit the Zinn Education Project. Both ADS offices are closed on this day.
  • Mayor’s Council on African American Elders: Friday, June 21 (2:00–3:30 p.m.) at Grace United Methodist Church (722 30th Ave., Seattle, 98144). Parking is available. Agendas will be sent via e-mail. Meetings are hybrid. Contact for the Zoom link or more information.
Posted in Ageism