On Wednesday morning I joined a small group convened by the Encore Boston Network to talk about ageism. We met--eight strangers and two facilitators-- in a Peet’s coffee café conference room in downtown Boston. I’m not sure why I was invited. Although I have been known to make disparaging remarks about the elderly myself, I am concerned about ageism.
When one of the leaders left the “e” out of ageism as she wrote the topic of our discussion on a white board, I thought I might be wasting my time. But it got better.
I had read a lot about ageism, but some of these people experienced it.
One woman had been job-hunting for months. She told us that an interviewer had asked her whether doctors’ appointments might affect her attendance. A fifty-three- year-old male had been laid off by a startup and was struggling to get interviews.
We talked about the benefits of intergenerational workplaces, and how to get employers to see their advantages. We talked about volunteering strategically. A woman from the State’s government talked about relevant innovative programs underway in Massachusetts.
By 2050, 3.7 million Americans will be over sixty-five. There is a lot to be done.