A Plethora of Barbara(s)

A Conversation about Ageism

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.



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