Ageism, You’re Fired!

by Teresa Elliott, MiCAFE Intern

Did you know this is National Social Work Week? In fact, the whole month of March is Social Work Month!

Most people come into contact with social workers through direct service delivery in the form of counseling or case management. But did you know an important part of a social worker’s role is to work for social change?
Social workers advocate for change in a variety of ways, including:

  • Joining and leading grassroots change movements;
  • Supporting community campaigns;
  • Conducting research;
  • Educating the public about social issues; and,
  • Designing and implementing social programs to work within the policy framework.

happycouple8One of my favorite social change movements is the fight against ageism. We all know there is no one definition of older adults. Our society’s negative stereotypes of older adults define senior citizens as weak, frail, confused, and forgetful.

In fact, there has never been a better time to be an older adult in America. Scientific research has shown that older people are actually happier than younger people. We are healthier into our older years than ever before and have more options for activities and entertainment than ever before.

The Radical Age Movement refers to agism as the last acceptable prejudice in America and Jeanette Leardi, a blogger for ChangingAging.com challenges us to make 2016 “The Year We Fire Ageism.”

Join me in embracing the strengths of our older citizens and celebrating their contributions. By refusing to give a voice to the negative stereotypes of aging, we can refocus our societal view of older adults to one of vital, valuable, and contributing members of society who happen to have lived a little longer than others.

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