Campaign writes off stereotypes of aging – Editors’ Columns – McKnight’s Senior Living

Attend “milestone” birthday festivities and you’ll notice certain trends: somber black decorations and talk of being “over the hill.”

Working in senior living, you know that there can be challenges to getting older. But for most people, aging is not necessarily a negative experience.

I’m late to this party but just found out about a pretty cool initiative that is part of Changing the Narrative’s anti-ageism campaign.

If you’re not from Colorado, where the organization is based, you may not have heard, but Changing the Narrative held a contest asking artists to design “age-positive” birthday cards that “reflect the true joys of growing older.”

More than 60 artists in the state submitted entries, and 23 designs were selected.

“Older adults are often curious, active and engaged, yet so many of my birthday card choices mock older adults or make aging seem like a period of decline, depression and dependence,” Janine Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative, said in a statement. “The fact is, we are living longer and healthier lives that give us the chance to do more and become more.”

The rest of society just needs to catch up.

According to the organization, recent studies have found that, on a daily basis, 82% of adults aged 50 to 80 years report experiencing forms of “everyday ageism.” Other studies, Changing the Narrative said, have found that older adults who reported experiencing three or more forms of everyday ageism had worse physical and mental health than those who reported experiencing fewer forms of ageism.

“Ageism diminishes us all and limits our potential to use the insights and ingenuity that older adults can offer. Birthday cards are just a small example of the serious matter of ageism,” Vanderburg said.

It may be a small step, but it’s an important one on the path to meeting the goal of changing the way people think, talk and act about aging, ageism and older adults. That’s something to celebrate!

Check out the cards here.

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