Flip the Script on Ageism

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Meaghan McMahon

Meaghan McMahon
MSW, Director of Strategic Development, LinkedSenior


Associating value and worth with only young age comes at a cost. We would all benefit from understanding that older adults are just as worthy and valuable as people of any other age in our society.

The Linked Senior team believes in a world where people of all ages are respected and valued. Over the last five years, their Old People Are Cool initiative has made great strides in combatting pervasive ageism in communities worldwide. As part of the project, they have showcased thousands of media stories about very cool old people from around the world on social media, including their Twitter page that has more than five thousand followers.

It is encouraging to see that there is more and more interest every day in standing up to combat the harmful ageism that seems rampant in our society. There are exciting new examples of people and organizations who are determined to tear down generational silos and bring back the idea that the elders of our communities should be listened to, respected, and valued.

Consider the #ElderWisdom campaign to combat ageism that began seven years ago within Schlegel Villages, a long-term care and retirement home provider in Ontario whose founder once said that “the greatest untapped resource in Canada, if not the world, is the collective wisdom of our elders.” With those words, Ron Schlegel inspired the idea of the #ElderWisdom Green Bench, which is strategically placed in prominent locations in cities throughout Ontario and invites passersby to take a moment to sit and share a conversation with an older adult. As traditional and social media picked up on the campaign each year, it spread and has since garnered attention in countries around the world.

In addition, these people and organizations are taking a stand in creative and inspiring ways:

  • Ashton Applewhite continues to champion an all-age-friendly world with her book “This Chair Rocks” and her latest creation, “Old School,” a virtual clearinghouse of carefully vetted blogs, books, articles, videos, speakers, and other tools.
  • Ari Seth Cohen, an American photographer, filmmaker, and fashion blogger, has created a series of books to highlight older adults living life to the fullest in their own fashionable way. the recent movement towards the fashion industry embracing older models.
  • Growing Bolder is a team of award-winning journalists, broadcasters and creatives all focused on sharing the inspirational stories of ordinary people living extraordinary lives after age 50.
  • Sherry Dahlke, a University of Alberta researcher, is leading a Canada-wide project to test online training modules she developed to educate nursing students about caring for older patients, to find out whether they’re effective at countering ageist attitudes.

Ready to join this movement and tear down the negative narratives around aging? Join Ted Hudson, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Schlegel Villages and Meaghan McMahon, Director of Strategic Development at Linked Senior for their session, “A Person is a Person No Matter How Old” at the 2022 Pioneering a New Culture of Aging Conference!

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