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01:20 PM on 07/28/2011
Ageist notions are also based on the assumption that "chronologically gifted" (aged) people do not contribute to society, but are rather are a drain on society's resources. This is obviously NOT TRUE, and here are a few examples:
Michelangelo: Architect and artist of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome from age 71-89.
Anna Mary Moses: Started a new career at age 78 due to arthritis in her fingers preventing her from her embroidery work. Her new work was painting oil rural scenes and she gained international acclaim as “Grandma Moses.”
Benjamin Franklin: Negotiated the peace settlement with England to end the American Revolutionary War at age 75.
Golda Meir: Prime Minister of Israel from age 70-75 through two Middle East wars.
07:52 PM on 08/03/2011
Georgia O'Keefe: artist
Jimmy Carter: Humanitarian and traveler in late 80's.
Larry King: Retired at 70.
Barbara Walters: Journalist and talk show host. 83.
Ted Kennedy: Senator until late 70's.
Queen Elizabeth: 80's.

Some may not think that these are societal contributors. I do. Even pop culture must has some value in reflecting what is acceptable in this "youth" culture.
12:19 PM on 07/28/2011
imagine being 60 and being laid off due to the struggling economy. imagine how difficult it is to be taken seriously as a candidate for a new job ~ despite top skills and demonstrated success. imagine what all the 30-year-old hr people think when they look at you.
12:52 PM on 07/28/2011
This is one reason why social security roles are swelling. If you are 62 or older, no one will hire you if you are down sized. You may have planned to work until 66 or 67, but now you have no choice but take your social security if you want to survive.
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Ogg-the-bear
Stunning millions with bolts of lightning...
01:20 PM on 07/28/2011
In the entertainment
04:13 PM on 07/28/2011
It's so true. You described my situation perfectly, and that's precisely what I had to do. It was either take SS early, or sleep under a viaduct.
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Ogg-the-bear
Stunning millions with bolts of lightning...
01:20 PM on 07/28/2011
If you're over forty your not gonna get hired either.
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toxicshock
Sassy, snarky, smart
12:15 PM on 07/28/2011
I think the top two reasons behind ageism are this: death and appearance. When we get older, and reflect on our lives, we realize how fast time has gone by and how short life is; Our missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams.

Appearance is forced upon us by society, with commercials for Botox, lotions, and facelifts. I know someone in her late 50s and she is obsessed with looking young. She wants a face lift, dermal fillers, and even laser treatment on her face AND arms/hands! She accuses every celebrity as "having stuff done", especially those in her age bracket. She has always had low self-esteem, and society doesn't help people like that. "You're only deserving of high self worth if you buy our product." How disappointing! Is this what younger generations have to look forward to? Is it just a baby boomer thing? Only time will tell.
09:59 PM on 07/31/2011
It's not a boomer thing, I remember my mother getting all upset about turning 50 in the 70's. Your friend can get all the surgery she wants but it won't make her attractive or even look younger, it will just make her look "odd". All you need to do is study rich Hollywood women to see that it just ain't possible, the more stuff they get done the odder and odder they look.

I'm not sure what you mean about always had low self esteem. No woman that was "plain" at 21 bothers with facelifts and such, it is only those that had a whole whack of male attention in their so-called-prime that do so.
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ShipCritic
NYC Dog Lover
11:50 AM on 07/28/2011
When asked how long the Rolling Stones would continue to make rock music, Mick Jagger said "Well, I can't imagine doing this when I'm 40!" Obviously he said it a long time ago. None of us really believes we'll be old one day. And we don't believe we'll die either. Denial permeates much of our life.

What's old? In 1900 life expectancy was 43. The question is, what is quality of life. Ms. Curtis is genetically blessed and my aunt is doing fairly well at 101 (she starting loosing her memory at 95). But they aren't the norm.
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rebelriser
artist, published author, activist
11:44 AM on 07/28/2011
From my observations, I see that the medical establishment makes older age into an illness. If a call is made to the doctor's office concerning what might be called symptoms, but the person is just wanting to check out some minor occurence, the medical persons use scare tactics to get the person to urgent care or to Emergency. Once you take the person to Emergency, it is as if the clinic locks the door behind them, because the scare tactics increase and added to it is the threat that insurance might not pay if this person does not let the emergency doctor put the person in the hospital, and then a second day in a hospital bed so more tests can be administered because the insurance might not pay if the person is taken home before being released by a hospitalist. Every older person, once they have any medical concern after a certain age, is seen as an illness with dollar signs plastered on their heads and onto their name & patient number. The doctors tell these elders it is for their good, but for God's sake, let the individual person decide whether to go to the clinic, whether to be admitted and whether to stay longer. It IS the age that brings this title to humans, and it is like an insurance policy of $$$$$$$$ for clinics & hospitals. These are the reasons health care is over the top expensive, and when people can least afford it.
donnal777
your freedom is at stake
02:59 PM on 07/28/2011
You make some very good points
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04:04 PM on 07/28/2011
This is why I have not seen a doctor in over ten years. And I am on Medicare. Last time I saw a doctor I went home with five prescriptions I did not need and no advise about exercise or diet. Not surprisingly the doctor was overweight and the nurse had a packet of cigarettes in his shirt pocket. I never went back.
07:26 PM on 07/28/2011
It makes me sad that you had that experience.. and glad you haven't needed a doctor's visit in the past 10 years. .. but even though I've had good experiences, as a senior, I understand
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kapalabhati
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
11:13 AM on 07/28/2011
Irony alert:
The "Sponsored Link" on this page is "57 Year Old Mom Looks 27."
10:57 AM on 07/28/2011
Thank you so much for writing, Ms. Curtis! Thank you for providing an inspiring outline of how to continue to live life to well at any age. I love reading material from "old" people! It is SO hard to find though, perhaps because many share the same attitude of your friend's mom and decide to go underground and hide. That is such a shame because the more years you spend on the earth, the more interesting your perspective becomes...to me, anyway.

Planning to get your book next!

-Danielle
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joedas
My former employer would forbid it,
10:53 AM on 07/28/2011
If you are talking about Senior Citizens with Medicare, the doctors relish seniors. They provide a steady income from medicare and will keep you as long as possible to enhance their income. They will even invent illnesses to collect the medicare funds.

I believe the Medicare Government Officials should be careful about how doctors abuse the system..

Republican's are wrong to kill it, but action to stop abusing it should be taken.
10:49 AM on 07/28/2011
Chronologically gifted people (the aged) contribute much to our society, culture, and all of our lives. Michelangelo: Architect, artist of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome from age 71-89. Anna Mary Moses: Started a new career at age 78 due to arthritis in her fingers preventing her from her embroidery work. Her new work was painting oil rural scenes and she gained international acclaim as “Grandma Moses.” Benjamin Franklin: Negotiated the peace settlement with England to end the American Revolutionary War at age 75. Golda Meir: Prime Minister of Israel from age 70-75 through two Middle East wars.
Additionally, all of the elders that care for grandchildren, disabled children, and disabled spouses or other relatives save society the billions of dollars that would be needed to provide paid care givers these vulnerable populations. The aged are important sources of nurture, care, and wisdom.
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ChaCubed
It's a lie. Goodbye.
10:48 AM on 07/28/2011
My biggest complaint about aging is that it takes younger people longer than it used to to recognize how freaking cool I am.


:-)
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kapalabhati
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
11:14 AM on 07/28/2011
Well, darling, it didn't take me and 1334 others that long!
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ChaCubed
It's a lie. Goodbye.
03:08 PM on 07/28/2011
Awww, thank you. You are just sweet as sugar! :)
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QtheHero
The meaning of life is that there is no meaning
11:22 AM on 07/28/2011
hahahahaha..thanks for the smile
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ChaCubed
It's a lie. Goodbye.
03:08 PM on 07/28/2011
;-)
10:12 AM on 07/28/2011
It's simple. We live in a savage capitalist society where the only value is in how much you can exploit people, once your useful exploiting years are done, you have no value. I actually think our current government plans to commit genocide on baby boomers because we cost too much money. Money we've earned, but hey what does that matter...depriving us of medical care, income, housing...amounts to genocide. Young people are being duped into thinking we are the enemy. A typical tactic of fascist societies that rely on the conviction all young people have that they will never get old. It is to justify robbing us of what we need to live. Then the same thing will happen to current young people as they get older. When they figure it out it's too late.
10:57 AM on 07/28/2011
Not sure if I count as a young person (I am 33), but I can definitely see what you are talking about. There is so much vitriol in the air for people who are deemed to be negatively impacting our bottom line (fat people, old people, poor people...). I feel disgusted by what a mean, cold society we seem to be becoming.

I know you are not my enemy. I know you are my future. I strive to be more loving and gentle towards all people, and I hope others have this same feeling in their heart and are willing to act on it.
Citizen54
Conservatism is a con job!
11:04 AM on 07/28/2011
Amen, amen.
We really do live in a society, have created a society, where a person's only value is as a producer or consumer of commercial goods.

Age discrimination in the hiring process is an established fact. The lovely folks in HR won't even look at a resume from someone over 45.

It's too bad, though, that the younger people and the older people can't work together to change this sick, sad society. The two biggest groups of unemployed Americans are in their 20s and in their 50s.
10:08 AM on 07/28/2011
There is a good reason our eyes are placed on our bodies where they are. If they were in our hands, we would spend too much time using them to look at our face and the fear of looking old would be even greater than it is now, with only the use of mirrors and photographs to view our faces. Thank you for this post. Yesterday I was at the grocery store and I saw a beautiful and elegant older woman (not sure how many years beyond my own 54, but that's only relevant because her hair was white and thin and she moved with what looked like some pain). The sight of her made me see myself in the future.

Still standing, still shopping, still using my time on earth to understand myself and others. Thank you for confirming this by your wonderful article.
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sharonsj
old, cranky liberal Democrat (for the time being)
09:59 AM on 07/28/2011
I'm not hiding in the house, but I'm plenty pissed off at developing infirmities when only in my 50s. Now at 67, what someone can do in 45 minutes, I need 4 hours plus plenty of resting and a handful of prescription pain killers. It is offset by the number of kindly strangers who hold open doors, who offer to carry my stuff, and who change a flat tire for me.
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09:42 AM on 07/28/2011
The problem is with the media. Everyone I see on tv are in high school. We are all aging. I read a great article on HP regarding aging with attitude. Now that's the way to do it. I love women my age. I have a tender spot for them in my heart. They are the most beautiful human beings in the world. It is the incredible amount of love we have inside us for our families for our work for world and for ourselves. This comes with living. You cannot find this in the young, God bless them. This beauty from within one's self has to be earned.
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usna73
We are all in this together
09:37 AM on 07/28/2011
It's even worse for the disabled. America cannot bear to even look. Despicable how we treat the least fortunate among us. We "celebrate" celebrity and obscene wealth and they laugh all the way to the bank with lower tax rates.