Now or Never: Long-Term Care Strategy with Kosta Yepifantsev

Ageism in an Aging Society with Ashton Applewhite

January 17, 2023 Kosta Yepifantsev Season 1 Episode 19
Ageism in an Aging Society with Ashton Applewhite
Now or Never: Long-Term Care Strategy with Kosta Yepifantsev
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Now or Never: Long-Term Care Strategy with Kosta Yepifantsev
Ageism in an Aging Society with Ashton Applewhite
Jan 17, 2023 Season 1 Episode 19
Kosta Yepifantsev

Join Kosta and his guest: Ashton Applewhite, author and activist, serving as the leading spokesperson for the emerging movement to raise awareness of ageism and how to dismantle it. Ashton is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, the co-creator of the Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse, and the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist?

In this episode: Why are we so afraid of getting old? What is the greatest contributing factor to ageism today? How can we work together to create more adaptable and accessible environments for older people?
 
Find out more Ashton Applewhite:
https://thischairrocks.com/

Order Ashton's Book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism:
https://thischairrocks.com/order-the-book/

Find out more about Kosta Yepifantsev:
http://kostayepifantsev.com/

Show Notes Transcript

Join Kosta and his guest: Ashton Applewhite, author and activist, serving as the leading spokesperson for the emerging movement to raise awareness of ageism and how to dismantle it. Ashton is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, the co-creator of the Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse, and the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist?

In this episode: Why are we so afraid of getting old? What is the greatest contributing factor to ageism today? How can we work together to create more adaptable and accessible environments for older people?
 
Find out more Ashton Applewhite:
https://thischairrocks.com/

Order Ashton's Book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism:
https://thischairrocks.com/order-the-book/

Find out more about Kosta Yepifantsev:
http://kostayepifantsev.com/

Ashton Applewhite:

What is the real problem here is not growing older is not a change in capacity. It is the stigma around those changes around the deviation in a society that puts youth and speed and productivity air quotes around that very loaded word on a pedestal and says if you are not looking, moving, acting, earning like a younger person, you are failing in some way.

Caroline Moore:

Welcome to Now or Never Long-Term Care Strategy with Kosta Yepifantsev a podcast for all those seeking answers and solutions in the long term care space. This podcast is designed to create resources, start conversations and bring awareness to the industry that will inevitably impact all Americans. Here's your host Kosta Yepifantsev..

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Hey, y'all, this is Kosta and today, I'm here with my guest Ashton Applewhite, author and activist serving as the leading spokesperson for the emerging movement to raise awareness of ageism, and how to dismantle it. Ashton is the author of this chair rocks a manifesto against ageism, the CO creator of the old school anti ageism clearing house, and the voice of Yo, is this ageist? today? We're talking about ageism, in an aging society, Ashton, let's start off. Why are we so afraid of getting old?

Ashton Applewhite:

I think a little bit of the apprehension is, of course, about how our minds and bodies might change. There are only two only two inevitable bad things about getting older people you've known all your life are going to die in some part of your body is going to fall apart. And those two things are unwelcome. And we have very limited control over the second one and no control over the first. So those are real things to be apprehensive about. And you will not catch me saying oh just you know, eat enough kale or have a positive attitude. And it's all going to be great. What I my work is one, I want to point out that a lot that our fears are not real, but they are way out of proportion to reality. And the fear is bad for us. This this apprehension about our physical and cognitive capacity. That's not actually ageism. Okay, it just is any stereotype or prejudice we have about someone or a group of people based on how old we think they are. You can have a young person who is cognitively impaired, you could have a person in the middle age who is temporarily incapacitated because they broke their foot or they got in a car accident, right. So what is the real problem here is not growing older is not a change in capacity. It is the stigma around those changes around the deviation in a society that puts youth and speed and productivity air quotes around that very loaded words on a pedestal and says if you are not looking, moving, acting, earning like a younger person, you are failing in some way. So that is the huge reason why we are so apprehensive about aging. It's about the society in which we age and the social and economic forces that that pathologize you know, natural and inevitable changes that want us to be afraid that want us to buy expensive things that don't work, and engage in inexpensive activities that don't help. Instead of acknowledging the things we can change the things we can push back against and also accepting like everyone wakes up a day older, it's not a failure. Right and up in the morning, you are aging successfully. Congratulations.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And there's a lot to unpack there. First off, exactly what and first off, I think there's there's a psychological component to the fact that you mentioned death being an inevitability, of course, no one has yet been able to find a way to reverse aging or to cheat death for that matter. And so we live our lives with a sense of urgency, and I think it complements that that psychological theory complements our economic system of capitalism. And so in a lot of your fire Yeah, yeah. And so like, I think you said it perfectly. When you're saying like, we value speed, we value you know, youth, because we've geared an entire society around how are we going to get the highest level of productivity and obviously people are most productive during their you know, during their younger years. Well, I wouldn't say that middle aged years,

Ashton Applewhite:

the idea of productivity to conventional earning power, right. I mean, that's what's so problematic. People are productive when we look after each other when we write books, right? And we listen to music when we walk a dog, right? And those are all, you know, I know, we're in agreement here that the Western under and in a hyper capitalist society, we are held to this impossible standard that disadvantages almost everyone, except people who are, you know, frankly, male, typically white, non disabled, and so on and so on puts everyone else at an increasing level of disadvantage, you know, if they are less educated, if they speak with an accident accent, if they are not Finn, you name it, right. So that system privileges you know, the people with privilege and works to disadvantage everyone else, and everyone gets old. Yeah, lucky.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

But if you think about, like, for example, the fundamentals, the foundation that's created modern society, right, you go back all the way we're gonna go, like, all the way back to Plato, Aristotle, philosopher kings, right? The people I know, and I'm not gonna go too far in the weeds, I promise. But those people were older individuals, like they valued the experience and in society today, right? You look at somebody that's a CEO, or even a president for that matter. And you value their experience, they typically are over the age of 65. It's an anomaly if they're if they're under that. So how, like, you know, why is it that certain facets of our society, we say, okay, it's a good thing when somebody is older and has a lot of experience because they're going to be more effective at their job, Biden, the circumstances surrounding Biden may be an exception in terms of how people are perceiving his job, his role and his efficacy. But what do you believe is the greatest greatest contributing factor to ageism today, on the other end, the part of the population that is affected by ageism? Do you could speak to that?

Ashton Applewhite:

Well, I want to speak first to the the want to make something clear about changes that it is any judgment on the basis of age and that young people experience a fair amount of it also, assumption that simply because you are older, you are a better leader, or a more effective executive is ageist because it is based on age rather than capacity. It is completely nuts, that the American workforce, especially in the face of a global labor shortage counts experience as a disadvantage. That is that is just it. That is an example. I hate to say it of how entrenched ageism is even in our productivity oriented capitalist society. Yeah. But you know, age does convey experience. And that is, generally speaking, why older people more more people who successful entrepreneurs are older, because we've had more experienced, we've had more time to build up networks. But there are also brilliant young entrepreneurs. And it's really important not never to frame it as older people are better at or worse or at XYZ, because that is the mother of all ages, stereotypes. And we don't want a world that we're older people are on a pedestal or have more value. So we want a world that is age mixed. Right. Right. And where we look at capacity. Not age, right. I mean, with with Biden, I mean, just this morning on my yo, is this a just blog got the million question about is it ages to think that Biden is might be too old to run for another term? And the bottom? There are legitimate questions about capacity. I think he should have a physical and we should all know what it says which he has done, which is to refuse to do that, you know, older people are closer to death. Yes, but guess what wealthy white men have really who are in the Senate have a really good health care and tend to live way longer than, you know, people without those advantages, blah, blah. The overarching point being that it is no more acceptable to make any assumption about anyone, whether they're 18 or 80, on the basis of age anymore, then it would be acceptable to make an assumption about them on the basis of the color of their skin, or their sexual orientation or their gender or blah, blah, blah. It's not okay.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So since I subconsciously just fell into that trap, and I apologize.

Ashton Applewhite:

Not only don't apply apologize. We are all agents. We all have agents thoughts in our head all the time, including you and me. And the, you know, it's fantastic that you can acknowledge that and see, oh, gee, that's something I need to think about differently, because that's where all change begins.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Well, and but how did we get here though? Like, is this a generational thing? Is it cultural? Is it media? I mean, just like, I mean,

Ashton Applewhite:

you aging is the one universal human experience. Right? How could any, it How could how could we possibly say it's x, or it's why we're talking about all the people in the world. In all our beautiful complicated, maddening, diversity is aging is different for me, as a, you know, older white cisgender woman with considerable privileges than it is for a person of color who otherwise shares all my characteristics, and really different for both of us than it would be for someone who doesn't have an education or can't afford health care, and really different for that person, if they lived in Uganda, or Singapore, right. So we always need to drill back down to the individual experience. You know, and there is I am not going to greenwash the fact that there is a biological basis, babies can't run away. If if the, you know, getting gets conics at the gates, or other people were not fast anymore. Well, and so brutal Darwinian terms, there is a disadvantage to being very young and very old. However, we live in a modern society that has like gizmos to put babies in and old people into, you know, get us away from getting gets caught. People with disabilities now, who would have died in infancy or childhood now live, you know, rich, rewarding lives. So yes, those sorts of archaic factors are still in play, let's be honest about that. We also have the technical and social capacity to mitigate them if we want to.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And so I'm gonna get a little technical here. And I want to go to both ends of the spectrum. So there is a program like, for example, in Tennessee for the Department of children's services. And there's also on the other end of the spectrum, a program called TennCare, which supports individuals with disabilities and people that are over the age of 65. So both of those programs are supposed to give the individuals choice, but they're governed by outside forces, always right. And so you're losing a sense of autonomy. There's, I've heard this over and over again, where if you're under the age of 18, you don't have control of your own destiny. And I see a lot of that happening after an individual an individual turns 65. So do you feel like we don't have a good grasp on the kind of representations but and specifically the advocacy necessary as you as you would receive and other types of discrimination, say, for example, like racism, or most recently sexism?

Ashton Applewhite:

You know, I think there is growing awareness among, you know, people interested in a more equitable world, that we need to join forces against all these forms of discrimination. You know, the fantastic advocate and poet Audre Lorde said, There's no such thing as a single issue struggle, because we don't lead single issue a lot. You know, and that's a huge question with a million answers. One of and the short answer is policy is a blunt instrument. There are arguments for having a Department of Aging and Disability. And there are arguments for having them be separate, for reasons I already touched on just because you grow older, there are 80 year old who run marathons. And men who cannot see blinking, you know, in in, in an ideal world, here's a here's an analogy. The United Nations has a convention on the rights of children, and a convention on the rights of older people, a sorry, and a convention on the rights of people with disabilities. And there is a lot of momentum from people whose politics I hugely admire, for a Convention for the Rights of older people. So sort of draw an analogy there between these you know, bureaucratic blobs, and your you know, the organizations in Tennessee, if we enforced the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, right. If the Tennessee Department of Disability I know I don't have the name right, and accessible society and made those that whatever assistance people with various disabilities need, whether they need it when they're 17 or 70. Whether Are they needed for six weeks, six years or the rest of their lives? We could take age completely out of the equation. The minute you have a program that kicks in at age, whatever, like you said, you notice a loss of autonomy when the individual turns 65. Yes, not like, you know, I'm 70. And I didn't wake up on my 60, you know, the day I turned 65 without being able to like, sign a check, right?

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Like someone was knocking on your door and saying, hey, it's time. You know,

Ashton Applewhite:

it's about capacity. It's about privilege, you know, and it's, but, you know, I am not equipped to speak about the policy solutions, because they are so complicated. But what we what we want to do, I think, is to understand more about what's ageist what's ableist and ableism. Is, is the is an analogy sort of ability is to is to ableism as age is to ageism, it's stereotyping and stigma and prejudice around cognitive or physical capacity. And I just want to mention a really useful tool that we all school just created. It's a workshop, called still kicking, because confronting ageism and ableism, because the still is a just, oh, you're still working. And the thing is ableist, why should it matter whether or not we can kick and it's available, you can you can hire the people at old school to give it they do a great job, it is available as a DIY download and give it yourself at Old School dot info. It's free, really good. You know, to learn more about where how ageism. Ableism are different. And, and respect that, you know, it's really different to age to with a disability as it is to be a young person with one who grows older, rather than to age into disability. But a motto of the disability justice movement is to celebrate inter dependence. And that gets around to this autonomy idea. We have capitalism, which is not our friend. And especially in the US, we have this ethos of independence. And you shouldn't ask for help and it's shameful. And if you need a helping hand, you have failed. This is erroneous, it's corrosive, its destructive. One of my favorite quotes is a very short quote by a Dutch gerontologist named Yan bars. Autonomy requires collaborators. Right? We all at any stage of life, you need someone to fix your car, if you can't go pick up your kids, no matter if you're a triathlete, right? If you collaborate with car mechanic, I mean, I'm being a little heavy handed. But the fact is, as we get older and lose physical strength, at a minimum, you need to I need someone to lift my bag up into the rack in the airplane. Now, you know, we all need help life long. And this SS F ethos really of independence is a real terrible problem. It's probably the most important chapter in my book is called the independence trap. No one is independent ever.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Right? And every single system, specifically in the long term care space that I've encountered is focused around and independence, any type of solution of aging.

Ashton Applewhite:

And it's a toxic label, because it sets us up to fail.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Well, and also, you know, I think in a lot of ways, it it propagates that capitalistic mindset, because, you know, one of the things that I noticed about I'm going to go with with regards to children is, you know, they have a whole system built around supporting kids in the foster care program, as opposed to providing the resources to the family, so the kids don't have to go to foster care. And the same thing happens on the other end with individuals who are over the age of 65 and receive Medicaid services or Medicare services. Like if a person needs assistance with care, they are going they could very well receive it from their family members of their family members received the funding directly. However, it goes to a care. It goes to a care provider. Yeah, and a third party comes in and so it like you're talking about with regards to the ethos, yeah.

Ashton Applewhite:

And you know what, what caregiving is a beautiful, incredibly important part of being human right. And a really ugly manifestation of ageism in our society, because it affects very young people and very old people to is that the work of Caring for Our Children, and people of any age with disabilities and for very old or, you know, older people, not very old is farmed out for lousy wages to mostly women who don't earn a decent wage and who don't often who have to leave their own families in order to you know, do this is ill paid work hear us? If and what makes it a burden is going alone without supports, as you say, it's these larger systems. We have no caregiving system in the US, if we did, there would be a lot less fear and apprehension and stigma, and much less of the burden would fall on biological family, specifically, typically on on women who are unpaid. And, you know, we're not we women, our social security benefits, which is a huge percentage of older Americans, Older Women's entire income and right not to live well or barely live at all right, it's based on your wage earning women earn less lifelong, and we are penalized for any time spent out of the paid workforce, which is back to productivity, that work has measurable, massive economic value.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And we can Well, we can see it, I think it's I think the tide is turning to a degree because the lot, a lot of the labor issues that we're experiencing right now is tied directly to child care. And for individual or for people staying home and caring for loved ones. That should be right. But that's the problem is we're not seeing the like it's it's not compensated, it's it's literally like free labor, indentured servitude, without any level of compensation in a system that's designed for compensation from productivity in the greater economy. So we've got to change the system otherwise, like families are going to suffer, because they're spending time at home. Right?

Ashton Applewhite:

We're suffering. Yes, yes, disabilities are suffering.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Can I ask about you mentioned social security. And you may be able to speak on this. I know, this is kind of little, maybe a little bit outside of your specialty? How do individuals who age over the over the age of 65 that receive Social Security benefits, you know, 60% of Americans over the age of 65, don't have, you know, an additional retirement or pension, they just literally collect social security. And it's the minimum collection is like 773. And there's a lot of Americans that only collect that much every month? How do you expect them to age with dignity? If they can't afford to, to feed themselves?

Ashton Applewhite:

Do I have an answer to that? Well, I'm

Kosta Yepifantsev:

curious, if you have an opinion on it? I would, I would.

Ashton Applewhite:

First of all, I mean, no, first of all, all the things we need all the things all the time. Yeah. But you know, let's, let's close the gender wage gap. So that women, you know, would be would have pensions. Let's, let's let's activate unions so that working people can have a working wage. Let's stop being so racist about all the immigrants who do this work. This really important work so beautifully and so well that other Americans do not want to do, and how about a minimum wage that allows workers no matter whether they're doing, you know, home care, or delivering your food, can support themselves and educate their kids and so on, and save for retirement? And that support all the way along from all these systems?

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Last question, and then we're going to get back to the to the, to the context of the conversation. I'd like your opinion, because ageism and this concern, around ageism really entered my purview, during the pandemic, specifically, when nursing homes essentially barred any visitors. They were on lockdown, the pandemic spread significantly through long term care facilities, what's your opinion on locking down and isolating all of those individuals that are elderly and disabled? Who's clinging on to that connection to their family? Was that the right thing to do? And do you think that that's what's finally brought this conversation of ageism to the forefront? You know,

Ashton Applewhite:

there's never a right or wrong to these really complex ethical issues. Clearly, it was horrible. That, you know, age does make us more physically vulnerable to the virus and I understand why long term care facilities try to isolate their residents in order to keep them alive. There was an example of a facility I think, in upstate New York where the owner it was small enough and I believe, privately owned a nonprofit but where he brought in his the workers, and he paid them a decent wage and they weren't didn't have to work. You know, the reason one huge reason contagion rates in long term care were so high is because they are staffed by ill paid women who have to work multiple jobs in order to pay their own rent. Yeah, if you paid them a decent wage, we wouldn't have we would have had much less of that back to, you know, the fact that that later being older, your immune system doesn't work as well, and the virus is more dangerous period. So, that does explain why the, you know, most of the victims of COVID most of the deceased are older, but it does not explain our death in those numbers. That is because of bias that is because of abandoning older people. And, you know, I do think there is enormous interest now, in the reform of long term care. Yeah. What is right for one individual, you know, it depends on what, what they want, what their family wants. And also I understand if you're running a facility, you know, like policy is a blunt instrument, you do have to take the welfare of the community. You know, if we, I mean, big, zoom back rainbow, you know, magic unicorn universe, we live in age diverse communities. People are not segregated according to age and ability to start with and think how much more humane and manageable that problem would be.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

But how can we take steps to start creating communities that are more inclusive and supportive of people for all ages,

Ashton Applewhite:

the ideal would be to live in age diverse communities, you know, an awful lot of the people who work in aging services were raised by or around older people, typically, their grandparents, if you just like, if you have a lot of queer and gay friends, it's pretty hard to have stereotypes about gay people persist. If you're around people of all ages, it's pretty hard to believe that old people can't take care of themselves and young people are selfish and incompetent to people who aren't like us, or, you know, different from us in some significant way, makes it harder to hold on to stereotypes, which are the heart of bias. So, you know, people often ask me, like, Where's where's it less ages? It's less ages, not so much in China, which has urbanized and become, you know, very much a capitalist society in rapid year in, you know, in recent years. And, but we're older people and younger people live in community, there's less ageism. So there is a lot of interest now, in intergenerational housing, which I really, you know, really like. Another example would be instead of senior centers, how about community centers? Where, you know, question, I get all the types of activities, you know, yoga for old people or knitting for young people or whatever. There, it's appropriate to have activities for children, because being nine is really different from being six. But being 29 is not so different from being 26 or whatever, three year gap, and I want to make another point about that. But instead of that having activities for old people and fun stuff for young people have, have an activity you know, a bird watching for beginners, bird watching for middle people, bird watching for experienced people, or have it be if it's a yoga class, have it be, you know, a fitness class for people with balance issues, which could be a young person recuperating from a, you know, a fall, and it could be a lot of older people might balance is not what it should be, but make it about capacity, and interest and level rather than age. And I just want to make a point about homogeneity, right, the thesis, all stereotypes assume that a population is the same. Every newborn is unique. But 17 year olds have a lot more in common cognitively, socially, developmentally, than 37 year olds and so on out, the longer we live, the more different from one another we become you work in long term care I'm sure you see all the time everyday examples of what a geriatrician say, if you've seen 180 year old, you've seen 180 year old, so any assumption about what people like is inevitably false. But the older the person, the less basis there is for it, the less our age says about us.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Well, it's because we're always trying to create a standard of practice. That's, that's what that's unfortunate part of

Ashton Applewhite:

reasoning standards, I get it. It's complicated, but it's people

Kosta Yepifantsev:

though. It's that's the problem. We're not We're not selling the product we're not provide we're not cutting hair, we're taking care of people and how do you you can't put people in a box like we've learned over the course of of our entire history as human beings that you can't put people in a box and so I love the fact that you're speaking to changing the long term care industry. We do this show because we want people to understand the industry so that if they want They get involved. They want to activate whatever it might be that they actually have some guidelines of what the industry can provide the tools that are available in the long term care space. But I do want to ask you kind of a more poignant question. You were talking about kids, that are people I'm sorry, people under the age of 18. We don't have we don't have anything in our toolbox that points to kids being independent and self sufficient. Because like, say, for example, as you were talking, I was thinking about the book, where the kids get stranded on the island, and they form it. Lord of the Flies, that's it? Yes. And you look at that, and you're like, wow, you know, that's pretty advanced. I mean, they're, they're essentially building a hierarchy hierarchy, hidden out there that are fundamentally building a civilization in this book, right? And we don't value that, as something that is tangible, that is positive. We look at that book when we read it. And we say like, this is all terrible, like this can never happen. Right? And so we, we unvalidated, our, you know, discount the significance that that children can bring to society.

Ashton Applewhite:

Yeah, I mean, I want to mention the old school Clearing House, which is a repository of free and carefully vetted resources, podcasts, webinars, you know, speakers, animations, videos, all kinds of fun stuff in all different formats, reports, blah, blah, blah, to educate people about what ageism is and what we can do about it. And we have quite a few. And we are always looking for more resources that address tokenizing young people, marginalizing young people not valuing what a young person has to say simply because they're not not an adult yet. And that's not okay. Either. And young adults, I mean, ageism is also responsible for a lot of the difficulties that young people have getting established in the work world. And we should look at what they're capable of. And they have less experience, you know, there's, I'm not, I'm not denying that. But we shouldn't look at a young person and assume that they're incompetent or self involved or know how to fix a computer just because they're young.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And the overarching question before we wrap up, and Pardon my ignorance, but is ageism, the newest of the isms? And in your opinion, do you ever feel like it's difficult to be taken seriously? Because when you look at people, when you say ageism, most people immediately gravitate to people that are people that are elderly. But at the same time, they look at older white men who are in positions of power and influence. And they say, Well, I'm sorry. And they say, ha, why is there really a problem when society is built around these components?

Ashton Applewhite:

Why why is the US Congress filled with old white guys? Because we live in a racist capitalist patriarchy? Yeah. You know, and I frankly, have a political system where wealth buys buys office. Yeah, right. Yeah, if so, those those are the reasons not because, you know, not not not because old people run things, older people run Congress because of political systems that are anti democratic, and anti equity. But how

Kosta Yepifantsev:

do you separate the, your fight for your advocacy for ageism, the for people to understand the problem for people to offer solutions, between the, the notion that you know, there's a lot of, well, there's a lot of people that are really well off predominantly that are old, in over,

Ashton Applewhite:

we tend to we tend to accumulate you know, we're born into the world with nothing. Obviously, the inherited wealth is a huge and toxic mechanism for perpetuating class and privilege. But the but the important thing always is to zoom out, yes, older people have more assets than younger people, we accumulate stuff as we go through life. But there, you know, the 1% is made up of rich and poor people, just like the 99%. Sorry, the 1% is made up of younger and older people, just like the 99%. Right, bias does not, you know, this, you know, these factors don't inherently discriminate by age. So it's always important. I mean, there are big Because of persistent ageism in the workplace, hundreds of 1000s of Americans are aging into poverty, as you already touched on, yeah, we don't need to caregiving, you know, system in place, because we don't have decent health care, because we don't have single payer health care up until people are 65. So people can't take care of themselves, much of what we think of as old age, ailments, a horrible phrase that I can't believe, just because it's never, there are very few actual conditions of life, most of them are conditions that, you know, that we've had lifelong, but haven't been able to take care of, or haven't taken care of, or, you know, can't afford to take care of, and they become symptomatic, right, and they turn into chronic conditions in later life, you know, zoom out of the systems that enable these, you know, inequities to pile up and add up in late life, there are lots of, you know, I mean, older women in particular, in Australia, the fastest growing group of of poor, you know, people who are really economically disadvantaged, are older women. You know, wow, it's not, you know, sure, there's loads of rich old people, but the reason is there loads of ritual people is again, there's always, you know, you can eat to be, if you're going to be honest about this stuff, you, you have to acknowledge, there's always two sides of the story. Older people are always going to earn more stuff, because we've had more time to accumulate stuff. But also, you know, we have massive systems in place that are keeping the rich, rich, whether they're, you know, young people who inherit, you know, their parents millions, or, you know, sort of all these interests.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I mean, Ashton, this work, as we progress through this conversation, I'm just like, I mean, we could talk for four or five hours about this, and I continue to think of how difficult it is for you to be able to sort of thread the needle and bring awareness to this issue. And so

Ashton Applewhite:

it's, it's incredibly interesting. And it really is, I think of, and I think this less than less, because the window is getting less dirty, I think of what I'm doing is cleaning a really dirty window. These are new ideas to most people. Absolutely. That's kind of fun, right? Because when you clean it, like really the back window of your car, you can see where you've been, you know, when people are reading a book, or listen to what I have to say, you know, I say, you know, what do you think of his criteria for diversity? And if they don't mention age, I say, What about age? And no one says, that's a dumb idea. They'd like to smack their heads and go, Why didn't I think about that. So provoking those head smacking moments, which you are doing in this podcast is invigorating, and challenging and fun, you are hoping to change the culture, which is really interesting, and all and really important. And all the work that equity minded people have been doing in recent decades. I mean, forever, really. But I guess I would look back to the, you know, the 60s and the 70s. With the birth of the Civil War. I mean, it's not the birth of the civil rights movement, people of color had been working, struggling to get equal rights forever, and so have have working class women forever. But that would be the heyday of what we think of as the capital see civil rights movement. The heyday of second wave mainstream feminism, we have made enormous progress on rights for people of color on trans rights on gay rights on women's rights. We've gotten a lot of pushback to but that's a sign we're getting some Yeah. Right. We made enough progress on everything we've learned about addressing these other forms of bias in dressing age bias. We are not starting from zero. Yes, it is the latest ism to bleep into, you know, onto the public radar. But we're not starting from scratch. You're right, we're building on all the energy and knowledge and understanding of the way all these struggles are connected, you know, in the part of you and your listeners.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So we always like to end the show with a call to action. Personally, how do we improve our own attitudes towards getting older and enjoying life at every age?

Ashton Applewhite:

Um, well, you know, it's, sometimes I enjoy being older and sometimes it's hard, right? No one enjoys any stage of life, you know, all the time. Sure. To point out that being young is really hard to write no one actually wants to be any younger. So I think we do need we we it's not that we want to think more positively about aging. Inherently, we want to think more accurately about aging. And that is necessarily more positive because most of us are brainwashed into thinking no judge Make no judgment that we live in a culture that bombards us with these messages, right? That, that aging is equivalent to decline, even though no one wants to go back to their youth, right? Even though we know from this you curve of happiness, and contentment increases in later life, et cetera, et cetera, I could, you know, run statistics at you for half an hour, but I won't. So the most helpful thing each of us can do, because all change starts within as the saying goes, is to look at our own attitudes towards age. And Ha, amazing how you use the words Old and young. Read the introduction to my book, which is available as a free download. Look at my I go to great lengths to make my ideas. And I don't mean, I'm not the only source of ideas, go to the old school clearinghouse and find out what hundreds of other people who think a lot about ages have have to say about this old school dot info. But on my blog, my blog, my website is this chair, this chair rocks.com/blog. I have been thinking out loud about this for 15 years. It's searchable by topic, noodle around educate yourself, because what you will inevitably fine is you know, is the lovely thing you said 15 minutes ago like oh crap, I said something ages, I asked him think he just and ableist things all the damn time, it's really hard to unlearn ideas that we grew up with, you know, it's why older people can be the most agents of all, sort of counter intuitively because we've had a lifetime of internalizing these messages. And most of us have never stopped to question them. And that first moment of like, oh, Ik, this is in my head. And I'm part of the problem, that we can't challenge bias unless we're aware of it. Right. So the first step is to acknowledge sorry, to see the ways in which you are biased, instead of for evidence that we're not, which is, you know, which is where we all go, Oh, I didn't I'm not racist. I didn't mean you know, the I didn't mean, yeah, yeah, you are. We all are. And it is in that reckoning, that we start to see the problem more clearly. And the good news is that right around the corner, like instantly, not consciously, the minute you see it in yourself, you start to see it in the world around you. And things people say in advertising, and that is liberating, right? That's what consciousness raising does. You're like, oh, it's not that I'm a bad person. It's not that I'm more ignorant than any anyone else out there. It's that it's that it is embedded in the culture. It is a shared problem. And we can come together and do something about it.

Caroline Moore:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of Now or Never Long-Term Care Strategy with Kosta Yepifantsev. If you enjoyed listening and you wanna hear more make sure you subscribe on Apple podcast Spotify or wherever you find your Podcasts, leave us a review or better yet share this episode with a friend. Now or Never Long-Term Care Strategy is a Kosta Yepifantsev production. Today’s episode was written and produced by Morgan Franklin. Want to find out more about Kosta? Visit us at kostayepifantsev.com

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