Contrary to many media portrayals and beauty industry ads, people tend to be happiest in life in their childhood and in their senior years, studies show.
"You never hear the phrase pro-aging because you see "anti-aging" ads plastered everywhere," said
Applewhite, who is author of "This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism," will be among 15 speakers at an all-day conference on
"This is an exciting time to be a boomer, and
With more than 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day in
Chambliss has assembled an array of sponsors for the aging forum, including the
"One in three Americans is now 50 or older and by 2030, one in five will be 65 years or older," said
Applewhite said she became interested in researching seniors and aging trends as she began to think about her own retirement and was afraid of getting old. She quickly learned much of what she thought was true about aging is not.
The share of persons over age 65 in nursing homes is only 4 percent and that share continues to decline. The share of Americans with Alzheimer's disease is only 2 percent.
"The real epidemic is anxiety over memory loss, and we blame things on aging that often occur just as much or more in younger people," she said.
Although Hollywood and
"Aging is not a problem to be 'fixed' or a disease to be 'cured,'" she said. "It is a natural, powerful and lifelong process that unites us all and should be a source of pride -- not of shame. That's why we need a grassroots movement to make discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other form of prejudice."
For seniors, Applewhite urges them to stop making "senior moment" jokes and rejecting the thought that they should simply "shuffle offstage." For employers, the aging activist urges businesses to be more open to respecting people's experience as a resource and as a vital component of diversity. And for young people, she discourages children from trying to coddle or degrade their parents or others who happen to be older.
"Everyone -- all races, all genders, all nationalities -- is old or future old," she said.
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