GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 31

wisdom of age

The fight against ageism
BY SUSAN PASCAL

A

s a member of the Kentucky Institute on Aging, Jeff
Rubin is a vocal advocate for the elderly who believes
that every individual has the right to be heard and the
power to make a difference regardless of their ability or age. He
is also the author of Wisdom of Age: Perceptions and insights
from one generation to another.

Overall, we live in denial about aging. People see it as
something that happens to someone else, rarely to
themselves.
Having spent over 20 years as a director and facilitator of
community service programs at the local, state and national
levels, he is today an advocate for "age-friendly" and "livable"
communities, currently working to advance these initiatives
throughout Kentucky. As part of his efforts on the local level, he
is working with a community library to create opportunities for
grandparents and grandchildren to engage in more meaningful
conversation.

What are the biggest misconceptions about aging
and the elderly?
Overall, we live in denial about aging. People see it as something that happens to someone else, rarely to themselves.
Whenever I give a talk, I'll start out by asking if there are any
"old" people in the room? Very few, if any, hands go up. When I
ask if those same people know anyone who is "old," every hand
goes up. It's not us, but we know who they are when we "see"
them.
Instead of embracing age, people see it as a period of decline
where value and self-worth are questioned and any dreams they
may have for a final chapter are too often discouraged, ignored,
31 GRAND

MAY JUNE 2018

or dashed. My experience over the years has led me to believe
that too many people still see the elderly as people who only
receive services rather than
people who are infinitely
capable of providing them. It
is that mindset that has limited our thinking in planning
for the future.

Talk about ageism and
the work you are doing as
a member of the Kentucky
Institute on Aging.
Ageism is prevalent
throughout our society as it is
in many industrialized countries around the world. The
term "ageism," however, is often

"

The term "ageism," however, is
often misapplied. Used primarily
to describe discrimination against
"older" people, it is in fact, the
stereotyping and discrimination
against any individual or group
based solely on age.

"

misapplied. Used primarily to describe discrimination against
"older" people, it is in fact, the stereotyping and discrimination
against any individual or group based solely on age. Ageism,
therefore, paints a broad brush in determining human value at
both ends of the spectrum, as it marginalizes the young as well
as the old.
The Kentucky Institute on Aging is an advisory body
appointed by the Governor to serve as a resource to the Kentucky
Department of Aging and Independent Living. As such, we review
policies and programs, provide counsel, and engage in educating
our state legislature and the public about issues impacting the
quality of life of elder and disabled populations. While my work is
on issues impacting the elderly, the shift in demographics taking
place worldwide affects literally every sector and every age group
in our society.

Click here to continue reading
This interview first appeared in Maria Shriver's digital newsletter,
The Sunday Paper, a free weekly email publication that shares the
perspectives of people with passion and purpose. "Architect of Change of
the Week" is a special feature in the newsletter that recognizes incredible
individuals who are moving humanity forward. If you're interested in
learning more and signing up to receive Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper, go
here.


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GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018

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